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Tai Chi is often described as “meditation in motion,” but many refer to it as “medication in motion.” There is evidence that this mind-body practice, which originated in China as a martial art, has value in treating many health ailments. In this low-impact, slow-motion exercise, you go without pausing through a series of motions. As you move, you breathe deeply and naturally, focusing your attention on your body. Tai Chi differs from other types of exercise in several aspects. The movements are usually circular and never forced, the muscles are relaxed rather than tensed and the joints are not fully extended or bent. Tai Chi can be easily adapted for anyone, from the fittest of people to those confined to wheelchairs.

 

Glenda Gibson has been the Tai Chi instructor at Front Street Crossing in Dowagiac since it’s opening in 2012. Since then, the class has flourished. Participants often recognize the benefits of Tai Chi within just a few classes by gaining greater mobility, balance, and all over better well-being.

 

Before practicing Tai Chi, Glenda had a knee replacement and was seeing a chiropractor daily to have her hip put back in place and to help alleviate cramping. Living with all this discomfort, Glenda sought out an alternative way to treat her condition. In 2005, she attended a three day Tai Chi workshop in Wisconsin and has never gone back to the chiropractor.

 

Glenda’s passion for Tai Chi is apparent to her class and everyone that meets her. She has created a comfortable and supportive learning environment beyond fitness. Participants and the instructor most often have lunch together in the café after class.

 

Recently, the whole morning class surprised Glenda by wearing T-shirts they had specially made and presented Glenda with a matching one of her own. The T-shirt has the Yin and Yang symbol on it referring to how Glenda describes Tai Chi and how your body works, “strength and weakness, light and dark, the sun and the shade, opposites working together.” Underneath the symbol it read, “Yes Glenda!,” a common phrase they’d repeat in class.

 

Front Street Crossing offers two different times for Tai Chi classes throughout the week. Morning classes are Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 11 – 11:45 a.m. and cost $25 per month. Classes are also offered in the evenings on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6 – 6:45 p.m. as a more convenient option for those that work. Cost for the evening class is $20 per month.

 

 

Author: 
Kelli Casey, Front Street Crossing Manager & Director of Community Development