Your instructor, international master David-Dorian Ross, describes tai chi as a path for life guided by nature that finds harmony and balance in every situation. Mr. Ross, who created the TaijiFit program, is a U.S. gold-medal winner and an international master tai chi instructor, his goal in this course is to introduce you to the practice of tai chi in the gentlest way possible—by encouraging you to simply move and breathe. While these lessons will bring fitness benefits, they are unlike any other workout you’ve ever tried. In this course, there are no goals, no repetitions to ramp up, no emphasis on your technique, and no instructor telling you to push yourself. There’s just the continuous, slow-paced movement, the calming breath, and the enjoyment of the practice.
While tai chi has been practiced in the East for centuries, its health benefits have only recently been studied seriously in the West. Medical studies have shown that tai chi can improve balance and function, increase strength, and reduce stress and pain. Recent research also suggests positive effects on bone health and in the prevention of falls, a significant benefit for older individuals. In 2017, the American College of Physicians began to formally recommend tai chi as a therapeutic option for patients with chronic low back pain.
Into the State of Flow
Tai chi offers a unique benefit to practitioners: a way to relax completely, to let go of any problems on your mind, to be fully present in your current activity, and to feel your best physically, all at the same time. This is the state of flow, also known as being “in the zone.” People can experience flow in a variety of settings. Painting, singing, swimming, hiking, running, writing, gardening—the list of activities that can bring an individual into the flow state is long and varied.
But tai chi is unique: It will take you into flow for its own sake. And while tai chi is a martial art that can be pursued for purposes of self-defense, the primary goal of Tai Chi Fitness Workouts is to introduce the student to flow.
How can this course bring you into the experience of flow? It’s simple—just follow the movements and breathe with Mr. Ross and your fellow students. There are no elaborate terms to learn and nothing to memorize; there is nothing external for the student to create, nothing to achieve or accomplish, except your own peace of mind and physical wellness.
And here’s a special secret about this course: Even if you really aren’t ready to try tai chi just yet, simply watching these lessons can bring you benefit. Hearing Mr. Ross’s calm and steady voice, watching him flow so very gently through the moves again and again, and listening to his encouragement will leave you feeling more peaceful at the end of the lessons than you were at the beginning.
Tai Chi for Any Age and Ability
In Tai Chi Fitness Workouts, you will not only follow the flowing movements of your instructor, but you’ll also meet and see the practices of three other students. Young and old, male and female, athlete and formerly infirm, these students allow you to watch the real practices of individuals whose lives have been changed by tai chi. You will meet:
- Cassie S., a young woman and a former college pole vaulter. Cassie developed so many injuries that she spent a great deal of her college years on the sidelines. Then she found TaijiFit. “Tai chi brought me right into my body, improved my confidence, and improved my sport,” she says. “It made everything in my life easier.” In her senior year, Cassie greatly improved her personal best, qualified for nationals, and became a 2015 All-American.
- Judy W., a 76-year-old woman who says she “was a mess” before finding the social and physical benefits of TaijiFit. “I’ve come to know a wonderful community of people, all getting online together to practice tai chi,” she says. Before beginning tai chi, Judy had been in such pain from numerous surgeries that she was unable to lie in bed to sleep. She now sleeps comfortably and has not needed pain injections in two years. “For anyone who thinks they’re too old or too broken, TaijiFit is for you,” she says.
- Rick S., an older man who began studying the martial arts as a teenager, eventually earning his black belt but later suffering injuries and developing joint problems. No longer able to exercise as he was accustomed to, Rick gained weight and later suffered a heart attack. Going back to his martial-arts roots, he discovered—and immediately fell in love with—TaijiFit. “Tai chi has given me a sense of peace and calmness I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world,” he says.
What If I Can’t . . . ?
Mr. Ross understands that many individuals who might want to try tai chi have questions or concerns based on their preconceived ideas about the practice. Throughout each of the five lessons in this course, he proactively answers those questions with explanations that invite you to give tai chi a try:
- I don’t think I can memorize so many steps. In this course, there is nothing to learn and certainly nothing to memorize. All you have to do is follow along. Just keep breathing, moving, and enjoying yourself.
- I’ve never been coordinated and I won’t be able to do it right. Don’t worry about copying the instructor’s exact movements. While improving your technical skills is important, it’s not the most important thing on the road to tai chi practice. Most important is to enjoy it. So just focus on how it feels and your own enjoyment.
- I can’t bend my knees and squat down to the ground. It’s never about getting low; it’s only about letting go. Just melt on down and float back up. If you’ve stopped smiling, you know you’ve gone too far or tried too hard.
As Mr. Ross explains, there’s no need to worry about doing a movement correctly or incorrectly, turning right or left, forward or backward. Just keep breathing and moving. Your “goal” is simply to experience the tai chi for itself, the continuous and harmonious movement of the body, mind, and energy, without pause or interruption. Open your heart, open your breath, clear your mind. With your instructor’s calming voice, reassuring tone, and nurturing guidance, you will find your own state of flow.