There are many ways to be fit and healthy in Nosara, yoga and surfing are likely the first to come to mind but Tai Chi, the Chinese martial art focused on forms and energy is becoming a new option for those who want to exercise the body and the mind.
Offered by the Guiones Wellness Centre, the class has only been around for about two months although it already has a small group of fans. The Instructor Dave Englander, learned Yang Style (short form) Tai Chi in Boulder Colorado about six years ago.
Instructor Dave Englander (right) leads a Tai Chi class at the Guiones Wellness Center on May 1.
A master named Cheng Man-Ching in New York City pioneered the style, and that’s what Englander brings to Nosara.
“Tai Chi is about the subtlety of the moves,” said Englander. “It’s about letting soft energy move through your body.”
The idea is to focus on breathing and fluid movement through the form. Whereas Karate or Taekwondo is an external martial art, because the focus is on external movements, Tai Chi is internal. It requires you to focus on the energy in your body and use that to move through the pattern.
Tai Chi is not a muscle building or fat burning regime, but its health benefits have been documented in several studies funded by health sciences journals and the United States government. Results have shown that regular practice of Tai Chi can lead to lower levels of stress and a greater felling of calm.
The results aren’t all in your mind either.
As the class progressed Englander drew attention to physical signs that the energy flow was working; a tingling in your finger, an inexistent weight in your feet or burning in your legs.
“I do it [Tai Chi] because of the way it makes me feel,” said Englander. “Calm and relaxed.”
As the class leaves, all of the new arrivals linger to chat with Englander and thank him for the introduction.