Storytelling in Chair Chi

Besides working with Sue in our business I also run Chair Chi sessions for aged care centres here in Melbourne.

Chair Chi is an exercise program I’ve developed, based on my 25 years’ experience in learning and teaching Tai Chi. The movements are practiced sitting on a chair and designed for any age or fitness level. Some of the residents I work with have limited mobility, a hearing loss and/or are visually impaired so I adapt the exercises to suit their capabilities.

I’ve discovered that sharing short stories with residents during the session has a more powerful effect than just focusing on the exercises. I see many smiles when I tell them about my experiences working with primary school children in our Pozitive Kidz are happy kidz workshops.

I see their eyes light up when they tell me their stories. I remember walking into one aged care centre where a resident motioned for me to come over so I sat down beside her and listened to her story about growing up in South Africa. Another resident, Cliff, told me the best way to remember his name is to ‘think of falling over a cliff’. One Yorkshire ‘lassie’ told me about her younger days in England working as a rate collector and falling off her bicycle in wet weather.

Sharing stories is such a powerful way of engaging with people. And my work with the elderly in aged care centers has given me the opportunity to go on many shared journeys that have no physical boundaries. An enriching experience, because it makes me appreciate the wisdom, humour and sometimes sadness of their stories.

Sharing a story in a Chair Chi session that truly engages is like sharing good Chi – it makes everybody feel good.

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