Tag Archives: Anxiety

People in the park

Tai Chi empowers the body with strength and flexibility by spiraling, our movements are unique over regular exercise forms.

When we choose a program for exercise, what are we really signing up for?  Tai Chi is a slow, gentle, powerful transformation for living!

Most of us sign up for exercise class to help us with getting active, building leg strength, finding some flexibility we may have lost, and to be more energized.  We may have tried different sports, walking, hiking, running, yoga, pilates, etc. They may have kept our interest, but not supported all the needs of the body with its aches and complaints.  What do you do if your favorite activity is causing you some pain, or you don’t have the strength or flexibility to continue with it?

At this point, you may be thinking about what Tai Chi looks like in the park in the summertime, and how the slow movements look so fluid.  Something you always thought of trying, but never did.  Why not?  What might this ancient art have to offer you and your wellness plan?

On December 3rd, Wine Country Tai Chi Society offered a special workshop to explore what Tai Chi really offers those who sign up for a class – transformation.  Michelle Greenwell, of Tai Chi Cape Breton, and a Ph.D. (final) in Complementary and Integrative Health, shared the true healing power of Tai Chi.  She encouraged the participants to let go of the old paradigm that they needed exercise.  They explored the stress that the idea of exercise brings into the body and where in the body it influences each person. She invited the group to explore the idea of transformation. 

Transformation is the opportunity for ease and flow to spread through the body as the organ systems and the energy circuits open and balance.  Once in this balanced stated, the systems can operate together in harmony, and they are supported by a constant and abundant energy flow. 

The group explored how emotions can appear in overload when there are blocks in the system and the body is stressed.  This can lead to feelings of anxiety or fear, or judgment, or anger and resentment without real provocation.  Together the group explored how simple movement patterns can harmonize the emotions and release thoughts and ideas that have been through a stressed lens.

The group also explored the power of spiral movement, found throughout all the Tai Chi moves, and how it engages receptors in the body that feed the brain and enhance its function.  Through the spiral moves the group felt the difference in whole body harmony, as opposed to isolated movements found in activities that keep the movements straight.

Figure eight patterns were a favorite by the group as they explored how this energetic pattern can harmonize the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia.  Found throughout the Tai Chi movements, it was easy to see the layers of power within simple actions.

The group was able to realize some new ideas about their own body and their stress level, and how engaging in Tai Chi daily can release that tension, open up for ease with breathing, and to expand joints, lift the spine, and balance the pelvis and shoulders.

Here are a couple of quotes from participants:

Change your thinking, Change your Chi!

I am so excited about this journey and you sharing your wisdom further inspires me.

Have you been thinking about what to do for your wellness plan in 2023?  Have you considered how Tai Chi might be able to enhance your daily energy, increase your strength, expand your flexibility, help you to breathe deeply throughout the day, introduce you to a whole new group of friends with the same wellness goals?

WCTCS is welcoming new students to their classes in January and February.  A great place to start is with the Friday classes that raise your body awareness and help you identify where the stress is being held in the body.  From there you can expand to other daytime and evening classes based on your schedule.  Check out the full schedule in the class listings.  You can get connection with the group by emailing winecountrytaichi@gmail.com or calling Yvonne at 778-755-0987 to speak with an instructor.  We look forward to seeing you expand your wellness toolbox and build a strong plan for health and well-being success in 2023!

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 winecountrytaichi@gmail.com 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. 

Tai Chi for Mental Health and Chronic Stress

Just this week I heard several people refer to the anxiety and stress they were feeling about daily things, and that this was a result of Covid, getting older, or they had always had the challenges. They accepted their fate and were prepared to carry on.

What if you didn’t have to accept anxiety and stress as a paralyzer in your daily activities? What if you could change your body, mind and emotions to release stressful thoughts or behavior patterns, or even body postures related to the expression of stress or anxiety?

Check out this latest blog written by our Board member, Michelle Greenwell, about the science of Tai Chi to support and change the body, mind and emotional reactions to stress and anxiety. The science and thousands of years support the idea that we can change our daily opportunities and we can change how we feel, act and support our posture daily.

If you haven’t joined us for a FREE Tai Chi class yet, now is the time. Take a look at our schedule. We would love to show you how simple and easy Tai Chi can be to completely change your day and the way you feel.

Creating Self-Care options through weekly gatherings