Chronic pain. It's no fun but a great teacher. I am glad that teachers stay with us for a time and encourage us and help us grow. Then, hopefully we continue to the next level and meet our next teacher, as the school of hard knocks can be eternal. Don't want to be stuck in the same grade forever.
After years of pills, physical therapy and a t.e.n.s unit, I entered the realm of Feldenkrais therapy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feldenkrais_method I highly recommend it although I have forgotton most of what I learned. It was this teacher that led me to Taoist meditation and energy exercises. This opened my awareness about alternative therapies and I began to study herbs and homeopathy and decided to give accupunture a try. The meditation and accupuncture brought me over the crest of the hill. I began to work again and although I continue to be partially disabled and in a minimal amount of pain, I live a rather normal life.
There are many levels of exercise that include an awareness and an inclusion of the Taoist principle of "Chi". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qi If I were to equate my experience with Chi to one that was to swim the ocean, I would admit that I have only dipped my right foot and a portion of the left into the vast expanse of the void, the Tai Chi, the Supreme Ultimate.
I am not a teacher. I only point to that which I have seen, to that which I have experienced. My progress has been slowed due to the pressures of life that many of us know all too well. Family, finances, the pressure of just living. No wonder Taoism has produced so many hermits!
I work full time and now earn 60% less than I did in my last position. My oldest was sent to jail today. My only toy, the "Little Hottie" is experiencing some health issues of her own. I am quite sure that I will miss the Vermont show that I have so looked forward to. So, I am no stranger to the travails of life.
Give the Chi exercises a try and tell me of your experiences!