Special to The Standard
KAWARTHA LAKES: The Lindsay Tai Chi Club hosted a special class, March 31st, to celebrate their fifth anniversary.
Almost 50 people from Lindsay and its surrounding areas came to Tai Chi class Friday morning, to see friends, enjoy a free lunch, and do some Tai Chi.
Five years ago, when the club first began, it was a fraction of the size it is today, according to Nicole Chamberlin, who is one of the instructors.
“When we started five years ago, we were just a group of five or six people,” she said. “Now our membership is over 60 people.”
Members pay $40 every three months to be a part of the club. The money is used for office supplies, and to rent the space they use. The Tai Chi Club is run completely by volunteers.
Any extra money left over from membership fees is donated to local organizations, such as Lindsay’s women shelter, homeless shelters, the food bank, Habitat For Humanity, Boys and Girls Club, Special Olympics, and Lindsay Crisis Pregnancy Centre.
The club likes to keep the money in the community, so they only donate to organizations in and around Lindsay, according to Tai Chi instructor, John Williamson.
“We have donated a total of $10,000 since the beginning. Every year we have given $2,000,” Williamson said.
The club not only financially benefits the community; many members have found Tai Chi to be physically beneficial.
Pat Newcomee, a member of the club, says one particular Tai Chi exercise helps reduce her back pain.
“Before I do that, I can’t do anything without feeling pain,” she said. “Once I do that exercise everything opens up and there is no pain anymore.”
A few members in the club suffer from arthritis and find Tai Chi reduces their arthritic pain, according to Williamson.
“Doing Tai Chi won’t cure arthritis but can help greatly,” he said.
Patrick Leung, a special instructor who came in for the fifth anniversary, agrees that Tai Chi can be helpful in reducing pain and staying healthy.
“There are many benefits, it helps to retain bone mass,” Leung stated.
He also says Tai Chi doesn’t just have a positive influence on the human body, it also has a positive influence on the human brain.
“Tai Chi is a mind and body exercise, not just stretching,” Patrick Leung said. “It is like a walking meditation.”
At the end of the day, Williamson says what’s really important is, getting the community to be active for a couple of hours every week.
“The main thing is keeping in shape and having fun,” he said.
It is an easy exercise that can keep people in shape as they get older, without putting too much strain on their bodies, according to Williamson.
He says, “It’s slow moving and easy to do.”
“We cover the same moves all week, so if a person misses one day then they can come at another time,” Chamberlin says.
The Tai Chi club hosts night time classes from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and morning classes from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., on Tuesdays and Fridays.
The club is always looking for more members, no experience necessary. Anyone interested in joining is welcome to stop by and see what it's all about.