Lady at SunsetFor many HAPPEN members, the search for employment can be a very stressful period. The normal daily pattern of going to work is disrupted. And the challenges of job hunting such as interviewing, networking and resume building take many out of their comfort zone. All this adds stress at a time when one already feels vulnerable. To find inner calm and cultivate a healthy exercise regimen, Tai Chi is proposed.

Many associate Tai Chi with an image of people in a park moving slowly in unison through a series of ‘dance like’ movements. It’s a realistic image but so deceptive on how much exercise is actually taking place in those slow moves. The benefits go beyond the physical as Tai Chi also addresses the mind. Indeed, just watching Tai Chi is calming. Doing it offers benefits for both the body and mind. Many practitioners identify the following:
- More strength and stamina thanks to the cardiovascular training that is part of Tai Chi.
- Greater balance and body suppleness.
- Better postural alignment that helps reduce spinal degeneration.
- Improved working of internal organs and better breathing.
- A clearer and more relaxed mind thanks to the state of meditation that occurs doing Tai Chi.
- Stress relief and greater calmness that makes it easier to sleep at night.

TTC_BannerTai Chi is one of the few exercises that is appropriate for virtually any person, from youths to seniors. There are many forms of Tai Chi of which the most popular outside of China is Taoist Tai Chi. This form is practiced in more than 25 countries and in Canada there are many neighborhood branches to choose from (See www.taoist.org for a location near you). You can also check the Internet for other forms of Tai Chi offered in Canada.

For those HAPPEN members who might be interested in Taoist Tai Chi, the Society is a non-profit organization managed and staffed by volunteers. Fees are very reasonable and allow members to practice Tai Chi at their branch as often per week as they choose. I personally attend two 90 minute classes per week in the evenings. Beginners are introduced to Taoist Tai Chi over a 4 month period by participating in a weekly class to learn the 108 moves of the Tai Chi Chuan set. You learn at your own pace and comfort level. And YES you do learn the 108 moves (actually 56 moves with different repetitions) even though the prospect seems mind-blowing at first. After this, there are Continuing Classes where the moves are perfected and other exercises are introduced. The Taoist Tai Chi Society also teaches other Tai Chi arts to those members who wish to extend their expertise.

For those of you who might be wondering who does Tai Chi, I’ve met CEO’s, doctors and engineers as well as plant workers, retirees and religious. Members represent all aspects of society. I’ve also noted that a number of members have practiced other forms of marshal arts such as Judo and Tai Kwon Do. If you’re still hesitant about Tai Chi, ask to view a class and judge for yourself. Personally, I have found Tai Chi to be helpful during my work transition and a great way to reduce stress. It’s also a fun and healthy activity and a great networking opportunity.

Ginette Herald, M.B.A
Marketing Strategist & HAPPEN Member