How does Tai Chi remove the common barriers to Physical Activity?

Tai Chi is an ancient movement art form that dates back several thousand years and has thousands of research studies supporting its value for health and wellness. Many people comment on how they were mesmerized by seeing a group of people in a city center park all moving so gracefully together. And, then commenting, that they never imagined they would be able to move the same way. However, in Inverness County, we have such a group, and it meets in 4 different locations, across 5 days of the week, and the participants make the movements flow and ebb with grace and technical finesse.

If we look at some of the barriers that people consider when considering exercise, how does Tai Chi compare? Let’s take a look…

“I don’t move very well, I need to get more mobile before I try a Tai Chi class.” If we all waited until we were good enough to try something new, we would never try anything at all. Tai Chi helps movement patterns to link and grow with strength and flexibility, it is the tool that will help people to be ready to try other exercise forms because the movement patterns will be healthy ones. If someone is looking at starting exercise, Tai Chi is the perfect launching off platform.

“I can’t stand for too long, so I don’t think I can join.” Tai Chi is about health recovery. It is the road to vitality and wellness. There is a seated form and a standing form, and in Inverness County we have the privilege of an instructor and students who can help anyone with doing seated alternatives, or with doing the complete seated form of the 108 Tai Chi set, the Sabre Set, and the Loh Kup Set. Seated or standing, the benefits of all the exercises are evident in just a few classes.

“I’m too busy to join a regular class, I could try it when I have time.” The advantages of taking a Tai Chi class is that is an exercise form that you can fit into your day, anytime, anywhere. You don’t need much space to do the foundation exercises, you don’t need any special equipment – even our sabres are lent out from the club, you only need a few minutes at a time to do an exercises – it might even be while you are waiting for the kettle to boil, or during commercials with a favorite television program. Once the movements are known, Tai Chi begins to flow through the body to assist with bending down to pick up boxes, assisting in strength and agility going up and down the stairs, supporting the back when vacuuming or washing the floors or shoveling snow, and helping to lift, twist and bend. Now movement is part of the every day and time is not an issue.

“I can’t afford to take a class.” Master Moy Lin Shin wanted to make sure his style of Tai Chi was accessible to all. The Tai Chi Cape Breton group is organized as a club, membership is a donation of $45 every 4 months, and students can take one class a week or more with over 5 sessions a week, and several different classes offered during a session. That works out to just over $10 a month. For anyone unable to pay this amount, there are scholarships available as well. The instructor is a volunteer, and everyone is eager to see that the value of Tai Chi is accessible to all.

“I have terrible balance, exercise is very difficult for me.” As discussed above with the seated and standing forms, this is easily addressed. But, in addition, Tai Chi develops the movement patterns that support balance, centering, stability and the use of gravity. Instead of thinking one is losing a sense of balance, there is a shift in awareness and technique that supports the rootedness that brings confidence and agility to movement. Tai Chi is the tool for balance issues.

“I need something that gets the heart rate up, Tai Chi is too slow.” One of the wonderful qualities of Tai Chi is the ability to increase the flow of blood through the body, the openness of the airways to increase oxygen absorption, the free flow of lymph fluid through the body and especially through the center of the body. The heart muscle actually has a rest because of the movements in Tai Chi and how they assist the circulatory system. A cardiovascular workout is achieved in a relaxed and open state, rather than in a constricted and effort driven exercise like running or jogging. The other valuable gain from Tai Chi is a building and storage of energy. Participants leave class with more energy than they arrived with, and because of its relaxed quality, the effort is spread across the movements in a gentle manner that promotes energy storage, rather than energy expenditure. This thought process completely changes the way people think about health and wellness.

How can you become involved in Tai Chi in Inverness County? Join Tai Chi Cape Breton!

The first class is free to try and experience the movement.

Beginners are welcome anytime, and everyone works at their own pace and ability.

Mondays: Belle Cote Community Hall

10 – 12 pm (Tai Chi: seated and standing, Sabre and Loh Kup)

Tuesdays: Judique Community Hall

7 – 8:30 pm (Tai Chi: seated and standing, Sabre)

Thursdays: St Joseph’s Renewal Center, Mabou

7 – 8:30 pm (Tai Chi: seated and standing, Sabre)

Fridays: Belle Cote Community Hall

10 – 11 am (Practice Day – group driven)

Saturdays: Port Hawkesbury Civic Center Dance Studio

12 – 2:30 pm (Practice 12 – 12:30, Tai Chi 12:30 – 1:30, Sabre 1:30 – 2:00. Loh Kup 2:00 – 2:30).

Bi yearly workshops offered in Spring and Fall for further skill development.

You can find the full schedule on the calendar at: &



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