Tai chi classes offer gift of flexibility, balance

Nick Della VolpeGet Up & Go

The local chapter of the Taoist Tai Chi Society (TTCS) is offering beginning classes in a dozen locations in Knoxville and Oak Ridge starting in June.

Founded some 50 years ago by a Taoist monk, Master Moi Linn Shin, the nonprofit group is dedicated to making tai chi available to everyone. Local volunteer instructors teach a 108-move set, a health form that focuses on flexibility and balance. Beginners learn a few moves each session until they learn the entire set, which has been described as a moving meditation.

Tai chi is taught and performed in a group setting. No special skills or athletic prowess is required. Continuing instruction, which delves deeper into these basic moves, is also made available locally. No special equipment is needed. Loose-fitting clothing and flat-soled sneakers suffice.

Why do tai chi? You will find that focusing on the mechanics of the set’s rather gentle, stretching moves helps calm your busy (or wandering) “monkey mind” and gradually increases your body awareness, while improving balance and spinal flexibility. Learning occurs in a congenial group setting.

After an initial learning period, the tai chi practitioner can begin to concentrate more on the internal “feel” of the gentle spine turning, stretching and weight-shifting that adds to your sense of balance, strength and broader range of motion.

To learn more, visit the organization’s website or check out the local Facebook page.

You can contact a local rep by email at tennessee@taoisttaichi.org or by calling 865-482-7761.

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