Tai Chi – Qigong Classes Offer New Exercise Opportunities!

A few years ago, our health ministry team for the downtown Catholic parish region was asked by staff members to consider offering an exercise program. After evaluating several options, we decided to offer tai chi. We then consulted with an excellent instructor who was well trained in offering both tai chi and qigong and decided to offer both techniques. We also learned we could serve a larger range of age groups as the techniques were low impact, required no equipment and for those with limited abilities, could even be done from a chair!

Since the fall of 2014 we have been hosting three to four classes per year. We have made many changes along the way, but now have settled on holding one class per week for 90 minutes with each series being six weeks in length. The response has been amazing! Attendees are from the community, other faith communities and our three parishes and have ranged from pre-teens to octogenarians. We often see friends attend together as well as individuals from a family unit (spouses, parents and children, etc.). We have even had attendees come due to recent surgeries as it was recommended by their therapist! It is very heart-warming to see the social connections that have been built between the attendees. Some have become friends, going out for dinner after class, and sharing stories of life’s joys and challenges.

In our marketing plans we use both bulletin announcements and flyers, the instructor’s website and of course word of mouth. Our last two classes have demonstrated over 60% are previous attendees. Some of our new attendees find us via our instructor’s website, or are referred by a friend. The following paragraph is a sample of our promotional information to explain the techniques and their benefits.

Both Qigong and Tai Chi were developed in China over hundreds of years. People of almost any age or health condition can participate. Medical science has authenticated a variety of health benefits for its practitioners including: improved balance, increased energy, stress reduction, integration of body, mind and spirit, pain relief and reduction of stiffness, lower blood pressure and improved digestion and sleep.

We also like to use the quotes "Do you want to live to be 100? Then do Qigong." (Dr. Oz) and “Harvard Medical School calls Tai Chi ‘Medication in Motion.’"

Other highlights of the class include the instructor’s tendency to fold spirituality into the techniques. She feels open to doing this because we are a community of faith versus a more secular setting. Some classes have ended in meditative exercises which have been very well received by the participants. As she checks-in with everyone at the end of each class we often hear positive comments of feeling at peace, calm, refreshed, limber, etc. Periodically over the years we have also done evaluations and surveys after a series ends. While these techniques aren’t for everyone and some do drop the class, we consistently have over a 90% positive class rating. 

This has been a successful venture for our ministry and we recommend it highly to others. There are also administrative details and tips that can be shared on our marketing plans, waivers, and registration process with those who are interested; contact Sharon Becker at (937) 734-9452(937) 734-9452. We feel very blessed to have offered this successful program and look forward to our next session in the fall.