The Tai Chi Option at Keepfit
Updated: Jan 16
I'd like to first tell you about how I recently became certified to teach Tai Chi. During the early part of the Covid pandemic when most people were home-bound, I decided to use my temporary unemployed status (gyms were shut-down) to learn something I felt might help with stress reduction and fitness. This program is called "Open The Door To Tai Chi" that I found through one of my continuous education providers, The Functional Aging Institute.
What caught my eye about this program was it's simplicity and practicality. Tai Chi is traditionally taught and presented by master instructors who have devoted many years if not their whole lives to practicing and learning this ancient art. There is nothing wrong with that, but the creator of "Open the Door To Tai Chi", Diane Baily from Aurora Colorado, felt that for most Americans, the traditional way of learning and practicing Tai Chi is just too foreign and overwhelming! She wanted a simpler, non-perfection-driven way to bring the many benefits of Tai Chi to average people who want to enjoy a different form of gentle rhythmic exercise without a big commitment of time and effort.
I view Diane's "Open the Door" method as kind of a Tai Chi "Light". There is no pressure on you. You learn at your own pace primarily at home, coming in to see me to review what you have learned by doing those movements with me, helping you to get past any stumbling blocks you may encounter. Hopefully I will be helpful to you by holding you accountable as well! The videos are very professional, clear and logical. If I could learn from Diane's videos, I am positive you can too!
My concept of "delivering" Tai Chi for those clients who want to try it at Keepfit Studio is this: You will learn "the Yang Style 24 Short Form" movements by learning just a few individual movements at a time. You learn by watching videos ( that I will give you links to) and practicing at home at your own pace. Then if you enjoy doing it and want to continue you will learn how to string these 24 movements together in a fixed sequence. Tai Chi is done standing and the movements are gentle on your body and slow in pace. Want to see it? Send me your email on my contact form and I will send you a video clip of Diane doing the entire form.
When you master everything this sequence takes only about 3 or 4 minutes to perform once. We call this not a horizontal event but a vertical event. You don't learn more and more different moves. Instead, you learn how to incorporate different principles such as "rotation" and "grounding" and "energy flow" into these 24 moves. You do the sequence over and over, getting better and better at it over time as your flexibility, balance, focus, sequenced breathing, etc. improves.
Are you still with me? I am offering the method as I described in two different formats. If you are like most of my clients, you want to get your muscles stronger and improve your cardio respiratory system. If you want results you can measure, that means seeing me twice a week for an hour at a time, and ideally doing some workouts at home on your own as well. For these clients, who in addition to getting stronger have an interest in learning Tai Chi, we can devote a small amount of time doing Tai Chi into their strength program as desired.
But many people are not interested in getting stronger and /or jut plain don't like exercising!!
I get it; my wife is one of these people! Or you may be shy, overweight, have some movement restrictions or don't have the funds available for one-on-one personal training. There could be many reasons. I get that too. So my idea is to provide a half hour per week (of only learning Tai Chi) with me at Keepfit for $45 per week. ( That includes the video clips.) How many weeks will it take to learn the 24 Form? That's hard to say. It will depend on you, really.
I learned it in a month during the initial Covid shut down, but honestly can't say how many hours I put into it that month. I do know it was difficult for me, as I have never learned how to dance, and to this day still don't dance and enjoy wedding parties! If you love to dance, I have a feeling this process will be easy for you!
Finally, I just wanted to reiterate that I am not a master instructor like the traditional teachers who are still out there doing it, and look more beautifully graceful at it than I will ever be. But you can learn this gentle art to achieve many of the benefits (as listed on my other blog post) just as I have, quickly and easily. For me, Tai Chi's greatest benefit has been that is the BEST almost instant de-stress activity!! And I definitely feel it has improved my sense of balance. It is one piece of my personal fitness mosaic!
If you or someone you know really doesn't like exercise, consider Tai Chi. It could be a new beginning for you!