Moving U: Tai Chi Students Learn Body & Mind Exercises

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — A rainy South Florida day wouldn’t keep Steve Chin’s Tai Chi students from getting their mind and body workout.

gettyimages 119269855 Moving U: Tai Chi Students Learn Body & Mind Exercises

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

They do Tai Chi indoors at the recreation center at Deerwood Bonita Lakes Park in Southwest Miami-Dade. CBS4’s MovingU campaign joined the class.

“It’s actually a martial art, and then it spread into a meditative art especially when it came to America,” explains Chin.

Tai Chi may not be the first thing you think of when exploring exercise options, but the Chinese practice is more challenging than it looks.

“It’s very slow, it’s slow-moving, but it’s very misleading.”

Chin has been teaching Tai Chi for nearly two decades. His free class sponsored by Baptist Health brings dozens of students together twice a week, blending traditional Tai Chi movements, with a mix of stretching, cardio, and strength training.

“It keeps me healthy. I sleep good, I don’t take any medication, and I make a lot of friends, and my mind is sharp, so what else do you need,” asks Tai Chi student Gisela Pichardo.

The well-rounded class attracts students of all ages and abilities. Some, like Robert Wilkinson, attend with their spouses. Though, it’s a very personal experience.

“She stands in one corner, I stand in the other.”

After all, Tai Chi is about focusing on one’s own movements and energy.

Chin explains, “We do a lot of Qigong, which is static exercise, actually balancing on one leg.”

Qigong, and moves with names like ‘grasp the sparrow’s tail’ are all part of the language learning-curve that comes with doing Tai Chi.

“You gotta remember those,” Chin laughs. “That helps them in the mental aspect of the exercises. Helping them to retain the movements.”

Pichardo explains, “It’s disciplined, plus you learn a lot of balance and your mind focuses.”

Students say Chin keeps things interesting with his sense of humor and by keeping them guessing!

“We do it and then he’ll throw something else, and you’re like, Ah! We haven’t done this,” says Pichardo.

Tai Chi has opened a new world to these South Florida residents. Chin says some have even traveled with him to China to practice it there.

Click here for information on the Baptist Health Tai Chi classes.

We want to know what keeps you happy and healthy, email us at movingu@cbs.com for a chance to be featured!

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