Pshhh. Yoga? Try Tai Chi!

I just have to say: Tai Chi is so great. It’s honestly one of my favorite classes this semester. Beginning T’ai Chi Ch’uan is a class that’s part of the University College, Wash U’s continuing education school. As an undergrad, I can take one U College class a semester at no extra cost, which creates some pretty awesome choices and nice flexibility. The U College has all the classes you would normally think of with interesting and less common classes like Glass Blowing and Tai Chi on top of that. I definitely want to take a new language with the U College since the Tues/Thurs schedule is way easier to fit into a school day than the all-week beginning language courses in Arts Sci. Best of luck fitting that in if you have 3 hour studios or labs! Anyway, that’s just my little language-nerd tangent.

This class actually wasn’t my first time doing Tai Chi. I took it as PE one quarter in high school and it took me three years to finally muster up the initiative to research where I could do it again. I was so thrilled to find Wash U has a Tai Chi class! We’re learning Yang style Tai Chi, which has movements that are large, slow, and purposeful. Tai Chi is a semantic art, requiring the presence and participation of both mind and body. It’s kind of like moving meditation—when you’re focusing on the movements, you aren’t thinking about that Psych exam you have on Friday or how you have to memorize how to write 50 new words for Chinese. Highly recommend Tai Chi to all college students! It’s better than yoga!

Aside from learning and practicing the Tai Chi sets (like kata for other martial arts— specified movements in sequence) we also study the Daoist philosophy behind it (think Yin and Yang—that’s the one). Dean Killen supplements our practice with weekly short readings from one of our two books, The Scholar Warrior, and Mastering Yang Style Taijiquan, or with translations of poems and literature that reflect Daoist beliefs.

All in all, it is a light class that helps me get in some exercise other than walking to and from class (which I actually do quite a lot of since I go back to my dorm everyday for a nap between classes). Also I’m getting way more flexible! I can actually wrap my hands around my foot now! I’ve made progress, but I still have a long way to go before I can claim to master the basics of Tai Chi. With so much to learn, plus health benefits? You can bet I’ll be taking Tai Chi again next semester!


Also the mandatory beautiful tree feature:

How are these colors even real on a tree???



Thanks to Dean Dirk Killen, our wonderful Tai Chi teacher!