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Tai chi enthusiasts gathered outside the Buchanan Rec Center Saturday morning to enjoy the sunny weather, meet other practitioners and celebrate World Tai Chi Day. With the help of local instructors, …
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Tai chi enthusiasts gathered outside the Buchanan Rec Center Saturday morning to enjoy the sunny weather, meet other practitioners and celebrate World Tai Chi Day.
With the help of local instructors, 20 people warmed up and went through various routines, helping each other along the way.
Tai chi, thought to be several hundred years old, is a Chinese martial art that is also practiced as a way to meditate and improve well-being through a system of movement and breathing. Classes are offered at several locations in the foothills.
“This is the way of celebrating our interest in tai chi, and it provides healing and positive energy,” said Ellen Arnold, a tai chi instructor who decided it was time for the area’s novice and veteran tai chi practitioners to celebrate World Tai Chi Day. “It’s a chance for us to get out and play.”
World Tai Chi Day is celebrated the last Saturday in April at 10 a.m. local time in more than 80 countries around the world. According to the event website, the day is meant to teach people about the health and healing benefits of tai chi; to thank the Chinese culture for sharing the form; to show that people of all races, and economic, religious and political backgrounds can share tai chi; and to show that the internet can foster global wellness and healing.
Arnold, who teaches tai chi for arthritis at the Buchanan Rec Center, explained that tai chi has helped her with balance and flexibility. She explained a bit about tai chi on Saturday before leading participants through a warmup.
Then they divided into two groups: one trying tai chi for arthritis and the other trying a more active form led by instructor Charles Holman, who teaches at Bear Creek Healing Arts in Kittredge, and Jeanne Gibson, who teaches at Peak Academy of Dance in Conifer.
Tai chi uses slow and continuous movements with a mental focus that melds mind and body, and it is said to boost immunity and reduce stress.
Holman said as he walked through the group that tai chi was the most powerful of all martial arts, and depending on the class, it can have an aerobic component.
“Tai chi will find your weakness,” Holman told the group. “Whether it’s coordination, balance or stamina, (tai chi) will find it.”
Gibson, who has been involved with tai chi since 1995, said it was an integral part of her life because it kept her centered and grounded, noting that it provided a good philosophy for life.
Gayle Gordon of Evergreen, who has practice tai chi for three years, works on her balance and meditation in classes, noting that she came to Saturday’s event because it seemed like fun. Fran Nelson of Evergreen participates in tai chi for the balance and stretching benefits.
Tai chi, which provides a range of health benefits, incorporates the philosophy of yin and yang, how seemingly opposite and contrary forces are actually interconnected and interdependent, Holman explained.
“If you get stuck,” Arnold told the group, especially the newcomers, “stop and breathe.”
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