A moving meditation. That’s how many people describe T’ai Chi Chih (pronounced tie chee chuh). These graceful, fluid-like movements are known to help people relax, find balance, and restore serenity. T’ai Chi Chih is easy to learn, according to local certified instructor Caroline Guilott. It can be done by anyone, at any fitness level; and even be done while seated, she said. “It is made up of simple, easy movements, but in doing them, you strengthen your focus, balance and energy. It’s wonderful for the mind and body.” Originally from Belgium, Guilott came to Louisiana to teach French. After teaching for years, she saw a sign for an Open House at a local studio, with T’ai Chi Chih and Yoga demonstrations. She was on her way elsewhere, but quickly turned around. She found herself inside, participating and then signing up to attend classes. “I don’t know what came over me! I took the next round of classes, and the next and continued like that for a while. My instructor asked if I wanted to train to be a teacher and here I am.” The motions, made up of 19 movements and one pose, are performed in a slow, steady pace. “It’s as if you’re moving slowly through very heavy air,” Guilott described. “We aim for softness and evenness through all of the movements. The mind is focused on completing the patterns.” T’ai Chi Chih originated in 1974 by Justin Stone, who lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He travelled many times to the Far East, studying with Yogis in India and Zen monks in Japan. At age 58, he was asked to write about T’ai Chi Ch’uan and he declined, saying his friend Professor Huang WenShan had written the definitive book, but he could write about a few movements he was doing and that is how T’ai Chi Chih came to be.
The movements focus on balance and the circulation of energy known in Chinese philosophy as chi. Today, T’ai Chi Chih is taught across the world by accredited teachers. In 2012, Stone passed away at the age of 95. Although T’ai Chi Chih is not a martial art, it uses similar principles about harnessing the power of energy, or chi, for wellness, and balancing the mind and body. Students of the practice report a wide range of benefits, including: • Improved immune system • Relief from chronic fatigue • Lower blood pressure • Reduced stress levels • Improved circulation • Lower anxiety levels • Improved balance
Shepherd Episcopal Church. “I’m available to teach classes for any group at their facility and help them experience the benefits,” she said. Ellie Marquez saw T’ai Chi Chih on television and thought that if the opportunity presented itself, she would try it. “Soon, I found out Caroline was going to teach at my church, Good Shepherd. I gave it a try and found that I enjoy it,” she said. “It’s wonderful for balance, but also for peace and serenity.” Echoing her experience, Eloise Huber, another T’ai Chi Chih student of Guilott’s, said she’s found it to be helpful with reducing stress and anxiety. “We go so fast through each day, rushing from one thing to another. T’ai Chi Chih is a great way to slow down and de-stress. It helps you concentrate on yourself.” Guilott said a new class begins in October, and participants can start at any time, even if they miss the first few classes.
For more information about local class times and “I’m in better shape now than I was at age 25,” dates, call Guilott at (337) 302-5928 or visit her said Guilott. Facebook page, Tai Chi Chih Lake Charles. Additional Mike Peal is an engineer at local industry and a information about T’ai Chi Chih is available on the T’ai Chi Chih participant in Guilott’s class. Dealing organization’s website, www.taichichih.org. Guillott with his high-stress job and Type 2 diabetes, Peal will host an Open House on October 10 from 10:30 – finds the classes relaxing. “It helps me change gears noon at her studio, 3324 Center Street in Lake Charles. when it’s time to leave the stress behind,” he said. “These movements promote balance and circulate energy,” Guilott explained. “From that, good things will happen.” She said the movements can be done at most any age, with no special equipment or clothing needed. “Come as you are,” she said. Guilott offers classes Email or Text Notification when your RX is ready! regularly at her T’ai Chi Chih studio on Center Street in Lake Charles as well as through Good
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Thrive Magazine for Better Living
October 2015 Issue of Thrive