Day cel­e­brates Tai Chi, Qigong

Tai Chi & Qigong pro­motes in­ter­na­tional health, bal­ance

The Southern Berks News - - FRONT PAGE - For more healthy liv­ing sto­ries, visit the Fit for Life web­site at pottsmer­c­fit4life.com. By Michilea Patterson mpat­ter­son@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @MichileaP on Twit­ter

Mar­tial arts prac­ti­tion­ers around the globe are invit­ing peo­ple to ex­plore an in­ter­na­tional health ac­tiv­ity of World Tai Chi & Qigong.

The world cel­e­bra­tion of tra­di­tional Chi­nese prac­tices is al­ways on the last Satur­day of April. Over the week­end, ci­ties through­out the United States and the rest of the world held com­mu­nity Tai Chi and Qigong demon­stra­tions.

“It’s an event to re­ally high­light Tai Chi and in­tro­duce it to the pub­lic that wants to know more about it or at least wants to see it in ac­tion,” said Charles Bry­nan of Pear Gar­den Tai Chi & Reflexology.

Bry­nan teaches Tai Chi through­out the re­gion in­clud­ing in parts of Mont­gomery and Ch­ester coun­ties. He held a spe­cial event last Satur­day at Green Lane Park.

“So, the idea is to start it at 10 wher­ever you are and move around the en­tire world, the globe. It ac­tu­ally starts in New Zealand first at 10 a.m.,” he said. “Then goes from country to country, time zone to time zone.”

About 80 coun­tries par­tic­i­pated in the global event in­clud­ing even third world coun­ties, Bry­nan said. Some of the coun­tries that have par­tic­i­pated in past years in­clude Aus­tralia, Egypt, Iran, Is­rael, Hong Kong, Greece and the U.S., ac­cord­ing to the World Tai Chi & Qigong Day web­site world­taichi­day.org.

“It kind of su­per­sedes pol­i­tics,” Bry­nan said adding that any­body can learn about the health ben­e­fits of Tai Chi and qigong, no mat­ter where they live.

He said Tai Chi has roots in mar­tial arts and Qigong has roots as specif­i­cally a health ac­tiv­ity. Tai Chi in­cor­po­rates the breath and slow body move­ments of qigong, Bry­nan said.

“Qigong is prob­a­bly the most an­cient of a health ex­er­cise, more so than mar­tial arts,” he said.

Tai Chi is a slow-mov­ing and low-im­pact ex­er­cise that in­volves the body and the mind, ac­cord­ing to an on­line 2015 Har­vard Med­i­cal School pub­li­ca­tion found at bit.ly/1QTc9B2. The pub­li­ca­tion ex­plained sev­eral health ben­e­fits of the Chi­nese prac­tice. Phys­i­cally, Tai Chi can help with flex­i­bil­ity, stamina and mus­cle strength. Men­tally, the an­cient prac­tice helps with stress re­lief and body aware­ness. There has also been re­search on how Tai Chi can help peo­ple with painful con­di­tions such as arthri­tis or ten­sion headaches.

Dr. Mar­garet Chan, di­rec­tor-gen­eral of the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion, made a state­ment about the ben- efits of Tai Chi dur­ing her re­marks at a 2012 round­table dis­cus­sion in Switzer­land for World Health Day.

“Reg­u­lar mod­er­ate phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity has a re­ju­ve­nat­ing ef­fect, work­ing to turn back the clock. An­cient Chi­nese Tai Chi ex­er­cises can re­store bal­ance in older peo­ple and help pre­vent falls,” stated Chan in her re­marks which were pub­lished on the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s web­site at bit. ly/2qa5Sc9.

Tai Chi in­struc­tor Betsy Chap­man said in re­cent years, the prac­tice has been used as a health art es­pe­cially in the U.S.

“A lot of stud­ies show that it’s good for se­nior ci­ti­zens … It can help sta­bi­lize blood pres­sure,” she said adding that it can help peo­ple im­prove their qual­ity of life.

Chap­man teaches Tai Chi at Fi­nal Re­sults Fit­ness in Gil­bertsville and at Ursi­nus Col­lege in Col­legeville. She has been teach­ing the an­cient art since 1995 and prac­tic­ing it since 1980. Chap­man said she fell in love with the art form and that it teaches peo­ple “ef­fi­cient move­ment.” She said in peo­ple’s daily lives they can be­come “lazy” with their pos­ture which Tai Chi can help.

Chap­man at­tended a World Tai Chi Day event in Wy­omiss­ing on Satur­day. She said the pur­pose of the global event is to bring at­ten­tion to Tai Chi and how ben­e­fi­cial it is for health.

“As our pop­u­la­tion ages, it’s more and more im­por­tant to help peo­ple re­main healthy, re­main mo­bile and ac­tive,” Chap­man said.

Not only is the day a move­ment of health but also of world peace, she said. Chap­man said Tai Chi is re­ally about bal­ance which means more than the phys­i­cal as­pect of that word.

“It’s also about a bal­anced phi­los­o­phy, a bal- an­ced mind,” she said.

Chap­man said an im­por­tant idea or prin­ci­ple of Tai Chi is “neu­tral­iza­tion” which in­cludes know­ing how to dis­agree grace­fully and how to come to a con­sen­sus. She said noth­ing is “black and white” and it’s im­por­tant for peo­ple across the globe to see both sides of an is­sue.

The motto for World Tai Chi & Qigong Day is “one world, one breath.”

“We all breathe the same air. We all breathe to­gether,” Chap­man said.

The con­cept of yin-yang bal­ance is an im­por­tant one in Chi­nese cul­ture. Bry­nan said yin and yang are opposites but are also es­sen­tial to one an­other.

“If you have strong, you need to be con­tem­pla­tive, you need to be re­laxed. If you have fast, you need slow,” he said.

For more in­for­ma­tion about World Tai Chi & Qigong Day, visit the web-

site at www.world­taichi­day.org.

DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE PHOTO

Charles Bry­nan, of Pear Gar­den Tai Chi & Reflexology, on the far right leads a tai chi class at the Pottstown YMCA.

MICHILEA PATTERSON — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Tai Chi in­struc­tor Stewart Cleaver, front, par­tic­i­pates in a morn­ing demon­stra­tion at the Boy­er­town Com­mu­nity Park.

DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE PHOTO

Charles Bry­nan, of Pear Gar­den Tai Chi & Reflexology, leads a morn­ing Tai Chi class at the Pottstown YMCA.

MICHILEA PATTERSON — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Betsy Chap­man, in front, leads a Tai Chi demon­stra­tion dur­ing EarthFest at Boy­er­town Com­mu­nity Park.

MICHILEA PATTERSON — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Betsy Chap­man, front, demon­strates fluid hand move­ments dur­ing a class at the Boy­er­town Com­mu­nity Park.

MICHILEA PATTERSON — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Tai Chi in­struc­tors Stewart Cleaver and Betsy Chap­man use fans dur­ing a demon­stra­tion at Boy­er­town Com­mu­nity Park.

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