Tai Chi for Strength, Balance, and Tranquility

In partnership with
David-Dorian Ross, International Master Tai Chi Instructor
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Course No. 80170
Video Streaming Included Free

What Will You Learn?

  • numbers Learn how to relax into stress-free exercise
  • numbers Discover how the continual, gentle movement of tai chi soothes inflamed joints
  • numbers Engage with tai chi no matter your age or fitness level

Course Overview

Practiced in the East for centuries, the flowing movements of tai chi have been known to promote health and inner harmony. According to Chinese medicine, the benefits of this ancient martial art come from unblocking and encouraging the proper flow of chi, the energy force that flows throughout the body. Western medicine hasn’t typically addressed the body’s “energy forces,” but that might be about to change. According to the 2019 Harvard University Women’s Health Watch, “tai chi is often described as meditation in motion, but it might well be called medication in motion,” thanks to its uses in prevention and treatment of health issues.

Welcome to Tai Chi for Aging with Strength and Tranquility, led by International Master Tai Chi Instructor David-Dorian Ross. Although learning a new form of exercise can feel intimidating, Mr. Ross removes any potential anxiety with his calming voice and easy manner, as he encourages you to just follow along and copy his healing movements. As he explains throughout the course: There is nothing to memorize here and nothing to learn. As long as you keep breathing, smiling, and moving, you’re doing everything exactly right.

Tai Chi Fit Postures

In this course, you’ll explore many of the classic tai chi postures as you exercise along with your instructor in a slow, continual rhythm. The goal of each program is for you to enjoy the many benefits that come from tai chi’s gentle movements—not for you to memorize the tai chi forms or focus on the technique of any particular posture.

However, even without trying, you’ll begin to recognize some of the tai chi postures through repetition—especially those whose names describe the movements, including:

  • Brushing the Knee,
  • Looking for the Needle at the Bottom of the Ocean,
  • Old Woman Digs in the Garden,
  • Patting the High Horse,
  • Rooster Stands on One Leg,
  • Wagging the Tail, and
  • Wise Owl Looks Behind.

These postures, and many others, involve the slow lifting of the arms, twisting of the torso, bending forward, lifting the legs, and other movements that help improve range of motion, strength, and balance without the typical risk of injury or strain that can come from a high-impact workout.

Tai Chi Fusion

Mr. Ross describes tai chi as a workout that is also a system of self-defense, a shield against disease, a beautiful dance, and a living philosophy of harmony and balance. What else could you possibly need? Actually, Mr. Ross says there are times we might want to take our exercise practice just a little further than tai chi alone—especially as we get older. For that reason, he has created Tai Chi Fusion.

The fusion concept is based on an ancient Chinese philosophy known as the theory of applied elements: wood, water, fire, earth, and metal. Each different mind-body discipline represents a different element, and the fusion of two elements together teaches us about a new principle that enhances our experience.

In the Fusion series, Mr. Ross combines the continual flow of tai chi movements with added weight in Tai Chi Fusion: Iron, with the Chinese martial art of kung fu in Tai Chi Fusion: Fire, and with yoga in Tai Chi Fusion: Bamboo. As in all the programs in this series, there is nothing to memorize, nothing to perform, nothing to learn. Simply by copying the movements of your instructor, you’ll have the opportunity to deepen your physical practice, as well as your understanding of the tai chi philosophy.

  • Tai Chi Fusion: Iron. Although this workout will build strength above and beyond that of a traditional tai chi workout—whether you use weighted tai chi sticks or wooden spoons from your kitchen—that is not the workout’s goal. Instead, the goal is to explore the principle of contrast. As you pick up your sticks, work with them, and then put them down in repeated cycles, you can’t help but notice the heaviness of the sticks and the lightness you feel in your arms when you put them down, a feeling Mr. Ross calls “marshmallow hands.”
  • Tai Chi Fusion: Fire. The martial art of kung fu, with its whirlwind of kicks and punches, is both a deadly martial art and a health practice. Together, kung fu and tai chi represent two sides of the same coin, the external and the internal of martial arts. This fusion workout blends the power of kung fu with the softness and flow of tai chi, and highlights the principle of intensity.
  • Tai Chi Fusion: Bamboo. This fusion practice combines the disciplines of tai chi and yoga. It highlights the principle of surrender, providing the opportunity to reach and stretch our bodies and minds, but without pushing. Instead, we learn to let go in a practice that emphasizes patience, mindfulness, and gratitude. Surrendering allows for a deeper level of flow, which your instructor describes as “a delicious infusion of chi energy that makes your body supple and makes your tai chi movements relaxed.”

Workouts Tailored to Older Adults

Mr. Ross speaks from experience when he talks about the changes that happen as our bodies age. At age 60, and aware of older adults’ unique needs when it comes to exercise, he has created five specific series to address those changes. Whether you’re more comfortable holding onto a chair rather than doing exercises in the center of your room, or even if you’re more comfortable in the chair, the workouts in this series will meet your needs. These wonderful exercises are adaptable for any age or fitness level.

Numerous organizations recommend tai chi as the best form of exercise to help older adults avoid falling; one of the most common causes of death in certain age groups. With its slow, meditative movements and non-impact format, tai chi is a safe way to build strength and coordination. But this specialized workout series goes even further, providing extra attention to building strength and balance by:

  • Practicing balance while the eyes change position of focus, recognizing that moving the eyes and head can affect the movement of the entire body;
  • Focusing on gentle but continual movements of the joints to help heal the pain and inflammation of arthritis and other age-related joint problems; and
  • Providing seated tai chi options for those who are not comfortable standing for any reason, options that provide the same benefits for body, mind, and spirit as standing tai chi.

