Pauline has been practicing Tai Chi and Qigong since the late 1980s and teaching since 1997. Her day job is as a corporate librarian, but she teaches Tai Chi and Qigong to share with others the tools that have helped her so much in her own life. Pauline currently teaches her community in class and private settings, and has recently partnered with an area chiropractor to bring more complete healing to his clients. Pauline is a professional member of the National Qigong Association and part of a community of fellow practitioners called Peaceable Dragon.
The IRQTC sat down with Pauline to find out more about how RQTC has influenced her life and work.
Pauline, can you tell us how taking the Fundamentals course has influenced your ability to teach Tai Chi?
Everyone is different and understands from a different perspective. The same words don’t reach everyone. This program really enhanced my ability to explain to people what Tai Chi and Qigong are all about and why & how it works. It gave me a new set of tools for my teaching toolbox. Using western studies and examples of how the body works is a great way to give “western students” something concrete to aid in their understanding. It’s another perspective, to give them a deeper level of experience and ability to understand why what they are doing feels so good in their bodies and has such beneficial effects in their lives. I can see it in my students’ eyes when they understand! There is more interest, more curiosity, and students often seem to move deeper into the practice. It gives them more meaning.
Now, I can put Tai Chi in terms my students can understand from a western perspective, as well as from the Traditional Chinese Medicine and the eastern perspective. And the Fundamentals course has deepened my understanding as well. I finally know the difference between sympathetic and parasympathetic! I could never keep them straight before! Brian makes the information in the Fundamentals course very approachable, and it is structured in such a way that it “builds” – it is easy to follow!
Why did you decide to take the fundamentals course?
I had been wanting to take a course in anatomy and physiology for years. My first teacher has a very spiritual focus to his teaching and forms. Other teachers have given me a lot of Chinese medicine input. I was lacking in the western side of things. Now I can bring that to my students.
How did you get started with Tai Chi?
In the late 70s I tried a Tai Chi class a friend was teaching, and I enjoyed it, but didn’t stick with it. Then in the late 80s I was just looking for something interesting to do outside of work and home. I signed up for an “adult education” class at the local high school, and I loved it.
How did you decide to become a teacher?
It just happened! My Tai Chi teacher started asking me to cover classes for him in 1997, then had me teaching the school’s beginner classes and helping with some of the more advanced classes, then it all evolved from there. Now I continue to teach only when people ask. It’s a great way to teach because students always want to be there! I don’t have a set location or schedule of classes. I teach people in community settings, in their homes, my home, and now even my chiropractor’s office…wherever students want me to show up.
Tell us how doing Tai Chi has made you a better person.
Has Tai Chi made me a better person, or has it made being a person a lot better? I think it’s more the latter. I know myself a lot better. And that leads to understanding others more, I think. I’m very happy with my life. People tell me I’m always smiling, and I can get along with everyone. I’m way calmer and more relaxed than I used to be. When things get rocky, I ride the up and down waves of life much easier than I used to. I don’t have as much fear in my life. I used to be afraid of pretty much everything. Now I don’t need medication to get on an airplane anymore! I haven’t tried to do anything, to change anything… Tai Chi and Qigong just make everything better. Still a lot to work on and progress – not perfection – but I just go about my life, and the universe seems to take care of everything, making sure I have what I need. It’s amazing. I attribute it all to the qi and my Tai Chi & Qigong practice.