Can Exercise Boost Your Mood?


Does exercise improve  your mood or does your mood improve  your exercise?

We know they go together.   But a new study from Harvard Medical School showed a 26% decrease in depression for each major measured increase in physical activity.  For example 15 minutes of walking instead of 15 minutes of sitting.

Does it matter if you train for a marathon, swim a mile or walk from your car in the far corner of the lot to the store?  The evidence shows that it doesn’t matter.   It can even be pulling weeds in the garden.

If you are a student, a teacher, writer, thinker, artist or almost anything else, the exercise can be 5 minutes of Tai Chi to start the day, before a test, when you need a break, or when trying to develop a creative idea. When our moods are more stable,  focused, positive and  relaxed we don’t think about  feeling bad.  We focus on what is ahead, what we are out to accomplish.  It is very positive.


Imagine how wonderful it would be

  • to  find a way that you can retain a focused good mood, free of frustration and stress throughout the day by taking a few 5 minute breaks throughout the day.
  • to help children remain focused, relaxed and on target by taking a 5 minute break during the school day.
  • to get everyone to work together with understanding and compassion by taking a 5 minute break.

So maybe you will choose to run, or lift weights, or swim.

Or maybe you are looking for something that will allow you to release stress and frustration and return to a focused happy mood without changing your clothes, taking a shower and going to another location.

Tai Chi is that exercise.



You can try

  • tapping on your body and shaking to release tension
  • circling your waist, hips and chest to release tightness from too much sitting.
  • standing like a tree with roots and leaves, connected to the earth
  • circling your head with slow even moments to let go of tightness in your shoulders.
  • focusing on a gentle flowing ball of energy.

It can be so simple.  And there are no  bad side effects.


The American Psychiatry Association has also found that the meditative movements of Tai Chi with slow breathing reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Isn’t it time you tried Tai Chi?   Tai Chi for Kids is a great way to start.  It is simple, easy to follow, and  can be done anywhere.




MINDFULNESS in the classroom can make a huge difference.

“Mindfulness is a way to pause and reflect on the here and now. To be fully present in what is happening in the present, without worry about the future or past. The idea is that teaching this philosophy and using activities and practices in the classroom should allow students to release tension and anxiety so they can focus on the material in the classroom.” Erica Kosal PhD


Imagine a class full of students who:

  • feel relaxed
  • are free of stress and anxiety
  • focus on the material being discussed
  • want to ask appropriate questions
  • are able to think about the answers
  • enter discussions with various points of view calmly
  • express their well thought-out opinions
  • respect others.


Mindful students show understanding of the opinions of others.  They show compassion to those who may be different.  These students are cooperative and understanding.

Mindful students can be in the moment – the present moment,  because they are not worried about the past or fearful of the future.




That is where we all want to be – in the present – where we can work efficiently and productively.













There are various ways of achieving mindfulness:

  • meditation
  • tai chi meditative movements
  • contemplation of a beautiful sunset or flowing stream
  • listening to peaceful relaxing music
  • hypnosis
  • focusing on a piece of art

One of the easiest is Tai Chi meditative movements.  As you focus on a ball of energy you are holding you breathe, see the color and feel the warmth. This is extremely calming.  Sometimes we need a bit of activity to get us to the moment where we can focus our breathing.  It can take 5 or 10 minutes.







But Oh! what wonderful results:

  • time is saved in doing our work when we are focused
  • we know how to go directly to the goal
  • we analyze less and feel more so we are in touch with ourselves, our thoughts and our ideas


AND BEST OF ALL – when we work towards mindfulness with our students or children, we too become more relaxed, peaceful, understanding and focused.

Check the full story from Faculty Focus Publication.  Ten faculty members from North Carolina Wesleyen College did mindfulness with the college students with outstanding results.




Great News:  Regular  practice of mind-body activities such as Tai Chi, Qigong and Yoga are up by 300% over the past 15 years.  Tai Chi is becoming more and more popular. 

Why?  Because they are beneficial, natural and focus on the whole body.  Acute and chronic pain, arthritis and depressions are the three medical conditions that lead people to practice mind-body activities.  Harvard Medical School talks about the value of Tai Chi specifically for pain. Not only are these practices beneficial but they are natural, safe, cost very little and are very make you feel better.  Check it out here.  



