WE all like a freebie and when it’s one that can also benefit our health, all the better.
Community group Transition Northwich are doing just that by offering free Tai Chi sessions to people in the area.
Tai chi is a gentle form of exercise that can help maintain strength, flexibility, and balance. It’s sometimes known as ‘meditation in motion’, or even ‘medication in motion’ as there is growing evidence that this mind-body practice, which originated in China as a martial art, is beneficial to our health.
Brio instructor, Donna Burston who is the tutor of the sessions, explains the benefits she sees for her students: “The hardest thing for beginners is learning the routine, but that’s why I’m there at the front.
“At the start, everyone has different abilities, mobilities and mentalities, and people don’t know what to expect.
“I always tell them that ‘movement is improvement’.
“This form of exercise is not a competition between who can figure it all out first or who can go into the full motions.
“Instead, you simply follow the movements what’s right for you and you become more connected with yourself to recognize where you’re at.
“The more you do it the easier it gets, as it’s training both body and mind, similar to learning a new dance or riding a bike.
“Co-ordination, leg strength and balance all begin to improve, as does confidence.
“Performing mindful movement in nature is proven to helps us to relax, lower anxiety, blood pressure and stress.
“It’s a practice you can easily do at home too.”
Donna went on to say how she was first attracted to Tai Chi many years ago, but how a sports injury and a job that caused her anxiety led her to teaching it.
“Although I did yoga, I needed something that I could do standing to strengthen my leg again,” she said.
“I was already a qualified sports lecturer and fitness instructor, so I decided to study Tai Chi and gained my instructor’s qualification through the Tai Chi Center with Master Liming Yue.
“I have benefited so much myself, both physically and mentally, and enjoy passing on that knowledge to help others.”
Alison Chew, who joined one of the free sessions last week said: “I was completely new to this.
“The tuition was really good and I felt relaxed and confident, even though I’ve never done this before.
“It was also lovely to have the class outside.
“I could hear the birds singing and enjoyed looking across the river to the trees in Fury Wood.
“The Riverside Park is the perfect space for classes like this.”
Paul Mathias, who secured the funding from Magic Little Grants (from the People’s Postcode Lottery) believes passionately that well-being opportunities should be accessible to everyone.
“We’re pleased to be able to offer these sessions for free,” he said.
“Private gym subscriptions and classes can be expensive and people may not be able to commit enough time to make them cost effective.
“These classes offer ‘a public luxury’, unlike the luxuries that are often only available to the privileged few.
“Moreover, no special kit is needed, you can literally walk into the class off the street.”
These free classes are currently on Sundays from 10-11am at River Park in Barons Quay.
Monday sessions will be available soon. For dates, details and to register please email: email@example.com