Tai Chi is an ancient form of movement that centers around balance and meditation. It has been practiced for years throughout ancient China and has and continues to evolve. I’ve been practicing this form of martial arts for twenty-five years and teaching for seventeen. I absolutely love teaching because I was so inspired by my first instructor, Ruth Stricker. Ruth also just so happens to be the founder of The Marsh. I am incredibly grateful to be able to teach and practice tai chi in my everyday life.
What is Tai Chi?
Tai Chi originated as a martial art. Today, Tai Chi is practiced most commonly for health, wellness, and meditation. Tai Chi is at its very core, meditation in motion. It is the emotional and physical feelings and sensations happening around us and in us. We become aware in this way, by slowing our body down and focusing more on our breath and the softening of that breath, we bring our body into proper postures through simple movements.
Tai Chi is more than just a sequence of forms, it’s a full body and mind experience. As part of my teaching practice, I promote and encourage students to get out of their heads and into the present moment, to truly experience what is happening in their minds and bodies.
Tai Chi brings nature, animal activity, and your own energy into your physical movement. A proper Tai Chi practice should be easy and joyful, each time you practice should be with new eyes and a beginners mind. Every Tai Chi gesture begins and ends in your center, your “Dantien” not your head or your feet placement.
The Benefits of Tai Chi
The practice of Tai Chi has been proven to lower blood pressure, help with heart issues, and create flexibility and ease of movement in the joints. Focusing on the moves of the various forms allows the mind to clear and calm. This helps with anxiety, depression, and an over-stressed mind. When I personally started practicing tai chi, it was to calm my busy mind and help with my asthma symptoms. Every time I practice I see improvements in both of those things. As I have gotten older I find that this practice has also aided in decreasing my joint pain to the point now where it has completely disappeared!
My students often express that tai chi has helped them to feel pain-free and simply feel better within their bodies. It has helped many people with balance and posture, even as I look at their beautiful faces before the class and then again at the end, they all look younger and healthier and that youthful energy is truly just one of the many benefits of this practice.
If you’re curious about tai chi or other art forms, explore our classes online or drop in! Learn more about Stephanie Olson in her staff bio.