In these workouts and all the other workouts of Tai Chi for Aging with Strength and Tranquility, Mr. Ross stresses that tai chi practitioners shouldn’t be concerned about whether they’re seated, touching a wall for stability and balance, or standing in the center of the room. “Is it comfortable? Is it fun? Does it feel beautiful?” he asks. “We don’t care about how it looks. We care about how it feels inside.” With this course, you will be able to follow a tai chi master along the path to reduced stress and increased well-being.

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10 lectures
 |  Average 47 minutes each
  • 1
    Tai Chi Fit in Paradise
    On the Hawaiian sand and with the beautiful Pacific Ocean in the background, your instructor takes you through a tai chi practice that includes a warm up, two workout sessions, and a cool down. As you listen to the waves and watch their motion, you'll gently move side to side and up and down with the classic tai chi postures Embrace the Moon, Penetrating Heaven and the Earth, Cloud Hands, and more. x
  • 2
    Tai Chi Fusion: Fire
    This practice combines tai chi with the martial art of kung fu, which translates to high-level work. Together, they combine into a practice focused on intensity, the most intense workout of the series. Discover how to bring the fire into your whole being, mind, energy, and spirit, while still maintaining a physical practice that is appropriate for your body and physical capabilities. Explore the classic postures of Snake Creeping through the Grass, Solitary Whip, and more. x
  • 3
    Tai Chi Fusion: Iron
    Combining the principles of weight lifting and tai chi, this practice is a lesson in contrast and mindfulness. As you practice with your weighted sticks-or with lightweight wooden spoons from your kitchen, as you choose-contrasting aspects of life will become apparent: heavy and light, what you do and do not do, what you notice and ignore. Explore the classic postures of Playing the Pipa and Seizing the Sparrow's Tail, among many others. x
  • 4
    Tai Chi Fusion: Bamboo
    Your instructor teaches this gentle workout in a beautiful bamboo forest. Combining yoga and tai chi in a practice that emphasizes the principle of surrender, you will learn about gratitude, benevolence, and generosity, especially toward yourself. The two disciplines progress seamlessly through the workout and include the classic tai chi postures of Sinking the Chi and Fending Off the Monkey, among others. x
  • 5
    Tai Chi Fit: 24 Form
    This diverse practice includes four separate workout options, as well as a warm up and cool down. As you follow along with your instructor along at the pace and intensity that works best for you-and you will be continually encouraged to do exactly that-you will be exposed to a wide variety of classic tai chi postures, including The Fair Maiden Weaves the Loom, The White Crane Spreads Its Wings, and Bouncing on the Toes Seven Times to Drive Away All Illness. x
  • 6
    Tai Chi Fit over 50: Balance Exercises
    Since the mid-1990s, the American Medical Association has recommended tai chi as the number-one form of exercise for maintaining balance and fall prevention. In this program, you'll be encouraged to do the workout the way you need to do it with respect to your own balance-holding on to a wall or even keeping just one finger on the back of a chair for stability. As you work on building the muscles needed for balance, you will explore the use of weighted tai chi balls as well as the classic postures of Old Woman Digs in the Garden and The Monkey, among others. x
  • 7
    Tai Chi Fit over 50: Seated Workout
    There are many different reasons for any individual to do a seated workout. In this program, you'll learn that practicing tai chi from a seated position can be just as beneficial and challenging as standing. You'll follow your teacher's gentle movements from his own chair as you explore the classic tai chi postures of Embracing the Moon and The Opening of Your Heart, among many others. x
  • 8
    Tai Chi Fit over 60: Gentle Exercises for Beginners
    This program provides the most gentle option for tai chi beginners-of any age. As with the other programs in this series, there is nothing to learn or memorize. Just follow along with your instructor as he moves slightly up and down and gently side to side. With his easy manner and relaxed sense of humor, you'll feel immediately comfortable in this ancient form of exercise. And while you're following along, you'll also be exploring the classic tai chi postures of Opening the Door and The Twisting Dragon, among others. x
  • 9
    Tai Chi Fit over 60: Healthy Joints
    While pain and inflammation in the joints can keep us from doing the things we love, lack of activity makes the joints weaker and leads to a downward spiral. Tai chi is well-known to heal the joints with some simple movements, even practicing just a few minutes a day. While you're copying your instructors gentle movements in this program, you'll be exploring the classic tai chi postures of Princess on the Mountaintop and Holding Up the Heavens like a Pillar. x
  • 10
    Tai Chi Fit over 60: Live Longer, Feel Younger
    As your instructor points out, if you want to live longer and feel younger, then you have to look at the people who live long, fruitful lives and do what they do. The best way to take care of your human machine certainly includes a routine tai chi practice. With his relaxed and humorous style, your instructor invites you to have some fun, as you continue on the path of your tai chi practice-exploring the classic tai chi postures of Cloud Hands and Sinking the Chi, among many others. x

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Your professor

David-Dorian Ross

About Your Professor

David-Dorian Ross, International Master Tai Chi Instructor
David-Dorian Ross is the founder and CEO of TaijiFit and the creator of the TaijiFit mind-body exercise program. He has a B.A. in Human Movement Studies from San Francisco State University, has completed graduate course work in Physical Education and Chinese, and is currently developing a project with the head of the Harvard Medical School research department to study the stress-reduction benefits of tai chi (taiji) in...
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