Classes to help you with relaxing
T’ai Chi, Qigong disciplines offered at West Intergenerational Center

       Older folks sometimes tell youngsters to “sit still,” but can they do it themselves?
       Theresa Browne is offering two classes at the West Intergenerational Center that are aimed at helping people get better at relaxing. One focuses on physical movement (T'ai Chi) and the other on simple breathing excercises (Qigong - pronounced “chi gung”).
       Openings exist in both classes. T'ai Chi is Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., and Qigong Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. There is no start-end cycle for classes; people can join at any time.
       According to Browne, the two classes have much in common; for instance, proper breathing is essential to effectiveness at T'ai Chi.
       Age and physical strength are not barriers for either. Browne has one woman T'ai Chi student who is 90, and a woman in a wheelchair is taking the qigong class.
       Both disciplines can be a great help in dealing with pain. Browne, who grew up on the Westside and went to Sacred Heart School, knows this from personal experience. She was diagnosed some years ago with chronic fatigue - a condition which left her in constant pain.
       “It was life-changing,” she said. “I recognized I had to take care of my body. Pain was something I would have to live with and work through.”
       She discovered T'ai Chi while trying different pain therapies. Unlike aerobics, which increased the pain, T'ai Chi excercises left her feeling better, she said.
       An excerpt from Browne's class description explains: “During the past eight years, she has found this exercise has had a profoundly positive effect on her flexibility, balance, level of pain and outlook on life. She continues to study different styles of T'ai Chi and has taught several groups the simplified 'Taijiquan' style (24 forms or moves).”
       Both of Browne's classes received a vote of confidence from E.D. Rucker, director of the West Center. Her classes “blew me away,” he said. “This is a really good thing for the community.”
       For class fees and other information, call West at 385-7920.

Westside Pioneer article