Tai Chi in the Park

Tai Chi in the Park
Belleville Public Library

When: Tuesday, July 18, 2017 - 10:00 am

Please note: In anticipation of mosquitoes and heat, we are moving Tai Chi to the Library.

Registration is required. Please stop by the library or call 424-1812.

Instructor Mara Rohde welcomes all ages for a relaxing, low-impact morning stretch under the trees.

Rain location: Belleville Public Library

Introduction to Tai Chi, Chi Kung

Tai Chi and Chi Kung, (pronounced Chee Gong)) are related low impact wellness practices for the health of body, mind and spirit that originated in China. Movements in Tai Chi are slow, fluid and coordinated with the breath, that promote a sense of physical and mental relaxation. Regular practice of Tai Chi/Chi Kung enhances balance, strength, coordination, and patience. Additional health benefits, according to research findings, include: improved blood pressure and circulation, flexibility, and prevention of bone loss/osteoporosis. According to Chinese Medicine, chi is “life energy”, the animating power that flows through all living things. Chi Kung is also spelled Qigong.

Although Tai Chi originated centuries ago in China as a martial art, we in the West are able to reap its health benefits since its introduction in the 1960’s by Grandmaster Cheng Man Ch’ing. As a teacher of Yang Style Tai Chi/Chi Kung, he came to the US and was one of the first to teach this practice to non-Chinese students. Since then it has become widespread throughout America and Europe primarily as a wellness practice.

One of his disciples is Grand Master William C.C Chen who lives in New York. Master Chen continues to teach thousands of students across the US, one of whom is Jody Curley, M.A., Certified Tai Chi Teacher in Madison. Tai Chi/Qigong classes are available in Belleville at Express Fitness, twice weekly on Monday 9:30 a.m. and Thursday at 6:00 p.m. by Mara Rohde, a student of Jody Curley since 2010. Mara is grateful for Jody’s continued guidance.

While a wealth of written information is available on the Internet and in books, the best way to truly appreciate Tai Chi and Chi Kung is to participate in a class.

Movement Guidelines to Tai Chi, Chi Kung

  • Slow, continuous, fluid movements - as swimming in air.
  • Joints are not locked, shoulders and arms as relaxed as possible.
  • Grounded - feet connected to earth at toes, ball of foot and heel.
  • Spine in comfortable natural alignment.
  • Entire body is integrated, elastic, from tips of toes to finger tips.
  • Palms and fingers are sensitive, aware, and energized.
  • Energy & movement at center of body is just below the naval.
  • Bring your wandering mind back to movement- focus on motion.
  • Breathing is quiet, in & out through the nose.
  • Your own natural breathing rate sets the pace of movement.
  • Expanding/rising/energizing movements happen when inhaling.
  • Retreating/sinking/relaxing movements happen when exhaling.
  • Cultivate a full breath- complete exhalations allow a full inhalation.
  • When still, be still like a mountain; when moving, move like a river.

*Adapted from Jody Curley, M.A Certified T’ai Chi Ch’uan Teacher and Tai Chi Health.