Author Archives: Michelle Greenwell

Mental Health and Tai Chi

Often when people sign up for an exercise class they are considering they need to be getting a workout. Tai Chi is considered exercise until you realize it is more than that. The beginning of Tai Chi you are working on structure and alignment for posture, you open up the diaphragm for breathing deeper, and you increase circulation and massage the heart and organs.

There are other benefits that people quickly realize, and that is how Tai Chi support mental health and wards off declining mental faculties often associated with aging.

Have a look at this special news report to learn more about how taking a Tai Chi class can help you maintain mental wellbeing and clarity.

people in the park
Tor Yus at the Gellatly Nut Farm in the Summer

Exclusive Tea Blends at Wine Country Tai Chi Society!!!

Are you ready to order your tea for gift giving this season, as well as for sharing with family and friends. Great conversation happens over a cup of tea. At Wine Country Tai Chi Society classes we take a tea break to gather and share more about what is happening in our worlds. Now we gather with our own tea blends!

Order here

Inspired by the flavours found in the Okanagan Valley, our blends include grape leaves along with their green tea or rooibos combinations. High in Antioxidants, and low or with no caffeine, these blends are a great way to boost your immune system while enjoying the flavours we find at the fruit stands each season. They can be enjoyed hot or cold, or with a special recipe…stay tuned for those. They are best prepared with water that has been brought up to a boil, but not boiled, and then letting the tea cool to a warm but not hot temperature – the flavours of the herbs and fruits are highlighted this way. Make a second or third cup from your first steep, and continue to reap the benefits.

We have two sizes of bags – 50 gms (small) or 100 gms (large). Be sure to place your order right away as these blends are quickly clearing out with the spread of the word on how they smell and taste!

Order here

New Members receive a Club Shirt!

Have you joined the club and started your Tai Chi journey? Thank you for choosing the Wine Country Tai Chi Society to support your self-care plan, and to provide you with support as you learn and grow with the Tai Chi program.

If you are looking for a t-shirt to order, please use the form here to register your size and style. It is always a delight to have our club shirts on to create a sense of community while we practice, and to share more about Tai Chi with others when we are at club events, or we are wearing the shirt on our travels.

At the Gellatly Nut Farm during our summer outdoor practice~

Fall Registration Begins!

We want to welcome you to the 2023 Fall Schedule for Tai Chi with the Wine Country Tai Chi Society.

To learn more about our programs, be sure to check out the latest videos with explanations of the classes here.

This is the front cover for our introduction video series!

To find the best class and time for you, please go here. Be sure to scroll past the amazing summer schedule at the Gellatly Nut Farm outdoors.

If you are a returning student, or a regular student of the club, be sure to check out the videos for Sabre, Lok Hup, and the Seated Form to learn about how you can advance your Tai Chi practice with additional class time and skills. Click here.

Together we energy and vitality to our daily activities through regular Tai Chi practice and integration.

The Power of Meditation, Moving Meditation!

In a recent article released by Tai Chi Basics, they explore the power of meditation and your self-care. For many people it is difficult to sit and be still, or they may have been sitting for hours all day and they really need to get moving, more sitting is not appealing.

This is where Tai Chi comes in. The moving patterns in Tai Chi are a form of Moving Meditation. That is, you gain the quietness, deep breathing, and centered feeling while flexing, strengthening and spiraling the body. This approach enhances the communication between organ systems, creates whole-body movement patterns that strengthen the way you move as you age or lead a sitting lifestyle at work or home, and deepens the breath.

What are the benefits of moving meditation? Calm the monkey mind, stretch and strengthen the muscles and tissue of the body, create a storage center of energy to use throughout your day, to ease sleep challenges, to moved the breath deeper into the body for mental clarity and system support, release of tension in areas that may have been problems for years (neck, shoulder, hip, back, lower back, hamstrings, ankles), restless legs, and more.

Join a class today, celebrate with us on World Tai Chi and Qi Gong Day April 29th, and join us in the park all summer long.

Here is the link to the Meditation article by Tai Chi Basics…put Tai Chi on your wellness plan!

Sitting tall

Do you have trouble with restless legs that keep you up at night? Sore knees that challenge your balance when you bend to sit or rise to stand? Feeling a little overwhelmed with the holidays?

Seated Tai Chi – a true gift for learning about the signals you receive from your body about the stress it is experiencing and the joy it has found.

These are some of the ideas we explored with our Seated Tai Chi workshop on December 6th.  Our guest instructor, Michelle Greenwell, from Tai Chi Cape Breton, holds a Ph.D. (final) in Complementary and Integrative Health.  Her 30 years of study in Tai Chi and her passion for the benefits of the Seated Form were evident as she shared what our bodies are telling us through our physical signals.

The Seated to Standing Don Yu begins with the movement of the arms in a figure 8 pattern, that massages all the organs, engages the fascia, and expands the body for deeper breathing without any effort.  The second part of the movement engages the feet and legs into a harmony of movement that provides stability, centering, and grounding for ease of rising from a chair.  Lastly, the full rise provides the strength and flexibility of whole-body movement to create a power source for building energy and vitality for the body.  As we explored this unique movement set, exclusive to the seated form repertoire, we were able to identify where we had challenges in movement and how to correct it.

Many people rely on momentum to get up, turning and creating off balance to push with arms on an arm rest, or collapsing the knees together to use the inner thigh muscles to lift the body while the outer leg muscles soften with the angle of the legs.  We realized that our feet, positioned correctly, can guide full power through our knees and hips without pain or strain by our joints. Ease of movement was a quick result.  This set of actions can be helpful for releasing the energy overload that results in restless legs at night. 

Everyone in the group was delighted with the spiral action in the movement, White Stork Spreads Wings, and as we explored the expansion of our arms, we felt the lightness of movement and the ease of breathing that resulted.  In just a few short minutes we had calmed the mind and body, and we were able to re-assess stress in the body to notice more ease of movement, relaxation in the joints, and a calmness that brought us all together. 

It was a remarkable two hours that passed quickly as we played with primary reflexes in the feet.  We discovered that our massaging of the feet during the tai chi movements influences our hips, spine, shoulders, neck, back of skull, eyes, ears, tastebuds, and smell.  Who would have believed feet were so powerful?  We even talked about how emotions were calmed by the feet and their movement patterns.  This awareness through sitting brought a new dynamic to how we sit during the day, with other people, and sitting to energize, rather than sitting to rest.

For those in the group who study the standing form of Tai Chi, this was a realization that time spent sitting and exploring the movement patterns created a completely different learning opportunity, as well as a deeper awareness of the challenges and imbalances in the body.  At the end of the session, we were all empowered and aware of how much we had transformed our bodies in just a short period of time.  We all walked a little lighter, and calmer, out the door, ready for the rest of our day.

Looking for similar results for yourself?  WCTCS is always open to welcoming new students to Tai Chi.  Consider the seated form class on Friday mornings as your best first step into the program.  Your awareness and development of strength and flexibility will be simple, and profound, and begin right from the first class. Email for more information or call Yvonne at 778-755-0987 to talk to an instructor.  Start 2023 with your well-being in mind, Tai Chi harnesses your healing potential in minutes.