thanksThese are thank you notes that we have received from students and participants.

“Much praise.

I must tell you both how much I enjoy your Tai Chi for Arthritis and Gentle Yoga classes. I have found that both classes have helped me move and be active again and my life is  greatly improved. I have been taking Tai Chi on Monday mornings since October. Once I started with the gentle movements of Tai Chi, I found that I could move easier and more movement led to the Easy Yoga class on Wednesday morning.
Having arthritis in my knees and hips, I find both classes help me be more mobile and the breathing and quiet meditation help me to de-stress. I’ve learned so much from Tai Chi and Yoga.  Both practices have really enriched my life and I feel stronger and happy and I am enjoying life so much more. Thank you both.” – Stella L.
“I really enjoyed the self defense class, especially since I went into it not knowing what to expect. I am a small person, so I mostly went into it with the desire to learn a few ways to feel like I could protect myself if the need be, and I came away with so much more than that! I truly appreciated the time they spent teaching us the importance of prevention. They gave us very real stories and information, and did not lead us on to think that we suddenly did not have to worry about anyone harming us. I also got more comfortable with the ability to maneuver myself physically in many different situations with many different kinds of attacks. Still, I feel that prevention and surround awareness are the most important things that I learned, and have been using them since i walked out of class that day.”
– Emma B.
GKMC Prayer 2“First I have reconnected to my faith through the Bible, thanks to Bible study on Sundays. it has re-energized my faith and our wonderful group has great conversations. Another true connection was attending the Biblical Oils workshop. As I have contemporary medicines to relieve my arthritic pain without too much success, I was curious to attend the workshop to see if i could learn about an ancient recipe. AND I did! With guidance our group learned about the ancient oils and their attributes. I made a blend of frankincense, cinnamon and wild orange – it is meant to relieve the muscle and joint aches one feels. In addition, we had a ‘prayer’ workshop that used movement and visual art as a part of our prayer life. We even saw beautiful icons, other artifacts and we did our own artwork and beading. I felt very connected to this and was extremely happy when we followed up going to the Cloisters to experience ancient religious art firsthand.” – Deborah N.
“As most of you know, among the many talents, they bake delicious bread. The craft group was lucky to benefit from this talent. Although Tracy had not experienced the Christmas Fair, she realized that she could contribute bread. After baking and wrapping many, many loaves of bread, she spent most of the day mingling with shoppers and passing out samples of her delicious home baked bread (Rain’s Cinnamon Bread). They also shared a fresh-out-of-the-oven loaf of bread with the crafters on a random Thursday evening. She supports the craft group whenever she can such as passing along ideas and furniture to paint. They attended a Pysanky egg workshop and advertised for us as well. The group feels supported and appreciated by her.” – Nancy W.
GKMC Prayer 6“During the last year, members of our community have been invited to join in the mission to advocate the importance of movement. They have promoted the mission through weekly programs such as Gentle/Chair Yoga, Stretch and Pray, Study, Spirited Theology, and Tai Chi. They conducted a workshop on Prayer. Participants had the opportunity to select and string their own prayer beads. As participants of this workshop, my husband and I had a wonderful afternoon learning with prayer and movement. They have helped us envision our community as having no walls. We are learning that our community outside of our walls are just as important as our community inside walls.” – Donna M.
I’m sending this e mail regarding the Olympic Camp that was held in August.  My daughter Julia attended the Camp and even though the camp was two months ago I strongly feel the need to let all who was involved in this camp know how it has changed her! Julia had just graduated 5th grade and although she had done great academically in school, her year had been challenging as she had been repeatedly bullied in school by the same boy and then had to start to wear a back brace for scoliosis.  She had lost  self esteem as a result and rarely wanted to be the adventurous girl she once was. With the persistence and support of a friend, I signed Julia up for the Olympic Camp. At the Olympic Camp Julia participated in so many activities that she enjoyed and discovered she could do all of it wearing her brace! I feel without a doubt that it was the warm, encouraging and  nurturing environment that Tracy, and everyone else involved,  created for these preteens that made Julia  comfortable enough to try them! She especially enjoyed the rock climbing as well as fencing which she is continuing with the instructor who taught at the camp! The Olympic Camp did much more than provide something for Julia to do for a week during the summer, it restored her faith and confidence  in herself and taught her there is nothing she cannot do.   She has entered the 6th grade and is doing remarkably well, volunteering for sports related activities and several school clubs, and loving fencing with Susan! Please forward this email to anyone who was involved with the Olympic Camp so that they may know how they have touched Julia’s life.  I am forever grateful to all. 
