Saturday marks the 12th annual World Tai Chi and Qigong Day, and Columbus area residents can participate in the celebration 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Lakebottom Park on Cherokee Avenue near the bandshell. The event is free and open to the public.
Local Tai Chi instructor Dr. Philip Chan, along with other Columbus instructors and their classes, will be demonstrating the ancient Chinese art, which has similarities to kung fu and other martial arts.
Tai Chi is predominantly practiced for its health and psychological benefits. Chan said that though there are many benefits, the primary effects of Tai Chi include improved balance, stress reduction and improved sleep.
Eddie Coleman, a 50-year-old student in Chan’s intermediate Tai Chi class, began practicing the moving meditation after he started having lower back problems. He has “absolutely noticed a difference” since he began the exercise 10 weeks ago.
Ellerslie resident Michael Wade, another intermediate student of Chan, has been involved with several different Tai Chi classes for the past five years. His interest began because of the health benefits and he didn’t “like the idea of kung fu or karate,” he said.
“It’s something you can do no matter what age you are,” he added, also mentioning that Tai Chi benefits the memory.
The next session for Chan’s classes begins in September.
World Tai Chi and Qigong Day, which began in 1999, is an opportunity “to stimulate interest within the community in an activity which has really profound health benefits,” said Chan.
“It’s kind of a commitment of solidarity to our commitment to health. And it’s a chance to show off,” he added with a smile.
The public demonstration is also good practice for advanced students, who may wish to teach one day.
Another “one of the intentions of World Tai Chi Day is to have audience participation,” said Chan.
The audience is invited to follow along with the quigong, which is one repetitive movement; an “experience your own chi” demonstration; and the closing demonstration led by Tai Chi students.
Chan advises that participants bring a lawn chair, sunglasses and wear comfortable clothes.