Tai Chi Forms / Classes taught at Core Bodyworks
Arthritis Foundation Tai Chi Program
This is a great starting place for learning tai chi, as this class is safe and effective for all fitness levels and is easy to learn. It can be done standing or seated and is modified to avoid any risk to joints. We can modify any movement to accommodate any physical limitations you may have. Although this form was designed for people with arthritis and joint concerns, it is a beautiful form (based on Sun style tai chi) enjoyed by many for its relaxation benefits.
Tai Chi for Osteoporosis & Fall Prevention
Part of Dr. Paul Lam’s Tai Chi for Health series, this short form is a combination of Sun & Yang style tai chi. It contains some movements from the Arthritis Form, but provides additional balance challenges from Yang style movements. This combination helps to strengthen your bones, improve your balance and prevent falls.
Qigong for Health
Whereas tai chi is a choreographed set of movements learned in succession, qigong is a variety of stand alone exercises. We incorporate qigong exercises in every tai chi class we offer. Some are done as warm-up exercises, and some are used for relaxation focusing on the breath and posture (body alignment).
Sun Style 73 Form
Sun style tai chi contains unique and pwerful qigong (life energy) that is ideal for self-growth and healing. It is a relatively easy to learn style and has great depth to be explored for a lifetime. Sun style tai chi as developed by Sun Lu Tang (1860-1932) is characterized by "lively step" footwork and a higher stance than other tai chi forms. Proper body alignment and posture are important elements. It is most helpful to have learned the Sun Style Short Form (Tai Chi for Arthritis) before beginning this class.
Level I and Level II Classes
Currently our classes are listed as Level I or Level II. Level I is the beginning level where you will learn a modified short form of Sun style tai chi. This form is also used by the Arthritis Foundation and is described above. You may then progress to Level II if you desire.
In Level II we incorporate more tai chi principles in order to improve your tai chi, and also learn additional forms.
We find that the modified form taught in Level I provides a very good foundation for learning other forms of tai chi. It is also safe for all fitness levels.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Tai Chi?
Tai chi is a form of exercise dating back to ancient China, most reliably to the 16th century where Chen Wangting developed several tai chi routines combining martial arts with other ancient practices of developing “inner” force along with deep breathing exercises (qigong). There are five major styles of tai chi practiced today (Chen, Yang, Wu (Hao), Wu and Sun), all of which derived from this beginning. In tai chi, mental concentration, breathing and actions are closely connected making it an ideal form of exercise for improving health and well being.
Tai chi is a choreographed set of movements learned one by one in a specific order, and is often described as a moving meditation with dance-like qualities. Tai chi and qigong can be practiced your entire life, regardless of any health or physical limitations.
What is Qigong?
Qigong is one of the oldest exercises in Chinese history. It incorporates a variety of breathing and meditative exercises, and is especially beneficial for health and mental relaxation. Qigong is an integrated part of tai chi.
How does Tai Chi or Qigong benefit me?
Tai chi and qigong integrate mind and body to promote mental and physical health. Regular practice reduces stress. Stress has been linked to many, if not all, medical conditions. Stress reduction improves health overall. Tai chi and qigong provide relaxation benefits which help you to sleep better, improving health, and help you relax during your activities of daily living. Many practitioners experience a peaceful state of well being. Tai chi has been found helpful for people dealing with arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes, recovery from cancer, addictions, attention deficit, high blood pressure, parkinson’s and other health concerns.
Tai chi also provides fitness benefits such as muscular strength, flexibility, stamina, balance and posture. The movements emphasize weight transference which helps balance and prevents falls. Its gentle and rhythmic movements energize and revitalize mind and body.
Are there any medical studies to support tai chi’s health benefits?
There have been many medical studies which validate the health benefits of tai chi. You can access several of these studies on the following websites: www.taichiforarthritis.com, www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters (type in key word tai chi), www.mayoclinic.com (search “tai chi”), www.tchc.info, and www.worldtaichiday.org.
How do I learn Tai Chi?
Tai chi is best learned in a class setting with a qualified instructor. Our certified instructors trained with Dr. Paul Lam who developed the Tai Chi for Health series and are also certified through the Arthritis Foundation. They attend continuing education workshops regularly and study with various tai chi experts. We teach tai chi one movement at a time, for best mind and body retention. Each class builds on what was learned in the previous class. With regular review and progression, you will learn a tai chi form that you can practice anytime, anywhere.
Can I start a class at any time?
Yes, our classes are ongoing. Although we occasionally hold workshops and start a beginning group all at once, there is no reason to wait. We work together as a class and include individual instruction as needed.
How often should I practice?
Daily practice is highly recommended to help you learn the movements and improve your tai chi. It only takes a few minutes to review the movements, but health benefits come with sustained practice of 20 minutes or more. The more you practice, the more your tai chi will improve and the more you will experience and understand the principles which enhance your tai chi experience.
How will I remember the movements?
Review the movements as soon as possible following your class, at least the same day, or you may forget. If you don’t have time to physically practice, review the movements mentally. We provide handouts that will assist you in remembering the form. DVDs are also available for home practice. In addition, we review all movements at each class.
What should I wear?
Wear loose, comfortable clothing. Cotton is best as it allows your skin to breathe. Ideal practice shoes should be flat, comfortable & soft, lightweight with a broad base of support and shock absorbent pads in the sole. You can purchase special tai chi shoes online if you desire. Some prefer to practice in bare feet.