I hope that you will continue this wonderful camp for preteens/teens in the years to come!
With Gratitude and Thanks,”
Lydia R.
“In an era of immediate gotta-have-it-now gratification, it is worthwhile to take a moment to slow down and stretch acccumulations of stress and toxins from our souls. The mission to lead our community by the practice of yoga and deep breathing is resulting in a new vitality. Our bodies and minds are searching for more profound moments. The cleansing of detrimental stresses is done by way of movement. The participants in the gentle yoga group are finding renewed energy by making even the smallest effort. The Oils workshops gave us the opportunity to learn about the power of smell used in healing. An in-depth study of scared texts enables attendees to comb the words for answers. Food for thought at Spirited Theology as well as food for fuel have been a joyous exchange every month. It is about movement, energy and renewal. I lost my Mother a few months ago, due to complications after hitting her head in a fall. They have since taken time to discuss that importance of fall prevention. They give us tips to help keep ourselves upright. In both tai chi class and yoga class, we spend a great deal of time breathing, meditating, and trying to let go. This has helped me tremendously in my grieving process. Doors are opening and everything needed for growth is flowing like oxygen through our community. It’s a new world of what was ancient.”
– Janice H.
“My experience with the Self Defense Workshop helped me realize that there is a whole new meaning behind  being safe and staying safe. I learned that the most important concept in being safe and practicing safety comes in learning to take correct precautionary measures. This new knowledge has brought a couple new changes into my life that make me feel a lot safer and at peace; I no longer carry my long and bright lanyard with all of my keys over my shoulder when I go out, i no longer have my home setting on my GPS set straight to my house, I do not wear clothing or accessories that contain my name, and I am learning to be aware of my surroundings and follow my initial instincts on a situation. These are only some of the precautionary measures discussed during the workshop that have opened my eyes to the importance of keeping myself safe from harm before i am put in a dangerous situation – Precaution – it starts here.
The workshop touched on a few things when it came to staying safe during a scenario where I am put in harm’s way. The idea of staying safe was founded on a principle of knowing oneself and understanding what our weaknesses or strengths are and what we would be capable of in different situations. The key concept was to get as far away from the danger that you could so that you could be safe instead of provoke a battle that might lead to life or death and that is something i was not expecting. I came in thinking I would learn to kill or escape but I really learned a more important value – to survive and to keep myself in safety’s arms. I know it may sound cliche’ but this workshop reminded me of how important every second is in this life. The blessings of reality are present in everyone’s life and anywhere despite the differences or similarities amongst us; just as those blessings are present, so are the dangers. My eyes have been opened to a new perception through this workshop.”
– Frieda
“I am so very thankful for Earth and Cup. Our conversations and discussions at many of our gatherings are usually interesting and lively. They may not provide us with answers, but they get us thinking. With a book study on Monday afternoons, or a fall prevention workshop for our Aging Gracefully group. I enjoy the Tai Chi for Arthritis classes on Monday mornings.”
-Lydia L.
“After about six months of taking Tai Chi classes for Arthritis, I noticed quite a bit of relief in my joints and have found a new way of breathing, yes breathing. Your mind, through meditation can control and teach you to breath in good, healthy, positive, spiritual air and let go of old negative, stagnant air. I have used this technique at bedtime. The rhythm of my breaths lulls me to sleep. Tai Chi is a low impact movement exercise to gain muscle, strength and flexibility. On Wednesday mornings, chair yoga completes my meditation for the week. It is the other half of my spiritual movement. We are asked to bring or create a personal affirmation to class that will carry and strengthen us through the day. This meditative exercise strengthens our muscles and our minds through low impact, and low injury movements. I have also found a new community of persons from outside the walls. We meet, talk, make friendships through these classes. It has been an uplifting experience.”
– Claudia M.

