By Judy Martell

How many of us, at one time or another, have thought, “I know I need to exercise — and I want to exercise — I just can’t find the right class that will get me to stick with it.” Tai Chi classes just might be the answer!

One of the important factors in developing a healthy lifestyle is finding the mode of exercise that best meets all our needs: physical, emotional, and social. Many people, especially in their younger years, enjoy exercise routines or sports that are challenging and competitive. However, as we age, we often find it difficult to sustain our resolution to exercise. Many factors can discourage us: the program may be too difficult to follow; or we may feel inhibited, either by the teacher’s methods or the other participants’ abilities. We want to have fun and enjoy the company of others without competing. We may have physical limitations that keep us from getting the full benefit of such popular programs as yoga, Pilates, or aerobics. We want to keep at it. However we may not receive the emotional and social support we need to feel good about continuing with a program long enough to establish positive, long-lasting results.

“I tried so many things,” says Niki LaMotte of Raleigh. “I have medical challenges and my doctor recommended I work on strength, balance and flexibility through some kind of regular exercise program. I tried exercise videos, but it was impossible to know if I was doing an exercise correctly. I tried martial arts, but hated the competitiveness. And then I found Taoist Tai Chi and I knew I was home.”

Niki found the Taoist Tai Chi™ internal program arts improved her overall health. In addition, the patient and supportive method of teaching allowed her to be comfortable with her own limitations while making physical progress. And the sense of community and the lack of competition were vital to her motivation to exercise. “However you practice Tai Chi — whether it’s standing, sitting, or in a wheelchair, you can still progress. There’s a feeling of welcome and acceptance, and that’s a great gift.”