Tai chi: moving meditation, moving medication


By Helena Gunther

Special to The PREVIEW

Tai chi (tie-chee) is often described as “moving meditation,” but it might well be called “moving medication.”

There is growing evidence (Mayo Clinic, Harvard, U.S. National Institute of Health’s Office of Alternative Medicine, etc.) that this mind-body practice, which originated in China, has value in treating or preventing many health problems, i.e., balance problems, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, arthritis, stress and anxiety. It can help increase energy, stamina, flexibility, agility, muscle strength and definition; enhance quality of sleep, the immune system and improve overall well-being.

Originally developed for self-defense, tai chi has evolved into a graceful movement form with many styles. This soft martial art concentrates on balance, spatial awareness, breathing deeply and naturally, and moving with mindfulness. Movements are usually circular, never forced; the muscles are relaxed, never tensed, making it generally safe for all ages and fitness levels. It requires no special equipment and can be done indoors or out, alone or in a group.

A short form tai chi class is taught at the PLPOA Vista Clubhouse, 230 Port Ave., Tuesday through Friday from 9:30 to 10 a.m. A second tai chi class is taught at the Community Center on Fridays from 11 a.m. to noon. There is no fee to attend these classes.

Exercise is the magic pill to keep you strong and vibrant, and tai chi might be just the right form for you. For further information, please call Helena Gunther at 731-5529.