“Thank you for taking time out of your week to help out with VBS at CHMC. The kids loved it! Pastor Kathy did too! Enjoy the rest of summer. Thanks again.”

– Kim J.

Thank you for all you do to make our lives healthier and more pain free while making it fun and always informative. We appreciate you and all you do.
Most Sincerely,
10am Tai Chi Class (Susan, Lucy, Marie, Marilyn, Cheung, Lorene, Mary Ann, Robert)”

Thank you for taking the time to speak to class 717 (IS 24) about mental & physical strength. Your contribution to the class was invaluable & we truly appreciate it! Thank you!
– Sara

My name is Anna. I attended one of your morning chair yoga classes last year. I had a day off of work and tried this class with my sister. I LOVED IT!
SO…. I’m retiring mid-June and would love to join some of your events.
Can you please add me to a list so I can get a schedule of upcoming events?
Have a great day!
Anna F.
Wishing you and Earth & Cup a long and fruitful life together. Your work in our community is greatly appreciated.
– Ann T.
I really appreciate the masks. The last couple weeks have been interesting having to wear one all day. Thank you for your support!
– Ally J.
On Leap Day, Saturday, February 29, 2020 I attended my very first Day of Qigong. This event was hosted by my instructor, Jayne Butram of the Okinawan Karate Center in Chesterland, Ohio. Sensei Michael Poole of the Earth and Cup Dojo of Staten Island, New York was our guest instructor. Later in the day other individuals in our assembly guided us with Tai Chi, also capturing my curiosity.

That early Saturday morning I remember I woke up excited! I remember when the thought entered my mind, “what is Qigong and Tai Chi all about?” I was eager to have my first go at Qigong. Sensei Poole first started us out with many Qigong warm-ups, stretches and some careful breathing exercises to prepare our bodies- all leading up to activating our Qi. A sudden break ensued, but at this point in time, I already felt refreshed and relaxed- wanting more! The latter portion of the morning and early afternoon Sensei Poole guided us with Rooster Crowing in the Morning, Baduanjin or Eight Pieces of Brocade, the Seven Movements of the Sky Fisherman and Becoming the Tree, to name a few.

To me, almost anyone can do Qigong, even while sitting down or in a chair. I began to see that Qigong exercises are probably some of the most gentle, calming and safest exercises for our bodies. Every part of our body is opened, released to move and relaxed, only to come back to original form. A complete cycle that I found does incorporate breathing, mind, body and spirit. One is not performing rigorous exercises stressing our joints, sinews, muscles and spine. You are not out of breath as if running, but very much in complete control of your breathing. I felt like I had a gentle, but full body workout. I was amazed that when I was performing the meditation and breathing exercises how I can clear my mind and how fast time could go by and not even realize it! Becoming the Tree, a twenty three minute and one second meditation, stood out for me. Sometimes the length of the meditation is just right and other times not long enough- leaving you wanting more.

During the whole day I felt calm and refreshed. At one point, I remember Sensei Poole used his phone to utilize an app where someone narrated a meditation. I remember when the narrator talked about our different body parts and senses. When the narrator briefly mentioned that some people may not have all their body parts or maybe lost one of their senses is when I was left in deep thought. I cannot explain it, perhaps at that moment my mind was so cleared I put myself aside and thought about a few people I personally know. I began to feel thankful for having all my senses and grateful for my healthy body. I thought about those seeking treatment for addiction or injury, those enduring post-traumatic stress disorder, maybe a sudden life event or perhaps you have cared for someone so long that you have put your own health aside. However, to remain positive, the others in our assembly made me feel very welcome and were willing to show us more. Qigong and Tai Chi can help and there are those who only want to help!

I am at peace with the fact that I am new to Shorin-ryu Karate, Qigong, Tai Chi and any meditation or breathing exercise. I am just beginning to understand how one is a part of the other. I may not know many kata or the moves associated with Qigong and Tai Chi, so I focus my effort to the controlled breathing aspects. I choose not to rush my journey, but embrace the experience with others. For me, one thing is for sure, a clear mind is just as important as our body and spirit. To this end, my experience with my first Day of Qigong was very rewarding. Perhaps my first experience and takeaway is encouraging to others. I may have taken the first step by walking into the dojo that morning, but I graciously thank Sensei Poole (with pause), for introducing me to Qigong and Tai Chi, both a wonderful, holistic and spiritual way to exercise our mind, body and spirit. Those reading my simple letter just walk into the dojo- may you leave refreshed and humbled as I!

Arigatou gozaimasu
Joe E

blue brown marbled cup