How to Find a Tai Chi Class Or Teacher

Pilates instructor course will encourage you to achieve the perfect body and conditioning that you want. Depending on where you live, finding a Tai Chi class may be as easy as pie or nigh on impossible. If you live in or close to a major city, your odds of finding a good teacher are certainly better than if you live in a small rural area. Even so, with Tai Chi gaining in popularity you may still be able to find a local class. If your town has a karate dojo or martial arts studio, that may be the first place to inquire. While they may not give any classes in Tai Chi it’s possible they may have connections with another studio that does or know of someone who teaches classes.

Other places that may have classes in Tai Chi or advise you on where to find one may be:

-Holistic Wellness Centers

-Therapeutic Massage Studios

-Health Food Stores

-Adult Learning Centers

-Churches

-YMCA/YWCAs

-Senior Centers (even if you are not a senior the person who

         teaches Tai Chi may teach additional classes elsewhere)

-Local or Community College

-Local high school

-Local dance studio

-Bulletin board at your local bookstore or supermarket.

-Community Center

Also, searching for tai chi and the name of your town on Google may come up with something. With diligence and a little luck you may be able to find a class not too far from home.

However, in the absence of regular classes, you should still be able to start practicing Tai Chi by working with a DVD or tape. The best videos for beginners will have an emphasis on understanding proper posture and provide ways to self-check to be sure you are staying on course. Tai Chi for Busy People, by Dr. Keith Jeffery is one example of a good beginner’s DVD.

Since there is no test or standard rating system for Tai Chi instructors there is nothing to show that a given instructor is qualified, or even competent, to teach Tai Chi. Unless there is no other option available, I would steer clear of a teacher who considers Tai Chi to be just another exercise like step class or Pilates (This is not to put down Pilates, by the way, I actually know a lot about Pilates – I helped write a Pilates book, as a matter of fact – and it’s a great exercise system).

The best Tai Chi teachers are fully aware of the martial origins of the various postures (whether or not they choose to utilize that information in class), along with some of the history – including the origins of their particular form – along with information about energy flow and the healing aspects and health benefits of Tai Chi.

Because Tai Chi is so easy on the joints and doesn’t require great athleticism classes can tend to be very mixed when it comes to age and physical conditioning. Classes can also have a wide range of experience levels with more advanced students assisting the instructor with teaching the beginning and less experienced students. However, not all teachers, regardless of their Tai Chi experience and education level will be able to handle a class with multiple skill levels adequately.

My mother, before she passed away in 2007, had some serious problems with balance and leg strength due to anemia and other physical issues. She decided on her own to try a Tai Chi class not far from her apartment in New York City (I live near Philadelphia, so I didn’t get to see her as often as I would have liked). She was not comfortable and felt very alienated because the teacher seemed to be making no provision for integrating her into the class. She told me she was intimidated because all the other students were much more advanced than she.

When she told me about this during one of my visits I was a bit perturbed. A good, experienced Tai Chi instructor should make it a primary focus to be sure all his students are comfortable. No one should ever feel isolated because they are a beginner or are in any way infirm. I suggested that she try a new teacher and a new class and keep going until she found the right one, because Tai Chi was exactly the type of activity she needed. I demonstrated some of the form I was working on so she could see how gentle it was, and she was very encouraged and excited about the prospect of trying another class.

Sadly, my mother suffered a stroke only a few days after my visit and never recovered. When I was next in her apartment a couple of weeks later, I noticed an entry on her calendar indicating she had indeed signed up for a new class and teacher.

The lesson here for every Tai Chi Student is that Tai Chi should be for everybody, regardless of age or physical condition, but your first class and teacher may not be the right ones for you. If you don’t feel comfortable in the class or with the teacher, don’t give up Tai Chi — try a different class, and keep going until you find one that works for you.

I realize this advice may not work for everybody since you may be lucky to find a teacher at all, but if you can find a video that works well with the style and form you are learning, and can supplement your class with learning from the video, you may be able to persevere and get through the difficulties You have with the class.

Good luck in your journey to Tai Chi fulfillment.

Pete Glaze is the creator, webmaster and principal author of the website [http://www.taichistudent.com], a site written for tai chi students (and potential students).

(c) Copyright – Peter E. Glaze. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

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