taichi_handsTai Chi is the popular abbreviation for T’ai Chi Chuan (pronounced “tie chee chuwan”).
It is an ancient Chinese exercise consisting of slow, relaxed movements for total self-development.

For the body, it is an exercise;
For the mind, a study in concentration, willpower and visualization;
For the soul, it is a system of spiritual meditation.

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Tai Chi is also a preventative and curative branch of Chinese medicine and is the “Supreme Ultimate” system of martial arts known as soft form martial arts.

Tai Chi is also a component of Qigong called martial Qigong.

Anyone can do Tai Chi, regardless of age or physical ability. Each movement can be modified to meet a student’s specific level of ability and the depth to which each person wishes to study Tai Chi is a very personal goal.

Part of Mary’s passion involves the 5 Element Theory of Chinese medicine as well as energy flow using Tai Chi movement and principles. She specializes in Yang Style Tai Chi with detailed classes in the Yang Style Long Form, 24 Form, Phoenix Form, Large Frame Tai Chi and Tai Chi Sword Forms.

Basic Principles of Tai Chi

  • Relaxation: The body should always be relaxed, especially the chest, shoulders and elbows. Relaxing is different than collapsing the body. The eyes should be relaxed while focused and alert.
  • Emptiness/Fullness: Noticing the transition when your weight shifts from empty to full is an important concept in Tai Chi.
  • Evenness/Slowness:  The form flows continuously. Slowness develops exactness, better balance, and patience.
  • Balance:  The spine should be held straight and vertically for optimum strength and balance. The shifting of weight should flow smoothly.
  • Rooting/Sinking:  As one learns to relax and sink, one becomes rooted. Sinking means dropping the center of gravity and the center of energy to the lowest possible level. In order to sink one must relax the waist and joints, particularly the knees and ankles. Rooting is the ability to anchor oneself into the ground, like the roots of a tree.
  • Coordination/Centering:  In Tai Chi the body moves as a complete unit. The movement of the torso leads all other movement. The arms move as a result of the “waist turn” while the head follows the body, turning only when the center of the body turns. The mind is coordinated with the body, which is coordinated in turn with the breath.
  • Breathing/Chi:  Tai Chi breathing basically consists of inhaling when the arms are raised, contracted or pulled backward and exhaling when they are lowered or pushed forward. Correct inhaling in Tai Chi means deep abdominal breathing. Correct exhaling is not merely releasing this air but rather releasing only a portion of it and pressing the rest of this Chi down into the Dan Tien. The stomach will naturally expand on the inhale and contract on the exhale.
  • Concentration:  Developing concentration is an important part of Tai Chi. Learning the sequence of movement and addressing the principles of Tai Chi require focused attention.

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Interested in Group Classes or Private Lessons?

Group classes have the benefit of being less costly and provide the wonderful dynamics of different personalities.

“Just take a few Tai Chi classes and you will feel the connection of people who are working at wellness.”

With private lessons, specific focus can be given to both individual health concerns and learning styles.  Another benefit is a deeper focus of attention than that which can be achieved in a group. Private classes are more costly, though money well invested in attention to individual needs. Another plus: Qigong sets that help specific health issues can be taught in private lessons.

As for coordinating class time, some students do a few private lessons before starting group classes, giving them the opportunity to learn the basics so they feel more comfortable in a group. Others do group lessons primarily, but they occasionally do private lessons for deeper understanding and specific focus to learn a form. Some do only group lessons and choose from the variety of classes on the schedule while others only do private sessions. Kids’ Tai Chi is a specialty for children ranging from 8 to 16 years of age.

Class Schedule & Fees

about Drop In Fee – $10 | 8 Class Pass – $64

Tuesdays 5:00pm – 6:00pm Tai Chi & Qigong
Wednesdays 5:00pm – 6:00pm Tai Chi & Qigong
Thursdays 10:30am – 11:30am Tai Chi & Qigong

Private Tai Chi/Qigong Session: 60 minutes – $65
Call 573.228.4415 or email Mary to schedule a private class.

Tai Chi Forms

columbia_tai_chi_logoClick on the form name below for a .pdf printable version of the list of moves in that form or a .wma audio file to listen to the form being called out.
The documentation and audio are to be used as a study aid and are not intended to serve as a substitute for an instructor.