The health and wellness benefits of Tai Chi have been widely publicized, especially when it comes to improving posture, balance and preventing falls for seniors. Indeed, a quick Google search on the topic comes up with over ten million results. But many of the articles sound so clinical. That’s why I decided not to rehash statistics and studies. Instead I want to share with you how and why I fell in love with Tai Chi and encourage you to give it a try.
My name is Toby Kasavan, I’m a pianist and composer originally from Los Angeles who has been living in New York City and I was in fairly good shape until I had a severe health crisis four years ago at 62 years of age.
Out of nowhere, I woke up one morning and couldn’t move my left arm and had trouble walking. Diagnosed at the hospital with a spinal infection, I went into surgery and was eventually sent home, and spent 2 months on an intravenous feed. I was almost paraplegic at the beginning, but thankfully, the nerves weren’t dead. The doctors were not sure how much or what kind of a recovery I would have.
Physical therapy helped, but after I was around 60% recovered my insurance company stopped payments for the PT. That’s when I turned to Tai Chi. Tai Chi brought me back to 90+% and was so important in my recovery that I decided I wanted to share this with people and began teaching in senior centers and public classes.
If you can walk you can do tai chi:
One of the unique features of Tai Chi is that physical entry level to practice Tai Chi is so accessible. Tai Chi is for all ages. Many people, especially older adults, don’t really believe that that they can actually become stronger at that point in their lives, especially if there are some health issues, but if someone practices tai chi for 20-30 minutes, 3-4 times a week, for even a few months, it has amazing effects.
Tai Chi just plain feels good.
Unlike many physical activities, tai chi emphasizes moderation and relaxation. As you become familiar with the moves, doing Tai Chi feels almost like you are moving slowly in a swimming pool, floating through the movements.
Tai Chi is an Art:
Tai Chi is a lot more interesting than plain exercise or calisthenics. Tai Chi is a complex art, with a beauty of movement and subtlety of purpose that makes it interesting to study and practice over a long period of time.
Practicing Tai Chi is a great form of stress reduction.
Tai Chi, like all meditation, can be a mental ‘safe space’ or mindfulness practice, where you live in the moment and leave everyday cares aside.
Tai Chi is a great way to meet people and make friends.
It’s Fun to practice in a group in class! Most people that practice Tai Chi are interesting, open, friendly, and supportive.
So, If you’re looking for a new way to reduce stress, improve your health, and enjoy life, please give Tai Chi a try, you’ll be glad you did!