How would you describe Tai Chi and Qi Gong to someone who has never experienced it?
It’s an ancient set of exercises which are based on a martial art, but a lot of it is now practiced for the health benefits. The health benefits are improved flexibility, coordination, endurance, stamina, strength and relaxation, which is very important. There’s kind of a meditative component to it. The movements are slow and gentle so you bring your attention to what you’re doing and thinking. That’s why it’s great for people with arthritis. If you have arthritis in your knee, for example, and you’re moving slowly and you feel something in your knee, you can stop at that point. We don’t say, “Keep going! Push yourself!” We say, “Do it gently. If you start feeling stressed, stop.” Each day you do a little bit more and take note of what you’re feeling.
I've never tried T'ai Chi or Qi Gong before; will I be able to follow along if I don't know what I'm doing?
Yes. With T'ai Chi and Qi Gong, there is “No experience required!” The slow, gentle movements make it easy for people of all ages, fitness levels, and experience levels to participate.
What if I have health problems or disabilities?
Our Tai Chi Chuan and Qi Gong classes can be safely and productively performed by anyone who can stand and walk. Our Tai Chi for Health class is suitable for everyone, and participants can choose whether to sit or stand. The movements and postures of Tai Chi and Qi Gong are meant to be done at the capacity of each person, adapted to their current condition.
What is the movement like?
It is slow and smooth and it’s soft and it’s gentle. You are using your muscles and you are ranging your joints. Depending on a person’s conditioning, it could be a major leap to moving a lot or it could be not that much if a person is exercising already. It is gentle but it is exercise.
What do first-time people come into class expecting?
We find that people come in and want to try to improve their health and particularly balance. People sort of associate it with groups of older Chinese folks out in the park. They’re surprised by the end of class to see what it is and what it feels like. But it’s very positive.
Why should people try it?
Many people find that it is helpful to them in doing their activities in daily life with less strain and they find it fun to do. There’s a feeling of shared energy in doing such a positive thing together in class. It has an amazing effect, it is kind of magical.
The health benefits go way beyond any other form of exercise.
Do you need good balance & coordination ?
Tai Chi helps to improve these things, they are not a requirement. By practising a little Tai Chi on a regular basis, balance and coordination can be improved considerably. It has been shown in numerous studies to be the most effective way of improving balance and reducing the risk of falling.
Can Tai Chi and Qi Gong relieve stress and anxiety ?
Yes, with very little experience they can be used to relax and calm the mind. Tai Chi is sometimes described as meditation in motion. Most practitioners notice an improvement in mood after or while doing Tai Chi and Qi Gong.
Do Yoga and Qi Gong have the same healing benefits?
Yoga has great healing benefits. However, Qi Gong differs in it’s slow flowing movements and focus on internal energy. This creates added benefit and cultivates more internal energy. Stretching circulates energy. Flowing movements cultivate energy and bring it into the body. Qi Gong has both.
The biggest difference is that many Qi Gong exercises are very specifically prescriptive for ailments.
Can you prescribe Qi Gong exercises for my condition?
No. We are not licensed to prescribe or suggest Qi Gong exercises for individuals. However we may suggest exercises that other people have found to be benficial.