Trying to De-Stress? Try Tai Chi!

stay calm, get centered with "meditation in motion"

Rebecca Mennecke |

Photo Source: Creative Commons
(Photo: Pixabay)

Rachel Hayden begins and ends every day by doing tai chi, or “meditation in motion.” She says it’s a way for her to generate power, increase lower body strength, and exist in a more parasympathetic (that is, a less stressful, “rest and digest”) state.

“I weave it into my martial arts,” Hayden said.

This massage therapist, pain coach, and martial arts instructor at Rainbow Dragon Martial Arts in Eau Claire started meditation and tai chi movements about 25 years ago, she said, and recently began karate.

It’s such a deep art. –Rachel Hayden, martial arts instructor

Qigong – a foundation to tai chi that is known as a “mastery of energy,” according to Hayden – is a great way to start. It helps people strengthen their bodies, mobilize, and relieve stress – something Hayden said everyone can use during the middle of a global pandemic and at other stressful times.

For beginners of tai chi, Hayden recommends looking up YouTube tutorials for easy warm-up movements. “It’s such a deep art,” Hayden said.

The Center EC offers outdoor tai chi classes, according to their Facebook, and there used to be tai chi classes in the park, Hayden said. But tai chi is something you can easily do on your own, so it’s safe for social distancing and great for stress-filled days, she said.

Hayden will be teaching free basic classes for the summer on Zoom at 10am on Saturdays and is available for solo lessons on Zoom on Thursdays. For more information, email Hayden at  rainbowdragonmartialarts@gmail.com.