Tom Weiser found T’ai Chi in when he was looking for a more portable form of a mind-body exercise than yoga – something he could do outside, even when it was cold and muddy. At first, Tom’s practice focused on recovering from a severe back injury. After beginning his practice, he gained a new sense of body awareness and became pain-free. Tom also began to appreciate the life lessons T’ai Chi teaches as well.
T’ai Chi is a series of poses in a specific order. However, Tom emphasizes that the movement between the poses is just as – if not more important – than the poses themselves. Tom describes it as a kind of a short hand for a set of principles on how to move in general, whether you’re actively practicing T’ai Chi, dancing, playing a sport, or just walking around.
Tom says that anyone can begin T’ai Chi. The practice includes shifting your body weight from one foot to another and remembering order of the poses. So, it will be easier for students who have good balance and a good memory. However, students with challenges in one or both areas can use T’ai Chi to improve balance, memory and fall prevention. Another benefit is joint mobility.
Many students find that T’ai Chi helps them in other areas of their lives. One student told Tom that the T’ai Chi movement at the waist helped him become a better snowboarder. T’ai Chi is also popular with students who practice other martial arts. Tom says the postural awareness he’s received from T’ai Chi improved his ability to play the trombone (and not have a stiff back afterwards.)
Even T’ai Chi students who don’t engage in other sports find themselves not dropping things as frequently. And when they do drop something, catching it before it hits the floor.
Tom says even though T’ai Chi seems simple, it’s surprisingly difficult, with a very deep well, and equates it with learning to play the violin. He says that benefits begin immediately, but students usually take about six months to become comfortable with the practice, and can spend a lifetime learning more. As students progress, their movements take less effort and become more graceful.
In addition to teaching T’ai Chi at the Boulder recreation centers, Tom teaches T’ai Chi and meditation at Naropa, plays the trombone and acts in improv theater.
Tom is still discovering T’ai Chi and invites you to join him on his path.