Tai chi is the ancient Chinese martial art practice designed for defense as well as health benefits. tai chi, or taiji, is a reference to the yin & yang – symbolic for opposing forces of energy that comprise the whole person (i.e. male/female; darkness/light).
Peggy Eckman, a certified tai chi instructor, teaches at Temple Sholom on Tuesday mornings, and her class is quite unique. It has a diverse appeal, but included elderly participants.
Eckman explained that the main purpose of tai chi is in finding harmony in body, mind, and spirit. It is crucial to find balance in our daily lives, and this practice can assist with breath control, concentration, balance, and flexibility. The participants were led through a series of gently coordinated hand, leg, and core postures, with a comfortable pace.
Eckman’s interest in tai chi started with her philosophy professor’s encouragement. After connecting with an University of Cincinnati theoretical physics instructor – a Chinese tai chi master – Eckman pursued certification in the martial art. As a firm believer in the concept of “chi,” or “ji,” which stands for “supreme energy,” Eckman said tai chi can greatly improve one’s quality of life – especially for those struggling with arthritis and balance problems.
Temple Sholom Congregation in Blue Ash it prides itself on being an all-inclusive community that welcomes those of all spiritual dimensions, ages, and cultural backgrounds. The focus is an individualized approach, as the synagogue recognizes that spirituality and connectedness with God and community is different for everyone.
Temple Sholom’s homepage states that “we are a sacred congregation who deeply believe in the power of personal and communal connections to the Divine.” Part of the mission is to break down the social barriers that divide individuals and communities. Moreover, the emphasis here is not limited to Jewish faith – culture, ancestry, and interpersonal relationships are also essential components.
My main takeaway from the tai chi class is that it can help control the energy you bring in, and also what we give out.