Tai Chi classes emphasize the fundamental principles underlying the beauty and grace of the Classical Yang Style Tai Chi Long Form. Students are guided through the movements of the Tai Chi "set" which builds strength, flexibility and balance while improving circulation and deepening relaxation. Further practice explores the details and depth of the more advanced movements with an increasing focus on mind-body-breath coordination.
"My approach to sharing Tai Chi as a movement art emphasizes both the health benefits naturally inherent in Tai Chi practice and the concomitant benefits of postural alignment practices which not only make Tai Chi more enjoyable, but are also capable of clearing long-held blockages, enabling one to live a more pain-free, active life. The posture alignment exercises which are shared in class are based upon the specific practices and principles of The Egoscue Method."
(See below for a summary of the Benefits of Tai Chi Practice.)
Qigong for Health
Basic qigong practices for reducing toxic stress, clearing energy blockages, improving mental clarity and enhancing physical vitality. These simple exercises are easy to learn and may be done standing or sitting, depending upon each person’s physical capabilities. Relaxation is a key component to practice which leads to the coordination of smooth movement, calm breathing and peace of mind. Qigong holds the potential of a life-long health and healing foundation, which may be practiced with benefit at the most basic to the more advanced levels.
Qigong (pronounced "chee-goong") describes a Chinese Exercise system with a 5,000 year history that focuses on cultivating and attracting "Qi" or "Life-Force" energies. The primary goals are to eliminate excess tension, clear energy blockages, and purge toxic emotions from within the body's tissues. Additional benefits include strengthening and balancing the internal organs and bio-electrical energy of the body.
Tai Chi & Qigong:
The movements are gentle, slow, smooth, and elegant.
There is tension and relaxation, movement and stillness,
together with harmony of mind, breath and body.
"My approach to sharing Tai Chi as a movement art emphasizes both the health benefits naturally inherent in Tai Chi practice and the concomitant benefits of postural alignment practices, which not only make Tai Chi more enjoyable, but are also capable of clearing long-held blockages, enabling one to live a more pain-free, active life. The posture alignment exercises which are shared in class are based upon the specific practices and principles of The Egoscue Method. "
Malcolm Lewis, PhD, LAc has a background of over 35 years experience practicing and teaching "Tai Chi/Qigong For Health & Longevity". He has offered classes through the Mt Shasta Recreation and Parks Department since 1997 and conducted Tai Chi/Qigong workshops both here and abroad. Dr. Lewis maintains a private practice focusing on natural health principles, clinical nutrition and energy-balancing practices within a holistic perspective. He is currently available for telemedicine consultations.
A growing body of research has investigated how Tai Chi, classified under Traditional Chinese or Alternative Medicine, can treat and improve quality of life in those with a wide array of conditions across numerous populations. Studies have been conducted with children, adults and the elderly, as well as people with Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, back pain, cardiovascular disease and HIV/AIDS. While more research is needed, the benefits of Tai Chi appear to be associated with enhanced mental and physical health, better sleep and reduced stress.
Not only is Tai Chi an effective therapeutic tool that is increasingly used in integrative medicine, it is enjoyable and safe.
The only thing one needs to succeed is to start and continue to practice.
Reducing stress and anxiety is one of the main reasons students start and stick with Tai Chi. In today’s frenzied world, the moving meditation provides an opportunity to slow down and use the body to relax and clear the mind.
Some of the most impressive research on Tai Chi has focused on enhancing balance and preventing falls, especially in the elderly. Several studies have shown significant improvements in balance, especially in participants who were sedentary or at risk for falls. Tai Chi has also been shown to increase strength and flexibility, both of which can help prevent to falls.
Several studies have found that practicing Tai Chi significantly lowers blood pressure. Research published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that practicing Tai Chi for 12 weeks decreased blood pressure and improved both lipid profile and anxiety status.
Tai Chi has also been found to lower heart rate and increase heart rate variability (the time interval between heartbeats that can measure how well one tolerates stress). Tai Chi, which is a form of aerobic exercise, may also improve your VO2 max—a measure linked to overall fitness.
According to the National Headache Foundation, over 45 million Americans suffer from chronic headaches. A UCLA, randomized controlled study looking at the impact of Tai Chi on adults with tension-type headaches (TTH) found that participants enrolled in a 15-week Tai Chi program experienced a statistically significant decrease in the number of headaches. Improvements in energy, social functioning, emotional well-being and mental health were also observed.
Tai Chi may offer some relief for osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease causing stiffness, pain and mild inflammation. One study published in Arthritis and Rheumatism found that compared to controls, subjects with knee osteoarthritis who did Tai Chi twice a week had less pain and improved physical function.
Concerned about bone health? Even though practicing involves little weight-bearing exercise and no resistance, several randomized controlled trials in post-menopausal women found Tai Chi reduced bone loss and fractures.
Tai Chi can help reverse changes in physical function that naturally decline with age. It has been shown to improve strength, fitness and overall capacity for daily living.
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If you would like to begin, continue or enhance your Tai Chi practice, please consider this professionally-produced teaching video, featuring Master T. Y. Pang "Learning Tai Chi Chuan". This is the Classical Yang-Family Style 108. Lessons are clear with practical gudance for both beginning and advanced students.