2019 is the 20th anniversary of World Tai Chi and Qigong Day.  On April 27th the earth will be encircled with chi.  The morning practice begins in Samoa at 10:00 AM.  then it moves around the world to New Zealand when it is 10:00 there.   And then to Australia continuing through Asia, Europe and then to the western hemisphere – North and South America.  Find out where there will be a group moving the chi at 10:00 AM near you.   

It will be great to participate.  Together we can make a difference. You can become part of the growing popularity of Tai Chi and other mind-body practices.

Tai Chi for Strength as well as Calmness

We often talk about the calming side of Tai Chi since we live such hectic lives in an over-busy world of constant stimulation and connection.

But it is good to know that Tai Chi is also a great exercise for improving strength and stamina to keep you going.  Strength and stamina are not just about lifting weights for big muscles.

Strength and Stamina are good for us in many ways.  Such as:

  • improved strength for good bones and muscles.
  • improved stamina to keep going longer with better focus
  • better balance for fewer falls as our strength develops
  • reduced stress on the joints and muscles to help us avoid injury






I like to think of TaiChi as the perfect exercise for the whole family. Not just the elderly, or the toddlers, or the sick, or the disabled, or the athletes, or the studious, or the recovering or someone else!   NO.  It is for everyone.  At every age we need to Tai Chi.  Wouldn’t you like to feel more focus, balance, strength, flexibility and inner peace?




The great thing about Tai Chi is how quickly you can see improvement in all the qualities above.

  • In the classroom can see improvement in calmness and focus in just 10 minutes.
  • In a discussion of bullying we can see increased compassion in 20 or 30 minutes
  • We can see improvement of balance after merely 6 sessions – perhaps 3 weeks.  And it will continue to improve the more we do Tai Chi.
  • In athletics we can see improvement in focus as we shoot a basket, hit a tennis ball, a volley ball or baseball, swim gracefully through the water, run without jarring your joints and muscles.  It just takes a few sessions and awareness.

Of course.  We all would like to feel better, focus better, and  perform better.

There is a great article in the NY Times section on Personal Health this week.  It is by Jane Brody who has been writing on health issues for the NY Times  since 1979.  She has covered so many aspects of health. It is great when she write on Tai Chi .  You can read it here.

She sites many studies that have been done, primarily on older adults.  But please remember, what applies to adults applies to children also.

Her last paragraph is, for me, the most important.



“And, in the process of getting your body in shape with tai chi, you’re likely to improve your mental state. In a New Zealand study of college students, tai chi was shown to counter depression, anxiety and stress. It also enhances an important quality called self-efficacy — confidence in one’s ability to perform various activities and overcome obstacles to doing so. ”

You, too, can feel the benefits of Tai Chi.  Why don’t you start now?  And don’t forget the breathing!

Lack of Sleep – a big problem

Sleep is necessary to:

  1. repair tissue
  2. boost learning and memory potential
  3. flush toxins from the brain

Is inadequate sleep really a problem?    Aren’t you just a bit tired? Can’t you make it up another night?

  • Inadequate sleep can increase the risk of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
  • Less than 6 hours of sleep a night can cause inflammation in the blood and in the body, and cause dysregulation of the immune system
  • Lack of sleep can have long term health consequences


And TEENS are particularly susceptible to insufficient sleep.

Read about studies that have been done on insufficient sleep.

Some people resort to sleeping pills.  Others to alcohol or drugs.  Try drinking less water.  Eating light meals earlier can help.  Avoiding sugar at night can make a difference.  Turn off your devices hours before bedtime.  Constant connectivity is a big problem.

There is another route to relaxing and sleeping well.

I have seen a big difference when certain moves of  Tai Chi are practiced in the evening.  Moves such as shaking away the tightness and frustration of the day help us let go. Or standing like a tree with roots growing into the soil so you can feel centered and connected.  As a tree it is easier to forget about all the negative issues of the day. You focus on something concrete such as growing roots into the earth.  You should try it.   It becomes possible to forget about obligations, upcoming exams, arguments with friends, bullying etc.  Tai Chi is a kind of meditation that is easier to do because there is a specific idea to focus on.  As you visualize the roots growing, the tree standing tall, the leaves blowing in the wind it becomes easier to forget about all the other issues and obligations of life.  Try a simple form of Tai Chi such as Tai Chi Moves.  It can make all the difference.


