Jenny Sheldon's journey to Tai Chi began with a desire to find a physical activity that her mother, who had Parkinson's disease, could use to help her remain independent for as long as possible. As the disease progressed, the hardest moments were when an independent skill was lost. As Jenny watched her mother struggle, she became very interested in finding an activity that would help people maintain their health as they age.
Jenny's search took her to many certification classes in senior exercise, but nothing really clicked until she experienced Tai Chi for Arthritis. Here was a safe, effective, and fun activity that provided an opportunity for life-long commitment and could utilize her education and physical activity experience. She is now a Master Trainer.
Jenny is passionate about Tai Chi. She works each day to share the knowledge she has gained from Dr. Paul Lam and others. Her business, Active Life Fitness, reaches out to people of all ages.
Now in the 14th year of business, Jenny has over 150 regular students who participate two, three or up to five times a week. She offers classes in the neighboring cities of Bend, Prineville and Redmond, Oregon, and has made teaching Tai Chi for Health her full-time occupation. Several of her students have received TCA 1 and 2 certifications and now assist with instruction. Jenny also instructs Tai Chi for Diabetes, Osteoporosis, Back Pain, Fall Prevention, and has begun teaching the Sun Style 73 and Yang 24.
Jenny is particularly thankful for Dr. Lam's emphasis on instruction. By breaking down the forms into easy-to-learn parts, Dr. Lam helps make Tai Chi rewarding. Her students learn quickly how beneficial Tai Chi can be.
Jenny has been in the education field for over 30 years working in the classroom, activity classes, athletics, and coaching. She has a Masters Degree in Physical Education and believes that the Tai Chi for Health programs provided by Dr. Lam are the most comprehensive, safe, interesting and enjoyable activities she has ever experienced, on both educational and personal levels.
Jenny's instruction techniques continue to improve with each Tai Chi workshop she attends. She owes her knowledge of Tai Chi entirely to the dedicated work of Dr. Lam and the Master Trainers who have helped her.
Jenny lives in Bend, Oregon with her family. She has three grown children who are all very interested that their "jock" mother is now a full-time Tai Chi Practitioner.
Debi Keen, a native Central Oregonian, has worked in office administration and raised her two sons in Redmond. She studied Tai Chi and Qi Gong under several instructors years ago and found them calming and interesting. Two years ago, her mother was faced with having two consecutive knee replacements due to osteoarthritis. Debi wanted to find some sort of activity that would help her mother with the stretching and exercises that would be beneficial, safe, and ease the stress for her mother. With arthritis being hereditary, the idea of preventative exercise also appealed to her. Her mom was nervous, maybe a little skeptical, but after one week of Tai Chi, she could stand without her cane. After two weeks, she was able to stand on one leg and do a punch kick. She was pleased and looks forward to classes coming to her hometown of Madras. Debi's favorite part of this program is hearing students' testimonies, how they've healed, improved, or regained balance, health or confidence. She is especially inspired by those who are now able to resume activities they loved like gardening, golfing, and hiking. Friends and family say that Debi "just lights up" whenever she talks about Tai Chi. She likes having better range of motion, more stamina, and the relief from stress that these classes give her, because it makes it easier to keep up with her two grandsons and, oh yeah, her mom who now briskly walks 2 miles every day!
According to Joyce, enrolling in Jenny Sheldon's Tai Chi for Arthritis class is one of the best decisions she has made. Not only has the study and practice of Tai Chi become an integral part of her life, but also it has improved her overall wellness. Becoming part of a community of interesting, supportive individuals is additionally life enhancing.
After retiring in 2004 from a lengthy career as a high school English teacher, Joyce sought stress reduction and an exercise program that suited her. She found both in Jenny's program. After attending her first Tai Chi for Arthritis Instructor/Leader's Workshop in 2005, Joyce became certified to teach TCA. Since then, she has also helped teach Tai Ci for Diabetes, Osteoporosis, and Sun 73. The transition from the English classroom to the Tai Chi one has been beneficial and challenging on many levels, though Tai Chi's natural collaborative atmosphere creates a positive learning environment. Because she has been a beginning student, and because she has experienced the anxiety of perfoming in front of an unfamiliar audience, Joyce also empathizes with the anxieties of her students. Participating in many workshops and gaining many hours of teaching experience have only strengthened Joyce's passion for Tai Chi, and she is continually searching for new and effective methods of conveying information to her students.
Clearly, whether her role is that of teacher or student, Joyce's participation in the Tai Chi program is one that she enjoys. The time has passed quickly since 2005. Now her challenge is to teach her husband and children-fortunately, Tai Chi also encourages the development of patience.
Mary C. Blizzard
Mary C. Blizzard has been an educator for over twenty years,
teaching P.E. to emotionally disturbed adolescents, English to high school
students, and teacher education to master’s level students here in central
Oregon. She is currently retired and enjoys spending half the year in Bend and
the other half in Paso Robles, CA. Her interest in tai chi began when she
learned it was an effective method of reducing the pain of osteoarthritis.
After studying tai chi for arthritis with Jenny at Active Life Tai Chi she
decided to become certified to teach that particular form so that she could
take it with her to Paso Robles and introduce TCA to interested parties there.