World Tai Chi Day event planned

Public session in Memorial Park will be held April 29

Summerland will hold an event to mark World Tai Chi and Qigong Day.

This annual event is held on the last Saturday in April.

Tai Chi is a series of gentle, flowing dance-like exercises.

Qigong follows the same principles, but involves more repetitive motions. Organizers say this may be easier for those who need to be seated or are confined to a wheelchair.

It is far more common to see both of these exercises done in large groups in public in China, where these forms originated. But they continue to make inroads throughout North America and the rest of the world.

Originally these disciplines were used as fighting forms. But fighters were found to derive great health benefits from the practice. So the focus is now mainly on the health benefits gained by tuning into the body’s natural alignment and energies.

Health benefits that are attributed to Tai Chi and Qigong are many and similar. A summary of studies shows an impressive list of health improvements, for those who suffer from arthritis, heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, balance problems (a cause of falls), breast cancer, depression, and Parkinson’s disease and others.

In Summerland, a World Tai Chi and Qigong Day will be held in Memorial Park on Saturday, April 29 from 10 to 11 a.m.

Three Okanagan teachers will be leading the groups: Doug Mathias of Naramata, Sandra Lee of Penticton and Susan Norie of Faulder.

The event is open to the public and is free of charge, but a donation of $1 to $2 is appreciated to help defray the costs of organizing the event.