Tai Chi instructor Judi Lee has taught Tai Chi for the past 30 and Hawera participants Kathleen Meyer and Lynne Walker are a couple of the many who have experienced health benefits. Tai Chi started in Hawera in May as a trial. Today, many of the participants are convinced it has changed their lives. Three members of the physically and mentally challenging classes said they had noticed health benefits in the past eight months.
Kathleen Meyer recently visited her doctor for her annual bone density test and was told she would not have to get another for five years.
“I’m putting it down to this [tai chi] as well as eating a bit more yoghurt and seeds and things, but I’m sure it’s this,” she said.
Tai Chi is a unique system of health and self defence that originated in China nearly 1000 years ago. Instructor Judi Lee has been taking classes for the past 30.
Lee said there were many health benefits of Tai Chi including balance, relaxation, breathing, immune system, blood pressure, blood circulation, mental health and rehabilitation for falls and broken bones.
Heather Macdonald and Lynne Walker joined Tai Chi in Hawera and “wouldn’t miss it”.
Macdonald originally joined to get fit, get balanced and relax.
Walker joined to teach herself to slow her breathing.
“It just makes me slow down and breathe. I’m a shallow breather, so the breathing exercises are particularly really helpful,” she said.
All three of the woman said the relaxation was great, but didn’t mean the exercise failed to test their fitness.
Walker said this was one of the few exercises she thought moved “every single thing”.
“By the time we’ve done an hour here, it doesn’t seem like a lot, but by the time I go home after an hour, I just sort of think ‘oh okay I’ve done an hour’s exercise’,” she said.
Lee said the movement of the exercises are “demanding, but gentle and slow”, which attracts a lot of the participants.
A 74-year-old man who had just attended his first class to start getting healthier said he’d thoroughly enjoyed it.
“I’ve got to lose some weight and get a bit fitter, I get down on my hands and knees and have a hell of a job getting back up again,” he said.