Finding peace with Tai Chi for Kids


What a small world we live in. 

We can connect with anyone, anywhere, almost.  We share this planet, the air, the breath, the peace.  But sometimes it feels like we share too much hostility, pollution and negativity.








Every year it becomes more and more important to find inner peace. We must work together, not with hatred and criticism but with love and compassion.  We must take care of ourselves, our families, our friends and neighbors and our planet.

Finding Inner Peace

Forty percent of adults in the U.S. use alternative medicine and mind-body activities. Only 12% of children do.  Imagine how much more peaceful your family life would be if your children did Tai Chi!   You can do it together as a family.  It would be great to involve your children.

Recent studies were done on youths  from Europe (Sweden, Germany, and Portugal), North (Canada and United States) and South (Argentina) American, Asia (mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong) and Australia. Combined, these studies included 696 participants, with 360 youths participating in the Tai Chi or Qigong intervention arm and 336 in the comparator arm. 





Two common outcomes from the studies done in the various countries were  psychological wellbeing and better behavioral and  physical health and function for the group that did Tai Chi or Qigong.   This included classroom behavior, psychological health, reduction in stress, improvement in general health, weight management, improvement in physical activity, and quality of life. In order to understand the big impact of TaiChi and Qigong read the full study here .  


Of course studies are never absolute.

Try it for yourself. See how you feel!  How much better you sleep!  Notice the calmness at home and at school.  Enjoy your time together as a family and with friends.  Protect your planet and the environment you love.  We can be a positive force, together!   Begin with Tai Chi.  It is easy and fun!  Get your set here

Mind-Body Activities Promote Overall Health

We all benefit from focus, calmness, inner peace.

Mind-body activities promote Overall Health.

But sometimes we search with such determination for inner peace that we defeat ourselves before we even start.



  • Know this is true
  • I have done it myself
  • Sometimes I promise myself with force and anger that I will do something
  • Something that will make me better!
  • An ACTIVITY  that will MAKE ME RELAX




But it doesn’t work that way.  We often try too hard.  We want so badly to be in control –  




The best activities are mind-body activities where the mind is not pushing with determination towards a goal.  Instead the mind is relaxed and allows the energy to flow until we feel better, understand more clearly and share compassion and understanding with those around us. 



We need to:

  • let it happen
  • be in the moment
  • allow the chi to flow within our body
  • feel peace, happiness, calmness, and compassion to flow through us.



Studies on the effects of TaiChi and Qigong were done on adolescents (under 18). Frequency ranged from 2 sessions a week for 5 weeks to 5 sessions awake for a year.   The focus of the study was on the “interactions among the brain, mind, body, and behavior, with the intent to use the mind to affect physical functioning and promote overall health”


For full information of this study click on this link.     There were 696 students in 10 different countries. They were divided into two group – the intervention group and the comparison group.  The ages ranged from 8 – 14.8 years.  Girls were 54% of the total..


The results were over 60% positive showing increased interaction and connection with peers and support from peers, and improvement in physical health – including groups with specific disease symptoms.


I imagine that if young people learned to do a some

tai chi or qigong everyday, even just 5 – 10 minutes,

we would see huge difference in behavior, understanding,

compassion, cooperation, health and focus.




Mind-body activities like Tai Chi can lead to more happiness, gratefulness and appreciation of others and of what we have.

Students love a TAI CHI week in NYC


A classroom is filled with students struggling with serious learning challenges.

The noise and the confusion suddenly stops.

Students love Tai Chi.

There is silence as each child moves as an elephant or a tiger.

Everyone is successful because there is not just one way to do it.



  • A running  elephant is fast
  • A playful  elephant is happy.
  • A  thirsty elephant reaches down to drink water.
  • A tired elephant moves slowly.






Each student is relaxing, breathing and visualizing his elephant moving across the plains of Africa.

No one needs to compare.  For once, every child is doing it exactly right.


What a feeling of satisfaction for the students.  No one is corrected.  There is silence and focus.  Relaxation and delight.  Teachers are happy.  Students are happy.


