White Crane Cools Its Wings

White Crane Cools it Wings is one of my favorite Tai Chi exercises to use in the PT clinic.  It utilizes a “T stance”  that challenges both balance and leg strength.

Follow the video for some excellent instruction on this exercises.  Try to hold the position while keeping the body relaxed and be sure to breathe.  Enjoy!



A Special Yoga-Tai Chi Workshop at Fusion Mind/Body Studio

Fusion Mind/Body Studio Presents

Yoga-Tai Chi with Taoist Meditation

With Sarah Wendel



Saturday, September 24, 2011


$20 (pre-registration required)


Vinyasa yoga and Tai Chi both incorporate beautiful fluid movements and combine effortlessly in this workshop designed and taught by a physical therapist to enhance the health benefits of both disciplines. Join Sarah as she leads a slow flow practice capped by a Taoist-inspired guided meditation to put you at peace and connected with nature. Expect to feel relaxed and refreshed at the end of this mixed-levels class. No previous experience of Tai Chi is necessary. 

Sarah Wendel specializes in the treatment of the spine and neurological disorders at Creative Therapy Resource, Ltd, where she is the senior physical therapist. She is a trained yoga teacher through Yogafit and teaches gentle Hatha and Vinyasa yoga classes at her clinic. Sarah has practiced yoga and used it in her physical therapy practice for over ten years and has researched, and used Tai Chi extensively in her treatment programs for the past five years.


Class held at

Fusion Mind/Body Studio (located in Simple Balance Holistic Center)

221 East Chicago Street

Elgin,IL 60120



Please visit our website at www.fusionmindbodystudio.com

Send all email to info@fusionmindbodystudio.com


Registration Form






Please select your payment method:




I, the undersigned, recognize that participation in any exercise class involves the risk of physical injury. I hereby agree to assume this risk. Fusion Mind/Body Studio, Inc. or the instructor shall not be held liable for any injuries or damage to myself, nor be held responsible for any property of mine that may be lost or stolen during said participation.




Please deliver or mail this form with your payment to


Fusion Mind/Body Studio

Attn:Juanita Monaghan

221 East Chicago Street



You will receive an email or phone call confirming your participation. Please call Juanita at 847-567-6913 or email info@fusionmindbodystudio.com if you have any questions.




2011 Continuing Education Class Schedule

Creative Seminars by Creative Therapy Resource, LTD.  has announced their 2011 schedule of continuing education classes for Physical Therapists, Physical Therapist Assistants, Occupational Therapists and Occupational Therapist Assistants and will be hosting classes in the Illinois and Wisconsin.

Sarah has created and teaches 3 different evidence-based mind-body continuing education classes for the company: Gentle Yoga Therapy, Yoga for Low Back Pain and Tai Chi for Therapists.   All classes and primarily lab based and focus on modifications appropriate for different patient populations as well as the large body of evidence for the medical uses of yoga and tai chi.

Please visit the continuing education page on this site or here for the Creative Seminars website for more information and to register. 

Hope to see you there!

Tai Chi Instruction: Wave Hands Like Clouds

In two weeks, I will teach my first continuing education class of the year, Tai Chi for Therapists for a clinic in the far Northwest suburbs of Chicago.  As a result, I have Tai Chi on my brain.  This week’s post features two versions of Wave Hands Like Clouds, one of my favorite Tai Chi movements. 

Traditionally, Tai Chi practitioners perform a series of 24 or more movements in a row, working to blend them effortlessly together.  This takes many months or years to perfect, so I teach my patients and students to begin practicing one movement at a time in order to really master it prior to flowing them all together.  I recommend starting with “easy cloud hands” first and really focus on making the movements slow and fluid prior to practicing the full version.  Enjoy!

Easy Cloud Hands


Review of horse stance: feet shoulder width apart, knees gently bent, abdominals engaged and shoulders relaxed, see horse stance entry for more details.

Begin in horse stance with your weight on the Right leg and the trunk rotated to the Right.  Place your hands close as if holding an invisible ball with the Right hand on top over towards the R shoulder.

Simultaneously, shift your weight and rotate Left as you float the hands across your body as gently as clouds moving across the sky. Try to coordinate the entire body to move at the same speed.

Once you have fully shifted to the Left, switch the hands to have the Left hand on top, then weight shift and rotate Right as you move both arms across your body.

Repeat this cycle for 1-5 minutes, focusing on equal weight shifting and rotation to both sides.  Be sure to breathe deeply during the entire time and keep the arms relaxed. 

Note: this is a modification I have developed for educational and therapy purposes.  Please see the next set of instructions for the formal version of Wave Hands Like Clouds.

Wave Hands Like Clouds


Stand at the Right side of a room or hallway.  Begin in horse stance with your weight on the Right leg and the trunk rotated to the Right.  Place your hands close as if holding an invisible ball with the Right hand on top over towards the R shoulder.

Step straight out to the side with the Left leg, then rotate and weight shift to the Left as you float both arms across your body towards your Left shoulder.

Next, step the Right foot in close to the Left leg and switch your hand positioning (Left hand on top)

Rotate and weight shift to the Right as you float both arms across your body towards the Right shoulder

Repeat, slowly stepping towards the left side of the room for 1-5 minutes as space allows.

Health Benefits:

  • Improved balance
  • Improved lateral (side to side) weight shifting during gait
  • Improved strength of the gluteus maximus, obliques, quadriceps, iliopsoas, peronials, deltoid, multifiti
  • Improved rotation flexibility of the spine

Tai Chi Circle Drill

Tai Chi Circle Drill

Tai Chi can be thought of as a moving meditation.  The participant performs gentle, flowing movements with mental focus on coordinating the breath and movement in perfect harmony.  For most people learning Tai Chi, fluid slow movements can be difficult to achieve.  The circle drill is an excellent technique to practice timing movement with breath.  Once this coordination is achieved, the body and mind become relaxed, helping to provide the health benefits associated with Tai Chi.

Instructions: Practice each step for 1-5 minutes, working on slow, fluid circles


     Stand with your feet 2’ apart, knees bent, arms relaxed and spine straight.  Take a moment, practice your tai chi breathing, center your mind, prepare your body


     Inhale as you raise up your R arm in front of your sternum (chest bone).  Circle the R arm clockwise slowly.  Exhale when your hand reaches your head and complete the circle returning to your original position repeat


     Relax the R arm and raise up the L arm in front of your sternum.  Circle the L arm counterclockwise.  Exhale when your hand reaches your head and complete the circle, returning to your original position repeat


     Add R arm circles to the L, keeping them coordinated in opposite positions repeat       Tip: think of double dutch jump rope.

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