Last fall, RiverView Health introduced a free "Tai Chi Easy" class to the general public, just to gauge interest in the community. The class proved so popular, it's still going strong every Wednesday night at 6 pm in the RiverView Care Center Dining Room.
"Attendance has been good," said Megan Scott, who coordinates the class. "I was really surprised. I figured through the holiday season things would trickle off. But people need time for Tai Chi, because they notice the benefit of it."
Tai Chi is an exercise practiced for health and wellbeing that evolved from martial arts in ancient China. Originally developed for self-defense, Tai Chi has evolved into a graceful form of exercise. Often described as meditation in motion, Tai Chi promotes serenity through gentle, flowing movements and deep breathing. Tai Chi is low impact and puts minimal stress on muscles and joints, making it generally safe for all ages and fitness levels.
Scott, a licensed acupuncturist and certified Chinese herbalist at RiverView's Family Practice and Integrative Medicine Center, brought up the possibility of starting a Tai Chi Easy class at RiverView Health.
"After having several patients and members of the community ask me about local resources for Tai Chi and having no options for them, I decided to inquire about making Riverview the local option,'' Scott said. "I was wholeheartedly supported by our administration and Dr. Debra Bell (with RiverView's Family Practice and Integrative Medicine Center) in starting our Tai Chi Easy Class.''
Tai Chi Easy is a carefully developed program that makes Tai Chi fun, easy, and beneficial right away. It uses five of the traditional Tai Chi movements in combination with posture, breathing, self applied massage, relaxation and meditation practices.
Scott attended an intensive Tai Chi Easy Practice Leader Training at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Stockbridge, Massachusetts with Roger Jahnke O.M.D., who developed Tai Chi Easy. Scott began leading the RiverView class back in October.
"I love to be able to tell patients about the benefits of this exercise, and that it's available right here," Scott said. But the class is not just for RiverView patients. The class is open to anyone with an interest in improving their well-being. The class is taught in a way that you can drop in and start any time, too, Scott said.
The benefits of Tai Chi Easy are many:
• Increased muscle strength, physical conditioning and flexibility
• Improved balance and coordination, decreased risk of falls
• Decreased pain and stiffness
• Decreased stress, improved sleep and mental focus
• Increased energy and vitality
• Improved cardiovascular health - decreased blood pressure
Scott has experienced the benefits first-hand. "After a long day of work, I look forward to the boost of energy and the relaxation Tai Chi provides; and I always sleep well the night of my classes,'' she reported. "Even though the movements are slow, you start to notice your body becoming stronger when you practice Tai Chi.''
Page 2 of 2 - For a schedule of RiverView's upcoming Tai Chi Easy classes, go to the events calendar at riverviewhealth.org or for more information on Tai Chi Easy contact Scott at 281-9519.
Go to the "Video" section at crookstontimes.com to see a video or two of Tai Chi in action.