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The Sassy Sandpiper: Tai Chi at the Lealman Exchange

Tai Chi | Exercise | TB Reporter

Tai Chi classes are offered at the Lealman Exchange on Wednesday and Friday mornings.

By M.R. WILSON, Columnist, Tampa Bay Reporter

LEALMAN – The holidays are over and your New Year’s Resolutions have evaporated faster than acetone on asphalt. You’re flipping from grumpy to jumpy, sleep-deprived, and carrying extra poundage. You can’t remember your pet’s name, lurch about unsteadily in your own living room, and find it increasingly difficult to open vacuum-sealed products.

Maybe it’s not all that bad, but any improvement in any or all of the above would come as a welcome relief.

There’s hope.

Tai Chi classes are now offered at the Lealman Exchange, 5175 45th St. N, Lealman,  Rooted in ancient Chinese martial arts tradition, Tai Chi is often practiced today as a form of exercise and meditation featuring slow, gentle movement and deep breathing. Instructor Karen Shubin guides the beginner’s class through a series of graceful “forms” or postures, stretches and rests.

I love how the movements are named for natural elements like “wings of a bird,” “give a big oak tree a hug,” “cycle of the moon,” and the imagery of holding a glowing ball of energy between my hands. When I’m quiet and focused, I can feel the warmth. A kind of peace and sense of control come over me, even if my balance falters a bit learning a new form. I’m a long way from “the Crane,” – oops, that’s karate—but I still want to be able to move with that kind of confidence and grace. Someday. Advanced Tai Chi students get to do crane stuff.

This gentle discipline offers benefits for both body and mind: reduces stress/anxiety; improves mood; better sleep; promotes weight loss; improves cognition in older adults; improves balance/motor function; can decrease symptoms of fibromyalgia in some people; may improve chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) symptoms; improves balance and strength in those with Parkinson’s disease. Tai Chi is safe for people with coronary heart disease and reduces pain from arthritis.

That’s a whole lot of good. Check your insurance plan for Silver Sneakers coverage or consider joining the YMCA to enroll in the class, which is offered in the gym from 10:45 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Wednesdays, and from 10:15 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Fridays. All you need are comfy clothes and shoes and a little bottle of water.

Tai Chi | Exercise | TB Reporter



M.R. Wilson | Sassy Sandpiper | Tai Chi | Lealman Exchange | Tampabay News | News Tampa

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