Taoist Tai Chi a different way to health

For those looking to improve their health and try something a bit different, Taoist Tai Chi may be something to consider.

MOBILITY MOTIONS - Instructor Larry Gillard leads his class through a Tai Chi set at St. Cyprians Anglican Church.

MOBILITY MOTIONS - Instructor Larry Gillard leads his class through a Tai Chi set at St. Cyprians Anglican Church.

For those looking to improve their health and try something a bit different, Taoist Tai Chi may be something to consider.

Larry Gillard, a Tai Chi instructor with the Red Deer Taoist Society, said that he has seen, and felt first-hand the health benefits of doing Taoist Tai Chi.

“You do leave class feeling better than when you came in.”

In 2004, he started feeling like his body wasn’t working quite like it used to. It took just a little bit more effort to do things, like reaching into the bottom of a bin wasn’t as easy as it should have been for example.

“Things just weren’t quite like they were back in the day,” said Gillard. He added he tried to think of ways to improve flexibility and thought of Tai Chi as he had heard it was all about stretching and improving flexibility.

After hearing an advertisement on the radio and working up the courage, Gillard attended his first Tai Chi class. He said he was very uncomfortable and the movements of Tai Chi felt very unfamiliar to him that first night, but added it didn’t take long for things to fall into place.

“I was one of those lucky people it just clicked with,” said Gillard. He added that those feelings of discomfort and unfamiliarity are common for many first-time Tai Chi practitioners.

Gillard said the reason for this is that the structures and body positions of Tai Chi are very opposite to what is normally done with the body in western society. Instead, Tai Chi is the eastern philosophy on the body, said Gillard.

There are many types of Tai Chi. Despite Tai Chi technically being considered a martial art, Taoist (pronounced DA-o-ist) Tai Chi, the kind Gillard practices, is non-combative.

Gillard said instead it focuses on trying to improve the health of those who practice it.

Each of the moves, structures or body positions in Tai Chi have many variations and those who are more knowledgeable in Tai Chi may attempt them a different way. However, Gillard added that there is no best way to demonstrate those structures.

“The goal isn’t to reach a final form, it’s to improve your health.” As Taoist Tai Chi is focused on improving health, Gillard said many of the practitioners he instructs have some health concerns. Most commonly, those issues relate to mobility.

He added those who are keen to try Tai Chi are mostly retirees who are looking for something to do with their time that is a little bit different from what they are used to. However, all ages can still benefit from Tai Chi, he said.

Gillard said the object of Taoist Tai Chi is to try and make a person’s body behave the same way it did as a newborn child. He said ideally, the body is supple, has had no damage done to it and has no bad habits.

Taoist Tai Chi Society was founded in the 1970s and exists to promote the health benefits of Taoist Tai Chi, to make Taoist Tai Chi available to all, promote cultural exchange, and to help others.

As such, Gillard, as well as his fellow instructors, are volunteers. They pay their dues to the Society just like every other member and donate their time to teach classes.

Red Deer Taoist Tai Chi Society offers Continuing Tai Chi classes at St. Cyprians Anglican Church in Lacombe every Tuesday from 7 – 9 p.m. and beginner classes starting Sept. 11 on Wednesdays from 7 – 9 p.m. For more information contact 1-888-824-2441 or 403-346-6772.


Just Posted

Police officers and their dogs undergo training at the RCMP Police Dog Services training centre in Innisfail, Alta., on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. Mounties say they are searching for an armed and dangerous man near a provincial park in northern Alberta who is believed to have shot and killed a service dog during a police chase. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
RCMP search for armed man in northern Alberta after police dog shot and killed

Cpl. Deanna Fontaine says a police service dog named Jago was shot during the pursuit

Alberta now has 2,336 active cases of COVID-19, with 237 people in hospital, including 58 in intensive care. (Black Press file photo)
Red Deer down to 73 active cases of COVID-19, lowest since early November

The Central zone has 253 active cases of the virus

The Sylvan Lake Gulls show off the home jerseys (white) and their way jerseys at the Gulls Media Day on June 17, before the season opener. Following the media day, the team took to the field for their first practise. (Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News)
Sylvan Lake Gulls ready to throw first pitch as construction continues

The Gulls inaugural season kicks off June 18 with a game against the Edmonton Prospects

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

The Montreal Police logo is seen in Montreal on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Some Quebec politicians are calling for an investigation after a video was released that appears to show a Montreal police officer with his leg on a young Black man’s neck during an arrest. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Probe called for after video appearing to show Montreal officer’s knee on Black youth’s neck

Politicians call for investigation after clip evokes memories of George Floyd incident

Thousands of protesters make their way through the downtown core during a Black Lives Matter protest in Ottawa, Friday June 5, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
MPs’ study of systemic racism in policing concludes RCMP needs new model

Chair of the House public safety committee says it’s time for a reckoning on ‘quasi-military’ structure

A case filled with packages of boneless chicken breasts is shown in a grocery store Sunday, May 10, 2020, in southeast Denver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-David Zalubowski
One million chickens euthanized during labour dispute at Quebec slaughterhouse

Premier says waste amounts to 13 per cent of the province’s chicken production thrown in the garbage

A section of the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies is seen west of Cochrane, Alta., Thursday, June 17, 2021. A joint federal-provincial review has denied an application for an open-pit coal mine in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, saying its impacts on the environment and Indigenous rights aren’t worth the economic benefits it would bring. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Panel says Grassy Mountain coal mine in Alberta Rockies not in public interest

Public hearings on the project in southern Alberta’s Crowsnest Pass region were held last fall

Most Read