Even the ones who can’t sit still for more than 5 minutes are participating perfectly.




Why don’t you try Tai Chi with your students.  We all have challenges.  Tai Chi works on everyone to help you relax and feel better.


Getting involved with Tai Chi

You can order your set here.

Read some studies

A recent study showed that Tai Chi is particularly effective on children with sever hyperactivity and anxiety

A teacher from Connecticut tells his experience of using Tai Chi with children with special needs. 

The Qigong Institute reports how quickly most children respond to Tai Chi.  They show emotional stability and spiritual awareness after just one session.

Finding Calm in 2018

Finding  peace, focus and calm is not easy.  We had to work at in 2017 and we will have to continue to work for peace in 2018.  The situation around us does not make it easier.  


But Tai Chi, a moving meditation,  can help.

  • You can read lots of scientific articles about meditation to convince yourself that it really works.  For example  Your Brain as Laboratory: The Science of Meditation    shows how extensive the studies of mediation and the brain are.    But reading about the science is not the same as meditating.  We really  need to forget all the science we know to relax our brains. 

  • You can join a class.  Sometimes the group atmosphere is helpful.  You are there and sit quietly because that is what is expected. But it is not always easy to find the right group or make it to the practice.

It is easy to find excuses – reasons not to slow down and relax, to feel peaceful.  There is so much to do!

You need to find something that fits into your day, is fun, and makes you feel good so you can look forward to it.

  • A moving meditation like Tai Chi is an easy way to start.  Start with just 10 minutes.  You don’t want to be overwhelmed or stressed about your inability to do it, fit it in, and feel good.




A few suggestions:

  • Decide to start with 10 minutes – too much time can be stressful.
  • Pick a time that you know works for you.  Usually first thing in the morning is best.  Especially when you realize that missing 10 minutes of sleep is OK if you are doing something energizing.
  • Find a spot where you will not be disturbed
  • Find a simple program to get you started that will talk you through the activity, so your mind doesn’t wander to other things that will need attention as soon as you finish.
  • Set a timer so you don’t have to watch the time or wonder if you have gone too long.  It could be peaceful music that plays for 10 minutes.


Imagine the Tai Chi elephant walking across the plains of Africa.  Feel air and the breeze, smell the trees and bushes, notice the sunshine.   It is easier than sitting still.

As I move like an elephant, with grace and direction, relaxing my whole body, my breathing slows down and my body begins to change.  It is beautiful.  It changes my whole day.




Imagine helping other friends and family, children and students find the peace of the walking elephant, too.  With my simplified program of Tai Chi Moves, anyone can begin with just a few minutes a day.

Together we can change the world in a wonderful way.   We all need it.







Tai Chi Breathing

How important can breathing be?  We all do it everyday, naturally.  We don’t have to learn it, do we?

It depends if you want to breathe efficiently, sending oxygen to every cell for maximum benefit, or just breathe to get by.

We take thousands of breaths every day.

Air is the most important thing we need to stay alive.  Breathing massages the organs.  Our brain needs oxygen  for thinking, understanding and inner peace.


It does not always happen with our normal shallow breathing.  As a newborn baby we all breathed very deeply – abdominal breathing.  But as we grow we do more chest breathing which gives us less oxygen.  It feels natural.   But to reach a calm, mediative state we need to breathe deeply. Focusing on the breath allows us to experience abdominal breathing and feel the peacefulness of chi and oxygen flowing everywhere in our body.  If you expand the abdomen during the inhalation there is more room for the lungs to expand and take in more oxygen.

But during our normal busy day we don’t take the time to breathe deeply. We just keep rushing.  Many of us breathe in polluted air.  Some of us where our clothes too tight and we can’t expand our waist to breathe deeply.  Is it worthwhile to wear clothing that we think looks great if it doesn’t allow us to breathe?  Poor breathing can also come from fear, nervousness, depression, anger and other emotions.

Practicing breathing is very beneficial.

In Tai Chi we do abdominal breathing. We also use visualization to calm down so we can breathe better.

And do you know what happens?

  • Our brain and body function better.
  • We feel better.
  • Our digestion is better.
  • We sleep better.

It is worthwhile to practice beneficial breathing.  It can make a huge difference.  Try it with Tai Chi or yoga or meditation.  It can change your life.