Woman with MS teaches tai chi

April 26, 2013 6:19:36 AM PDT
Tai chi is an ancient Chinese art that uses slow body movements to achieve relaxation for the body and mind. It also helps a number of people with disabilities, including a woman who has multiple sclerosis, walk again.

Every week at the Immanuel United Church of Christ in Evergreen Park, 67-year-old Anna York teaches two classes to people with disabilities. She has seen some amazing results that are similar to her own.

"Tai chi and chi oigong originated as medical systems for the Chinese. We do breathing work and the energy work and then we do the movements for tai chi," said York.

York was diagnosed with MS 48 years ago, at the age of 19.

"I was in a wheelchair, an electric scooter. I was unable to sit up straight in a chair for more than 15 minutes at a time and I had serious debilitating fatigue," said York. "Tai Chi was something that my son introduced me to. I started attending class. I started to see a lot of different benefits for my physical self, my emotion and for all aspects of my life."

Fifty-three-year-old Stephan Beal was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease three years ago. He started tai chi a few months ago.

"I have more energy and it's a moderate amount right now, but again I'm only in the class for five months and seeing improvements. It's encouraging," said Beal.

Two years ago, Halima Jabolani starting working with Anna. Halima also has MS.

"My challenges are I have trouble doing daily things like reaching, turning over in bed, there's numbness all the time," said Jabolani. "I get my clothes on a little quicker. I just have more energy, stamina -- it makes everything I do on a daily basis easier."

"I have been doing this for 17 years and I work with people in both seated and standing positions and we adapt movements in whatever kind of disability they have," said York. "I always say, if you can breathe, you can benefit."

There is a small fee for the class, and York also produced a DVD.

For more information, visit this website: www.annayork.ning.com.


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