A practice with the power to heal

Tai Chi practice changes lives in Parksville

Norma Morgan wasn’t sure about practising Tai Chi at first.

Now, after four months of practising the Chinese martial art, she’s seeing physical benefits that she hadn’t thought possible.

After seeing a demonstration at the newcomers’ club, she thought she would give the practice a chance. Morgan struggles with a physical disability after a hip replacement resulted in complications.

“I was quite hesitant about embarking on Tai Chi. Because physically I would have some difficulty. I can’t believe how much stronger I have become. My flexibility and balance really increased. I was amazed how I would find myself doing something that I had been unable to do prior to Tai Chi,” said Morgan.

“For example, dressing while standing up, rather than sitting in a chair. I was able to sleep on my side after four years of having to sleep on my back. It’s made a huge difference to me, physically.”

It hasn’t been without its struggle. Some moves are more difficult to Morgan because of her hip — and she says some moves are just difficult in general.

“I’d be frustrated with myself. But then I’d just carry on and do it the best way I could,” said Morgan.

Morgan also cites the community aspect of the practice as being another reason she plans on sticking with it.

“Not only did it change [me] physically, but in addition I met a community of wonderful supportive people. I’m definitely determined that I will probably do Tai Chi the rest of my life, because I want to maintain my physical health as I grow older,” said Morgan.

Parksville Shores Tai Chi owner Eva Grodt describes Tai Chi as a “moving meditation.”

The variation of the mind and body exercise that Grodt teaches is composed of 108 moves linked together in sequence.

PSTC is a registered non-profit organization started by Grodt and her husband six years ago.

All instructors are volunteers. Other than rent, insurance and printing flyers, all the money goes back into the community.

In July 2019, PSTC donated $3,000 to the Salvation Army and $2,000 to Oceanside Hospice.

“My main focus was that the money stays in the community. That is really huge for me, that it’s affordable. We are very affordable — $20 a month and you can come to Tai Chi six days a week if you so choose,” said Grodt.

Grodt says that the exercise can be as gentle or as difficult as you make it.

The instructors don’t push anyone to work beyond their comfort level.

She acknowledges that it can be difficult at first to learn, since there are so many moves.

“Just don’t give up. Just come and do as much as you can,” said Grodt.

For more information visit www.parksvilletaichi.com.

Also offering classes in the Parksville area is the Fung Loy Kok Institute of Taoism. Information about their classes can be found at https://www.taoist.org/locations/parksville/

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