Let Go and Follow the Flow

Lois Bascom

Lois Bascom is a TCA Instructor from Shelburne Falls, MA.

I want to share with you my joy in teaching TCA on Zoom. A few months ago I did not think I could do this. Then I took the Zoom training offered by the USTCC.ORG and felt like I could manage. With the help of that class and my friend and Senior Trainer, Deb Yaffee, I launched my TCA classes in September with much trepidation. 

As we were struggling with the new reality of using Zoom, one of my participants said, “The Three P’s of Tai Chi: Patience, Persistence, and Payoff!” This resonated with me, and I now use this mantra for myself. My participants use it as they go through the process of learning each move in the TCA form: Tai Chi teaches Patience. I am Persistent in my practice, and I am experiencing a Payoff of many health benefits.

To my surprise, teaching on Zoom is a wonderful experience, and I recommend to anyone who is considering this medium for teaching to give it a try.

 There are many challenges to this. In my first class, with people I did not know and who did not know me, the zoom would not let them in! Patience.  I became frustrated, so I did some tai chi breathing and received a mantra: “Let go and allow the flow.” Wow! I was amazed that I could “hear” this. I did let go and we ended the class. Persistence. I scheduled a Do-over class. I got help with my zoom account — Patience and held the class the following day. Payoff!

There remain challenges with zoom and we handle them as they arise. What my participants and I marvel about is how we feel the class energy through our computers. This is what makes tai chi so inviting; this beautiful energy that we all feel, connecting us to each other and to the earth energies. When someone feels like they are struggling, that person now speaks up and repeats my mantra: “Let go and allow the flow”, or “Patience, Persistence, Payoff!”

Some of the challenges I encounter as an instructor, include creating a teaching space in my home. I bought a TV to use as a monitor and external speakers for better sound. I have to spend time in this space preparing mentally to teach. This is my home, so I could get careless and concentrate on what is going on here instead of my class. I mentally rehearse what I will say to my class and find this helps keep me in the teacher mode. 

Technical issues come up for participants, trying to use devices like iPads and phones. Visual challenges include making sure participants are standing away from their devices so I can see their hands and feet. For them, it is being in a room with no scatter rugs or items on the floor to trip over.

In one of my classes, I am teaching people who have not done this form of tai chi. I have asked these participants to purchase your DVD and learn the forms with you. My idea is that I observe them and suggest improvements in each class. The participants don’t always watch their DVD, so I often teach a move and so far, successful for them. Some of their comments sent to me via email:

“I am energized by the class and I am grateful that you have brought us together to meet.” 

“I am very much enjoying class, Lois. Despite the drawbacks of Zoom, your instructions are clear and easy to follow.”

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