Re: Sacramento Magazine, SacramentoTaiChi.com, Sifu Carlan, Tai Chi and its health benefits, and not just for seniors:
“Philosophically, in tai chi, all movement originates from a state of stillness,” explains Carlan Steward, 61, a sifu (teacher) who leads seniors-only tai chi classes in hs Carmichael studio. Tai chi comprises a series of movements developed in China, and is performed in the Wu Chi posture (feet shoulder width apart and side-by-side, knees and hips just slightly flexed).
Davis says, “Tai chi is clearly low impact. It’s a very good exercise program—probably one of the most gentle—and probably has the greatest longevity and the best track record of really connecting the mind and the body together, to help with relaxation, flexibility, strength, control and, depending upon the pace at which you do it, even some aerobic fitness.”
Like yoga, tai chi has three main components to help practitioners achieve longevity and better health: holding optimal posture, remaining energetically relaxed, and having a sense of harmony and tranquility. Dropping all tension and achieving suspended breathing, the practitioner moves from a state of relaxed stillness to relaxed movement. “Tai chi can be practiced at so many different levels of exertion and mobility that the person only needs the mental energy to get started and a teacher who can teach them within their limitations,” says Davis.
Steward credits tai chi with helping him recover after a full hip replacement two years ago. “I used tai chi as my method of rehab and a couple of years later have more relaxed coordination and much better balance than before my hip started giving me problems,” he says.
Henry Gardiner, 33, has taken Steward’s tai chi class for a year and a half. He practiced martial arts until he was was sidelined by a major back injury. “I was unable to continue in any martial arts class. I had a sciatic nerve issue (damage), where I couldn’t sit or even sleep comfortably for months, and resorted to Vicodin three times a day just to tolerate being awake.” Tai chi has been a lifesaver for Gardiner. “Without it, I’d be literally dead in the water,” he claims. “It has improved my back’s condition so much that I’ve even returned to the kung fu class.”
Jackie Miller, 63, an adult literacy coordinator for the Sacramento Public Library, has been attending Steward’s seniors-only tai chi class for close to a year. She says, “My balance is much improved, as well as my inner strength and confidence. Tai chi has given me a feeling that I can accomplish what I set out to do. You are as young as you feel, and I feel great.”
Link is here.