Paula’s Story: Qigong For Seniors, Part 1

A nearby retirement community was looking for a yoga teacher. Yes, I could recommend yoga teachers, but how about Qigong?

Chee what?

After receiving permissions and completing paperwork, I greeted my first group of curious residents at the Health Center one Thursday afternoon in mid-May, 2014. People asked how these movements could benefit their health. I shared a little TCM theory and echoed Grand Master Lu’s advice: “Do the movements and discover for yourself.” It’s three years later, and we’ve been in discovery mode ever since.

Retired nurse Rona, 77, finds that Qigong has a calming effect. “I concentrate on the movements and not on everything happening in my life,” she said. Qigong helps with coordination, too. “The Dragon’s Punch is always difficult, doing the opposite arm and leg. I often get confused, but it’s gotten better,” she said with a laugh. “I look around to see if I’m in step with the others.”

Retired pastor and a two-year veteran of the class, Jim, 80, reports a new overall sense of well-being. Plagued with headaches and migraines all his life, he never left home without prescription medicine in his pocket. “Now I say to myself, what’s going on? I haven’t had a headache or migraine or cold. I go out without the migraine medicine. Chronic low-back pain, gone. Since I started Qigong, no resulting knee pain from meniscus surgery. I can now walk pain-free.”

Jim wears the TCM Foundation’s black tee shirt with Qi in white letters on the front and iQ on the back. “It’s a great conversation starter.  I tell people practicing Qigong will raise their iQ.” Jim practices at home and every opportunity he gets—like at the airport. “You have to get there early and there is nothing to do. My wife went for a walk, and I practiced Qigong,” he said.

With Qigong, Jim has discovered a key to aging. “It’s low intensity, yet when I get home, I know I’ve had a workout. The benefit of just one hour a week is classic . . . classic for aging. I guess you could say it’s low impact but very impactful.”

And what have I discovered? Practicing Qigong with these Seniors, learning about their lives, as well as their improvements with health, balance, stamina and peace of mind has a positive impact on my spirit—a high impact.

-Paula Graham