During “normal times,” Taoist Tai Chi classes were available in 26 countries across the world, with more than 6,000 practitioners in the United States alone. Many practitioners enjoyed two or three classes a week, where they not only experienced the health benefits of tai chi, but also the social aspects of the community that is created among tai chi practitioners.
As COVID-19 spread across the world, Taoist Tai Chi practitioners did what they needed to do to keep up their practice. They practiced this art on their own. In their homes…at the park…at the beach…on a mountain…wherever they felt the most peaceful.
Examples of our practitioners continuing the tai chi movements on their own are many.
For example, Jonathan, a 36-year-old mechanic in Dunedin, Florida, was taking tai chi classes three times a week before the virus hit. “Tai Chi strengthens my back and allows it to recover from the beating it takes at work every day. Without tai chi, I’m afraid I’ll go back to constant pain and sleepless nights.”
Thankfully, Jonathan is able to perform the 108 Taoist Tai Chi movements in his own garage, which he has been doing three or four times a week consistently since the pandemic began. “Tai chi has helped keep me physically healthy during a very stressful time,” Jonathan said.
But many people, including Ann, a tai chi practitioner from Canada, are struggling emotionally during COVID-19, which is why continuing her tai chi practice is so important to her. “For me, the Taoist Tai Chi® practice has most strongly impacted my emotional and mental health. I have less anxiety and depression and an improved ability to relate to others,” Ann said.
In addition to individual personal tai chi practice, the Taoist Tai Chi Society has organized weekly “Chanting Around the World” sessions that allow practitioners from all over the globe a chance to spend a few moments together and chant for the world.
Every Saturday, thousands of participants worldwide come together online to chant with the intention to care for the world and to relieve suffering. At the same time, participants find that chanting brings joy and strength to themselves.
Chanting is just one of the spiritual aspects of the Taoist Tai Chi arts, which has been described as “Meditation in Motion.” Many practitioners use their practice to manage both physical and mental ailments, including Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, asthma, anxiety, depression, and the stresses of daily life.
Vanessa, a Taoist Tai Chi practitioner in Italy, describes her personal practice as a journey of everyday discovery. “I have always known that tai chi works miracles on my health, but during this lockdown I have rediscovered its benefits in a more in-depth way,” Vanessa said. “I feel my physical and mental health has enormously benefitted from it.”
See many of the Taoist Tai Chi practitioners in action at www.youtube.com/watch?v=jX5QRUF3v_4.
It sounds as if Taoist Tai Chi is helping those who already know the 108 move set and have space to practice at home. Doesn’t a strictly individual practice overlook the energy benefit of being with other people, especially in these times of anxiety and depression caused from isolation? Does this mean that if you want to learn tai chi in order to reap these wonderful benefits you have to wait until it is deemed safe to teach indoors in a group setting. Didn’t the founder begin teaching tai chi outside in parks thus opening up the practice of this art to any and all? This could so easily be accomplished now with masks and social distancing. Isn’t there a way to work on individual moves on-line in the manner in which chanting is done? it seems there are many options that are being overlooked that would go a long way in helping new people become acquainted with tai chi and sustain the current members who have invested so much time and energy in their tai chi practice.
Hello Jonathan, Sean and all of you fellow practitioners!
We have also played our tai chi at home and are pleased with the results.
Hope to get to see you soon.