I stopped at the Gellatly Nut Farm in the late morning and wandered toward the water. It smelled of a recent rain and the freshly pruned trees. On the grass a small group stood stretching, turning, and gliding. The Wine Country Tai Chi Society meets here during the summer and moves inside Emmanuel Church during the winter season. I stood and watched as the men and women practiced their routine, slowly yet confidently assuming poses in synchronization. They were completely silent and the ambient music from a portable speaker blended with the rustling tree branches. The leader of the group, Doug, detached from the group and walked over to meet me while everyone else continued on.
Regular practice can sharpen the mind as well as improve coordination, strengthen muscles, and increase flexibility. He kindly offered to have willing participants pose for me to photograph. After the class finished, everyone offered to stay and do another set for me. Four also offered to practice with wooden sabres. Just watching the Tai Chi was surprisingly relaxing in that picturesque setting.
Wine Country Tai Chi Society aims to be as inclusive as possible. The form is inherently easy to begin but the same movements can takes years of practice to adjust and perfect. The graceful and slow movements are low impact and can be modified to meet individual needs, and a sitting form of the class is offered and is by donation to make it available to everyone. If you are looking for a way to exercise, relax, and focus, this is certainly an activity to consider. See www.winecountrytaichi.ca for more details.