Tai Chi had been recommended to me for years by several good friends. I finally decided to try it, largely motivated by an increasing problem with my balance- largely connected to foot issues.
I feel extremely lucky that Dan Baum was recommended to me by another Somatic Experience Professional who knew his work. I am a psychotherapist who does much trauma work, which coincidentally uses the technique slowly down to focus on somatic experience as a way of helping to digest traumatic experience.
I was clear that I needed initial one on one sessions, because if I was going to learn the practice, I wanted to get as much attention learning it before joining a group for continued practice. I did not want to add the pressure of keeping up with a group to the initial anxiety of learning something new. My instinct was correct, and one on one is proving to be so powerful for me that I am still staying with that, and am probably only half way through learning the 24 moves in this form of practice.
It has given me so far more than I expected. Not only is it helping my balance, but I am realizing and working on many movement habits I have that are tied to life long term issues that arise when I try to slow it down, and allow myself to stay focussed on each move before thinking about the next. This moving meditation works so much better for me than sitting meditation ever did. And slowing down these movements in Tai Chi has a domino affect on other behaviors in my life.
Dan is extraordinarily gifted in what he does. He has a totally non judgmental persona in the work, and seems to perceive on a micro level, where a slight shift can impact positively my comfort and capacity to perform a movement correctly. I feel a shift happening in each session, when I am able to shift a prior pattern and experience the gain in my capacity to move more smoothly with great fluidity. I am hard pressed to come up with a recommendation that would change how we work now.
When I get to that point where I feel comfortable practicing with a group, I am hopeful to be able to do Tai Chi supervised more than once a week, as I feel I am still less disciplined with my own practice, and I believe the discipline of being in a group would help.
--Pearl B. LCSW
I took tai chi lessons about 15 years ago, but could not focus on the movements back then, and therefore did not feel as if I was progressing, so I stopped after a few months. I attribute this to too much outside stimulation at that time of my life. One day in 2012, I saw a group of people in Confucius Park in Chinatown doing tai chi, and I liked how serene and calm they looked. I felt that I was now at a point in my life where I could focus more and try to achieve that same serenity. Dan provides an easy start into tai chi with excellent direction and instruction to make the movements more understandable. He also listens and watches, and provides helpful critique, which has assisted in me becoming calmer and being able to focus and block out external interferences.
--John D., Foreign bank internal auditor
I chose to study Tai Chi because of the many articles and reports I've seen and read over the years supporting its health benefits, especially as a gentle way to physically engage. (Well, that and being curious as to what the movements people along the East River waterfront in NYC were doing - Tai Chi, I learned.) I'm so grateful to have pursued this martial arts discipline. Tai Chi has provided an outlet for me to become more physically connected, physically aware and, ultimately, relaxed. I think of Tai Chi as choreographed moving meditation and something I can do for the rest of my life. However, I'm not sure if I would have become as interested or committed without Dan as my instructor. Dan approaches class organically, with respect for his students and their various skills levels. He also has a good sense of humor, which I greatly appreciate. Class is a supportive and non-competitive environment, yet allows the student to walk away feeling like you've had a workout. I credit my positive experience and commitment to Tai Chi to Dan and encourage others to check it out and take a class with him!
--Eileen S., VO actor, speech-language pathologist