Tai Chi at River of Life
Tai Chi Chuan, commonly known as Tai Chi, was developed in China in the 1300s as a martial art for self-defense. Tai Chi Chuan translates to “Grand Ultimate Fist”, revealing its martial arts roots. It evolved into a technique for promoting health and meditation, with people using it primarily for its health benefits. It can be used for the general harmonizing and balancing of the body, and is wonderful for stress management and treating many illnesses.
The central element of the practice is the "internal discipline" that dictates how a movement should be made from the internal core of the body--the abdomen and the back--and not from the external parts of the body, such as arms and shoulders. This discipline is essential to gain the full health benefits of Tai Chi.
There are many different styles of Tai Chi. Most modern styles of Tai Chi trace their development to at least one of the five traditional schools: Chen, Yang, Wu/Hao, Wu, and Sun. While the image of Tai Chi in popular culture is typified by exceedingly slow movement, many Tai Chi styles have secondary forms of a faster pace. Some traditional schools of Tai Chi teach partner exercises known as "pushing hands", and martial applications of the forms' postures. The physical techniques of Tai Chi are described in the Tai Chi classics, a set of writings by traditional masters, as being characterized by the use of leverage through the joints based on coordination and relaxation, rather than muscular tension, in order to neutralize or initiate attacks. The slow, repetitive work involved in Tai Chi teaches the student how to apply that leverage gently by using connected movements of the entire body.
Studies with the elderly show that Tai Chi can help with balance problems. In cases of osteoporosis, it helps strengthen the bones. Because of the relaxation aspect, it can help with stress-related problems like high blood pressure. Because it is low-impact, it can help lubricate your joints and strengthen your body in a way that's not as harmful as running or some high-impact exercises. Tai Chi is a wonderful complement to any exercise program.
Qigong at River of Life
Qigong (pronounced "chee-gung") is the coordination of breath with gentle, flowing postures designed to build strength and stamina, and to facilitate numerous positive health benefits. Excellent for stress relief and the development of a balanced state of body and mind, this ancient practice has helped people from walks of life achieve goals of greater health and happiness.
In China, Tai Chi and Qigong health benefits have been studied for nearly 2000 years. In the west, medical researchers have been studying for only the last 25 years. However, these researchers are discovering that Tai Chi and Qigong are providing amazing health benefits. With regular practice, Tai Chi and Qigong can help:
- Boost the immune system
- Improve balance
- Improve posture
- Improve coordination
- Improve range of mobility
- Improve flexibility
- Reduce the risk of falling in the elderly
- Ease back pain
- Increase breathing capacity
- Lower blood pressure and heart rate
- Sharpen mental focus
- May help with ADD and ADHD
- Reduce stress
Tai Chi and Qigong helps the body through its slow flowing movements. They help the mind by improving focus and helping us keep a positive attitude. As we improve our mind and body, we improve the state of our health.
Our Tai Chi classes meet on Saturdays. There is an intermediate class at 9AM and a beginners class at 10AM.
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Lisa has been a student of Tai Chi Chuan since 1994, and has been teaching Tai Chi since 2002. Lisa teaches Yang Style Short Form, Long Form, weapons forms, and various Qigong forms, including Eight Pieces of Brocade. Each class includes stretching and joint opening exercises as well as fundamentals of balance and motion.
Lisa is very experienced at instructing beginners as well as advanced practitioners, and teaches both types of classes at River of Life. Her students enjoy practicing the forms under her guidance and can see and feel improvement in focus, coordination, circulation, and flexibility each Saturday morning.