T'ai Chi with Michael Guida
Movement is an integral part of holistic well-being and a focal point of study at The Wellspring School. In the Amma Therapy Program, students take movement classes in every segment as part of their course of study. These classes are also open to public attendees and we really enjoy hosting classes that bring our community together.
We are very fortunate to have such great instructors for Qigong and T’ai Chi classes. Michael Guida, senior instructor in the Amma Therapy Program, is also our T’ai Chi instructor. We recently asked him to talk a bit about the benefits of T’ai Chi for everyone. Below what he had to say.
All the things I hear people saying about t’ai chi are true (eg. it is relaxing, it helps with cardiovascular health, it is an internal martial art, it helps you root your energy to the earth, it helps calm the mind, it is good for balance, etc). However, how to attain these benefits often depends on your understanding or relationship with form and how you are applying the principals of t’ai chi.
To say that “t’ai chi is a complex internal martial art, which is designed for the conservation and generation of Qi” is a true statement, but may mean little to someone not interested in Qi. Good news! T’ai chi has benefits for everyone, no matter what your entry point is to the form or how much movement or qi experience you may have.
In my classes, the very beginning of learning the form focuses on posture and proper movement where moves in the form tend to be more “choreographed.” Breath work is layered into the practice as well as a deeper understanding of the movements. As students evolve, they begin to develop a greater awareness of the tension in their bodies (and mind) and learn to release those tensions through the practice of the form. Ultimately students gain an awareness of their own Qi (and eventually the Qi in others).
In The Wellspring School’s Amma Therapy program, t’ai chi is an essential part of the core curriculum. Our goal is to provide students with the tools to be a successful practitioner on all levels. T’ai Chi helps with this development and is also a beneficial practice regardless of whether you are a student, practitioner or simply seeking balance in daily life. A couple of direct benefits of t’ai chi:
- Physical: For students, since bodywork is a physical activity, we want them to be able to conserve their strength to use their bodies in a way that is most effective and prevents them from tiring or being injury-prone. To release tension and fix improper posture that can negatively impact them as a practitioner, we must cultivate awareness of where these issues exist and how to address them. This is a core benefit of learning t’ai chi that can be applied to any physical activity and yield the same result be it yoga, tennis, stocking shelves, carrying a child, working at a computer, etc.
- Emotional: As a bodywork practitioner one must stay emotionally centered when connecting with clients. It is essential that practitioners do not bring their own “stuff” into the treatment room and focus solely on the client with empathy and compassion. T’ai chi entails a level of self reflection that encourages this level of interaction with clients as well as your boss, or partner, or kids, or neighbors.
Although t’ai chi has many purposes and holds very deep value, each individual can come to t’ai chi and take from it what they want. If you want to be more coordinated and that’s all, great. If you want a tool in your toolbox to manage stress, yes. If you want to be able to have deeper more meaningful interactions with people, wonderful. If you want to be able to cultivate and re-direct your qi for overall health, t’ai chi can help you with that too.
Contributed by: Michael Guida LMT (#19016), BPS, Certified Amma Therapist, Diplomate Asian Bodywork Therapy (NCCAOM), Certified T’ai Chi Instructor, Certified Triathlon Coach
Michael teaches t’ai chi classes at The Wellspring School on:
Mondays from 5:30pm – 6:30pm (ongoing)
Wednesdays from 9:00am – 10:00am (New class starting October 29th 2015!)
Saturdays from 8:00am – 9:00am (from November 14th 2015 – March 12th 2016)
All classes are open to all levels. Come to any class any week to see if t’ai chi is a fit for you.
You can reserve your space by clicking HERE.