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World Tai Chi & Qigong Day 2001

On Saturday, April 7th, at 10 am local time, people from over 80 countries around the world are expected to participate in World Tai Chi & Qigong Day 2001. This event was sparked by a gathering in Kansas City in April of 1998 led by Bill Douglas when 200 people gathered in a downtown park to practice Tai Chi together. CNN news picked it up and broadcast it all over the world. The following year, groups in 18 countries joined in, and the 2000 event included groups in 50 countries.

Once the primary domain of priests and monks in the East, ancient mind/body health techniques like Tai Chi, Qigong, Yoga and meditation are some of the most effective stress management tools around. Unmanaged stress is the cause of 70% of all illness, according to the National Institute of Health.

The use of these tools has expanded around the globe and they are now taught in all the languages of the world by native teachers who themselves have experienced the extraordinary health benefits these tools have to offer. There is an old saying, "When the student is ready, the master will appear." The entire planet is literally dying to learn these tools in these stressful times and the masters are appearing in every major city in every country on the planet.

Here in Portland, the local branch of the Taoist Tai Chi Society/USA will hold an open house and conduct demonstrations of Taoist Tai Chi, Taoist Tai Chi Sword, and Lok Hup Ba Fa on Saturday, April 7 from 10 a.m. until noon, as part of World Tai Chi and Qigong Day.

The International Taoist Tai Chi Society is the world’s largest non-profit Tai Chi society. It is a unique organization with more than 425 branch clubs in over 30 countries and in 25 of the 50 United States. All accredited instructors of Taoist Tai Chi are volunteers, and accept no payment for their work.

The form was developed by Master Moy Lin-Shin, a Taoist monk from China, as a means to help practitioners achieve physical and mental health and to increase longevity. It was introduced to western society by Master Moy, and is designed fundamentally to promote and restore health. Many members join the Society to help them deal with health problems such as skeletal injuries, arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, brain injuries, multiple sclerosis, stroke and heart disease.

The physical aspect of the form consists of basic principles known as the foundations and a set of 108 named movements. As reflected in the movements, some of the basic principles include relaxation, balance, aligning the skeletal structure, stepping at precise angles in a controlled manner, squaring the hips, transferring weight from leg to leg, turning constantly in spirals, “opening and closing,” and stretching and relaxing the spine.

Repetition of the 108 slow, gentle, continuous stretching movements progressively relaxes the muscles and tendons; opens and mobilizes the joints, particularly the spinal vertebrae; massages the internal organs through the spiral turning of the spine; and enhances circulation.

The International Society operates a 70-bed residential health recovery facility near Toronto, Canada offering instruction in Taoist practices under medical supervision. The Society has also applied to the Canadian government to build and operate a long-term care center.

The goal of Taoist Tai Chi is to return both the body and mind to their original pure and healthy state. The Taoist principles taught by the Society promote a healthy lifestyle and mental attitude. Emphasis is placed on being kind, generous and helpful to others and releasing one’s own stress and worries.

Taoist Tai Chi is a lifelong learning experience. In addition to the meditative benefits of practicing the movements, the prime spiritual aspect of Taoist Tai Chi is the adoption of a spirit of self-sacrifice, generosity and the elimination of self-centeredness. Taoist Tai Chi is meant to be taught and practiced in a spirit of compassion and service to others.

The Taoist Tai Chi Club of Portland offers beginning classes at four different times each week, including weeknights and Saturday mornings. A different beginning class starts each month. Senior centers and community centers around the Portland metro area also benefit from classes taught by members of the club. For information contact the Taoist Tai Chi Society, 239 NW 13th Avenue, Suite 211, Portland, OR 97209; (503) 220-5970

For futher information on World Tai Chi Qi Gong Day, go to www.worldtaichiday.org. You may also want to visit the website of Bill Douglas, the Founder of World Tai Chi & Qigong Day and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to T'ai Chi & Qigong: www.smartaichi.com.

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