Sunday, July 31, 2011

Explore the Many Benefits of Tai Chi

A recent article in the Marlborough, New Zealand newspaper gives a great look at why tai chi practice is good for you.
"Seventy-year-old Lynda Neame said she started modified tai chi classes in 2008 after suffering from concussion, which caused vertigo and dizziness. "I thought I would learn how to stand up straight, walk in a straight line and get control of myself." The benefits proved more extensive.
Mrs Neame also suffered from osteoarthritis and had resigned herself to gradual loss of mobility because of the pain in her shoulders, legs and hips.
"I spent an hour recovering after half an hour in the garden and thought `this will be my life'."
But with the tai chi, she can now also enjoy pilates, bike riding, swimming and her beloved gardening."

How can tai chi benefit you? Find out at classes this fall at Great River Tai Chi. Our beginners' classes will be held Sundays, starting September 18th, at 6 pm, 1940 Hennepin Av. S. 2F. Tuition is $150 for ten weeks of class.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Robert W. Smith, Student of Cheng Man-ch'ing

We note the passing of our taiji "uncle" Mr. Robert W. Smith, July 1, 2011. Mr. Smith studied taiji with Professor Cheng Man-ch'ing in Taiwan, and went on to teach in the Bethesda, Maryland area.
Mr. Smith's copious writings about Professor Cheng and other great masters of the Asian martial arts helped set the stage for taiji and other arts to spread to the United States in the 1960s. Mr. Smith gave workshops in the Minneapolis St. Paul area in the 1970s. For more information, see the Taijiquan Journal blog.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tai Chi for Heart Health Study

 A recent study reported on in US News found that tai chi "could boost heart patients' quality of life. Researchers split 100 patientswith heart failure into two groups: Half participated in a 12-week tai chi program, while the others spent 12 weeks in an educational program learning about heart-related issues, like low-sodium diets and heart-rhythm problems. At the end of the study, the tai chi group reported improvements in mood, less , less fatigue, and more energy than the others—and those in the first group were more likely to continue with some type of physical activity, according to findings published Mondayin the Archives of Internal Medicine. "Maintaining an exercise regimen is important in heart failure," study author Gloria Yeh of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center told HealthDay. "Tai chi may be a suitable alternative or adjunct exercise for these patients."

While studies such as these help integrate tai chi into the health care system (such as it is), tai chi is much more than sheer exercise. Yes, those who do take up tai chi find it has many unexpected benefits: improved balance and gait, mental focus, straightened posture, lower stress, improved immune system, and more. But tai chi is also "philosophy in motion," a martial art (improved balance and posture do wonders for "standing up for oneself"), and it can be a window into understanding more about Chinese culture. It is a calming, yet is exercise, and can be modified to fit anyone's physical needs, regardless of age.