Personality Test with Bernard Stankay

Bernard StankayIn June, Pittsburgh Psychotherapy Associates introduced weekly health and wellness classes to encourage personal growth and mind/body development for all ages. This week we are profiling our Tai Chi instructor Bernie.

How would you describe yourself in three words?

My wife said: intelligent, sensitive, and humorous, however, my three might be: “I don’t know,” because I’m still evolving.

What was the last book you read?

I usually don’t read one at a time, and I’ve never read fiction. I’m in the process of reading: Opening the Energy Gates of Your Body, Taoist Breathing for Tai Chi and Meditation (audio), Tai Chi for Health and Life, The Power of Internal Martial Arts and Chi, Relaxing Into Your Being, and The Great Stillness (all by Bruce Frantzis), The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi (by Peter Wayne), The Internal Structure of Cloud Hands (by Robert Tangora). And I find Deepak Chopra’s works enlightening as he elucidates complex philosophical concepts.

If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?

Two would be Cheng Man-ch’ing and Tam Gibbs (a senior student of Cheng and his interpreter). As I am propagating his art, it would be interesting to study directly with him (maybe — he wasn’t a very patient person).  He is one of very few people that properly practiced and demonstrated the true art of effortless power.  He would even be fascinating to just observe in the performance of the art.  Another would be Noam Chomsky – he’s simply brilliant in his political and pragmatic perspectives. But I wouldn’t meet him without specific questions I’d have to ask him.

What was the funniest thing you have ever experienced?

I find funniness in everything to an extent, be it simple and silly to self deprecating to comedic perspectives that demonstrate our humanity, which is what is essentially funny.  I do love stand-up comedy if it’s thoughtful and well presented (not crass). For example some of Lewis Black’s work, I saw Billy Gardell’s HBO special recently, John Stewart, Bill Maher, Richard Pryor, …as I’m thinking there are too many to reiterate). There are too many funny things I’ve seen to give you the funniest. Furthermore, I find animals both amazingly beautiful and amazingly hilarious. You just have to spend time observing them and you’re mood will always change for the better. They teach us about our own humanity.

What is your favorite art form and why?

Besides Tai Chi, I love music…not any and all but from diverse genres…classical, country, rock and roll, jazz. I’m not a musical snob, just love what appeals to me. I could love and dislike work from the same artist. While I’m quite out of practice, I love to play guitar and sing and play drums. I’ve been fairly prolific at them in the past.

To register for Bernie’s Tai Chi class or Yoga with Yumiko, click here. Classes take place every Sunday beginning at 11 am. Registration is recommended, but walk-ins are welcome!