You may have heard some Club Julian friends talking about Tai Chi or have seen it on television or social media, but have you ever taken the time to learn what it really is and how it can impact your life?
Knowing the history of something often leads to a greater sense of value and appreciation. The Chinese discipline Tai Chi has a rich background that has evolved from a form of self-defense to a total mind and body engaging form of exercise. By performing relaxing, natural movements and focusing on your breathing patterns, Tai Chi offers a low-impact workout for anyone. Club Julian is proud to offer classes with Sifu David Slaughter – an expert in the practice and a welcoming instructor with more than 30 years of experience.
“Tai Chi means everything to me…more than everything. I learn something new about myself every day, with every move I make,” says Sifu Slaughter. Sifu is a term meaning master, or teacher in martial arts.
As Sifu Slaughter points out, Tai Chi has numerous physical and mental benefits for those of all ages and fitness levels. He focuses his teachings around the Yang style of Tai Chi which involves slow, elongated movements with soft, lengthened stances. Doing these motions helps increase balance, flexibility, endurance, and general strength. In addition to the physical aspect, Tai Chi is known to aid in mental health by providing relaxation and stress management, improve sleep quality and even decrease anxiety and depression. “Tai Chi truly helps people in all aspects of life by teaching a simple sequence– slow down, take a breath, and then react,” says Sifu Slaughter. “Think meditation with movement.”
In the trying times of COVID-19, Tai Chi can be an excellent outlet to combat stress and lack of physical activity. “Get your mind off of the pandemic, use your practice time to de-stress and stop worrying about what happens next. Focus on yourself and gain a new perspective,” says Sifu Slaughter.
Masks and social distancing are currently required during Tai Chi and all Club Julian group fitness classes. But as Sifu Slaughter points out, breathing patterns are such a significant aspect of Tai Chi that wearing masks may actually be beneficial while performing the motions. “It’s important to maintain a long, slow inhale followed by a long, slow exhale – and you’re likely going to focus on this more with a mask on,” he explains.
Interested in trying something new for 2021? Check out Tai Chi for FREE this Thursday (January 7th) with a no-obligation demo class beginning at 12:30pm in the group fitness room. There are no expectations, no prerequisites, and no pressure for this class. Tai Chi brings people together in a social community, and it’s even easy to perform on your own once you are familiar with some basic movements. “It’s a personal practice for everyone – something to look forward to, add to your routine and be productive,” says Sifu Slaughter.
Club Julian’s Winter Tai Chi 8-Week Series begins January 14th and will run consecutive weeks (weather permitting) through March 4th. Each Thursday, Sifu Slaughter will teach two separate sessions: ADVANCED at 12:30pm and BEGINNERS at 1:30pm. The costs for the entire 8-week series is just $50 for members and $60 for non-members.
Hope to see you at our next Tai Chi class!