For more information, or to register, please call us at 617-732-9700.
Tai chi classes at the Osher Clinical Center involve a variety of body, breathing and mindfulness exercises designed to promote the generation and circulation of qi (energy flow that sustains living beings) throughout the body. Practicing physical movement and aiming for mental focus, emotional calm and spiritual tranquility can result in extended lifespan, vigorous health and the ability to better deal with life’s situations and circumstances. Tai chi is not just a class or hobby, but a way of life.
The Body’s Role in Tai Chi
The art of tai chi at the Osher Clinical Center draws from many Chinese qigong (qi practices) and warm-up exercises that specifically focus on health and the development of internal energy:
Tai Chi Swinging
Tai Chi Drumming
Swinging to Connect the Lungs and Kidneys
Washing Yourself with Qi from the Heavens
Eight Pieces of Brocade
Chen Tai Chi Silk Reeling
… and many more
In addition, six movements from the Cheng Man-Ching 37-Movement Short Form are isolated and explored in detail:
Opening Posture (Raising the Power)
Grasp the Sparrow’s Tail
Brush Knee and Push
Wave Hands Like Clouds
Separate Right Foot/Left Foot
All of these foundational movements set the stage for learning the entire Cheng Man-Ching 37-Movement Short Form, one of the most popular tai chi forms in the world.
The Importance of Breathing in Tai Chi
At the Osher Clinical Center, infusing the tai chi practitioner with a different quality of breathing is extremely important not only in the blueprint of tai chi, but also for anyone wishing to gain better health. By calling attention to our typical breathing habit – which is usually shallow and fairly rapid – tai chi aims to replace this unconscious pattern with a new set of instructions to breathe deeply and slowly.
The benefits of relearning how to breathe this way may include richer oxygenation of the blood, increased qi circulation, and lower heart rate and blood pressure.
Tai Chi Unlocks the Mind
Tai chi aims to unlock the latent power of the mind – its intent, its focus. Classical tai chi literature says that qi not only follows the blood, but also follows the mind’s intention. But along the way to achieving laser-like concentration and mental tranquility, tai chi students at the Osher Clinical Center also learn to rid themselves of distractions, one of the biggest hurdles for any beginning – or advanced! – tai chi student.
Full devotion to the present time and place is a major precept of tai chi. In class, students are led down this path, beyond their distractions, with a variety of imagery and meditation exercises. Very often, the end result is a more peaceful mental and emotional state that can dramatically change one’s well-being and outlook on life.
Putting It All Together
Fusing body, breath and mind, the practice of tai chi becomes greater than the sum of its parts. It is an embodiment of the Eastern medicine principle of treating the source, the whole body, in a preventative fashion.
However, tai chi has proven to be a powerful remedy for existing illnesses and injuries as well. At the Osher Research Center – the research arm of the Osher Clinical Center – Drs. Peter Wayne and Gloria Yeh lead cutting-edge medical studies as part of the Tai Chi Mind-Body Research Programs. Their work has demonstrated that tai chi shows promise for a number of diseases and conditions, but of particular note is evidence that tai chi may have significant impact in three specific areas:
Low bone density
The journey continues at both ends of the spectrum: traditional tai chi instruction meets modern scientific methods in an effort to unlock the secrets of tai chi's healing abilities. Call us today at 617-732-9700 to sign up for a class.
About Our Tai Chi Instructor
Stanwood Chang teaches Cheng Man-Ching tai chi at the Tree of Life Tai Chi Center in Somerville and is a graduate of the Tree of Life Teacher Training program. He also teaches tai chi classes at Defense-Wise Martial Arts in South Grafton.
Stanwood also studies Sun style tai chi with Master Thomas Duterme and Chen style tai chi with Master Wang Haijun. His mission is to inspire others to integrate tai chi into their lives as a way to improve their health, happiness and overall well-being.