Tai Chi Cape Breton celebrates 10 Years!

For the first 8 years Tai Chi Cape Breton was host to classes up and down Route 19 from Port Hawkesbury, Louisdale, Judique, Mabou, Inverness to Belle Cote.  With 6 classes a week to choose from, it has been a strong force for physical fitness.  When the first Covid restrictions set in, Michelle Greenwell, the instructor for TCCB, moved the classes online with 108 daily Tai Chi classes to keep the immune systems boosted and energy flow continuing.  It was a tough way to share Tai Chi with all our internet challenges, but the daily practice kept the members of the club and those in the public involved.  Since that time, the classes have been once a week online, and for the last 3 months they have been offered through the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement Wellness Wednesdays with classes reaching all over North America and beyond. 

For this fall, the classes will be held in two locations.  In July, TCCB made Creignish Hall home bringing Port Hood, Judique and Port Hawkesbury area residents together.  Their Wednesday evening class is from 6:30 – 8 pm weekly and involves a sunset over the ocean…truly inspiring while moving through the Tai Chi set. The other class is currently in the Inverness County Center for the Arts on Monday morning from 9 – 10:30 am.  This new location also has a view of the water and brings together members from Port Hood, Mabou, Inverness to Belle Cote and Margaree.  The Belle Cote group is also doing a special practice on Friday mornings at the Belle Cote Hall for those interested in doing some more practicing.  Please drop in, masks are worn into the hall, but removed during Tai Chi class once we are in social distancing guidelines.  For more information reach out to Michelle at info@dancedebut.com.

With a 10-year Anniversary for a club that has managed to keep the practice of Tai Chi alive through the Pandemic, they are celebrating in a new way.  They are going on the road and travelling to some favorite lunch locations to create the club atmosphere while doing Tai Chi in the great outdoors!  They are sharing Tai Chi this fall with “Qi Destinations”. 

  1. Sept 10      Brook Village Grocery                              11 am – 12:30pm with lunch by the creek
  2. Oct 1          Inverness County Center for the Arts  9 – 10:30 am, Art tour, and bagged lunch
  3. Oct 15        TBA

The club would love for you to join in.  You can send a message to info@dancedebut.com to let them know you are coming and place an order for lunch where necessary.

Are you interested in learning Tai Chi, the Sabre Set or a little Lok Hup?  Classes are ongoing, and beginners are always welcome. September is a good time to begin some new habits and boost that immune system while building energy.  The cost for the Sept to Dec membership is $60 and can be paid on the first day you attend.  You are always welcome to try a class to see if you enjoy it, and then make your commitment.

Here is a little more about Tai Chi:

Tai Chi is known as the Golden Pill.  That is, the whole-body movement and moving meditation creates a deepening of the breath, the expansion of the Dan Tien or energy center, the increase in circulation and lymphatic flow, and a chance to calm the mind.  Very often it is seen as something that seniors will do in the park and use for balance and relief for aches and pains.  It is this, and it is also a way to understand the body, learn more about the building of strength and the expansion of tissue to create more flexibility.  For those people looking at de-stressing their lives, Tai Chi creates a space for the body, mind, and spirit to feel safe.  When feeling safe, the nervous system has the chance to release fight/flight fear paralysis, and create grounding, centering, focus and mental clarity into focus.  Tai Ch explored in conjunction with other exercise opportunities can enhance performance, improve coordinated strength, create whole body flexibility, as well as expansion of the lungs and heart function, improvement in the organ systems, and balancing of energy flow throughout all the systems.  The 108 Moving Meditation brings awareness to proper movement patterns, coordination of muscle to bone, alignment, and proper placement of the knee with the body.

Following the teaching of Master Moy Lin Shin, who came to Canada in 1970, this style is part of the Yang form which has been modified for Western bodies with tight hips, shoulders, and necks.  The club offers instruction in Tai Chi with the 108 Moving Meditation, the Sabre Set, and Lok Hup.  All the forms are also offered in the seated version which aids those who need to sit to do Tai Chi, or for those who need to understand movement in a more specific way.

The main instructor for Tai Chi Cape Breton is Michelle Greenwell who has been studying and practicing Tai Chi since 1996.  She follows the teaching of Master Moy and offers instruction from the heart and strives to make Tai Chi available to all.  With almost 35 years devoted to using movement to heal the body, Michelle inspires her students to develop a practice with Tai Chi that becomes a daily way of living and being aware of wellness, energy, and vitality.  Working with the instructors from Wine Country Tai Chi Society in West Kelowna, B.C., she filmed with Yvonne and Doug Waines the Tai Chi Wellness and Seated Form Series to provide resources for experience with Tai Chi and practice at home.  You can find the videos on her YouTube Channel, as well as other playlists created throughout this pandemic time.

Tai Chi explores the structure of movement, the power of the weight transfer through the feet, the spiral action of the leg, hips, and shoulders, as well as the introduction of energy building and storing.  The class is self-paced with everyone exploring the hidden movement patterns that have been adopted over the years and learning to release them to form supporting and powerful alignment for optimum energy and function.  New students learn how to relax, to deepen the breath, to calm the mind and to let go of tension. For those people with stress, anxiety, mental fatigue, worry or low energy, this is a great place to begin the healing process and to begin to understand self-care through movement.

Our club is very lucky to have the Seated Form of Tai Chi to support better learning about how the body moves and engages with tension.  Examples are used throughout the Tai Chi class.  For those people with health challenges, or movement limitations, the Seated Form is an excellent way to be engaged in the healing process while catering to any actions or positions that need to be varied.  Michelle is able to adapt most of the Tai Chi form with ease for anyone needing extra assistance. 

There are two other styles of Tai Chi that is practiced by the club, Lok Hup and Sabre. Lok Hup can expand Tai Chi practice by going deeper into the body.  The first part of Lok Hup assists with the flow of water systems in the body, as well as integrating the relationship between the tendons and the muscles.  The tendons are our gateway to emotions and balancing the experience of feelings.  The gentle slow movements with deep breathing and intention can transform the function of movements through the whole muscle, the tendons, ligaments, and fascia.  The second part of Lok Hup is supporting the flow of energy to the organ systems to balance their function.  This deeper practice expands how the whole systems function within themselves, but also within the whole body.  We continue to practice the movements from this set at the end of each class.

The Sabre set involves the manipulation of a wooden sword to help expand movement options in a spiral action.  This is a great addition to Tai Chi as it expands the learning of structure and movement placement in Tai Chi to open the shoulders and the hips in a much more functional way. For those people with shoulder and neck issues from working at a computer for long periods of time, this can make a difference in reduction of pain, expansion of flexibility, and support for strength in the upper body muscles.  A short set, this pattern only takes about 6 minutes to do and is great for small spaces to practice at home. The seated version is very powerful for opening the lower back and hips and creating an expansion of energy through the belt channel around the middle.

Class is ongoing, and beginners are welcome at any time.  We ask that you be patient with yourself to learn the movement patterns and to become familiar with the education your body will provide you.  Join in with the class and begin the journey without judgment or expectation.  Let Tai Chi provide you with the life lessons that are possible, and the community that is a part of Tai Chi will support you with your journey.  It usually takes about 4 months for the patterns to become familiar and comfortable in flow.  The videos that have been recorded for you can assist with memory but are not set up to follow like an aerobic workout.  Tai Chi is a personal experience, and your time with the moves will bring muscle memory and profound changes in every day moving.

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