Millions of people of all ages around the world practice t’ai chi, the ancient Chinese exercise on a daily basis for health and wellness. Studies have shown that t’ai chi practice can improve the immune system, and even enhance efficacy of flu shots.

Great River T’ai Chi will offer a free class “T’ai Chi Practice for Spring Health” to share some simple approaches to better health. The class will be held Sunday, March 14, from 6-7 p.m. at 1940 Hennepin Avenue South, Minneapolis. Continuing classes begin Sunday, March 21, 6-7 p.m.

T’ai Chi has been shown to lower blood pressure, improve balance, and decrease stress-and just as many people use it to enhance their practice of other sports such as golf. Its slow, flowing movements increase coordination, mind-body focus, precision of movement, and calm. T’ai chi is also the perfect exercise-it can satisfy those looking for a physically challenging workout that builds leg strength, coordination, and focus, as well as those looking for a gentler, low-impact, safe, and relaxing routine.

Great River T’ai Chi Ch’uan, which has just celebrated its 30th anniversary, is one of the oldest t’ai chi schools in the Midwest. Founded in 1979, instructors Barbara Davis and Cheryl Powers have taught at the University of Minnesota, Macalester College, Concordia College, Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Mankato State University, and at many other schools and corporations. Great River instructors have presented at many national and international t’ai chi events including the International Taijiquan Forum in Nashville last July, and World Tai Chi Day events every April.

T’ai chi has its origins as a Chinese martial art that began at least two hundred years ago. Its full name “t’ai chi ch’uan” (pronounced tie-gee-chwan, also written as “taijiquan”) means “t’ai chi boxing.” It grew rapidly from being a private, family-held fighting tradition to a widely practiced health exercise. Nowadays, its picturesque moves can be seen in early morning practitioners who gather in China’s parks in the early morning to cultivate the “qi” (ch’i), the life energy.

For more information, contact Great River T’ai Chi Ch’uan at 612.822.5760 or visit www.taijiquanjournal.com/greatrivertaichi/

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