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Ancient exercise has helped many during lockdown

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By Fiona Reid
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Ancient exercise has helped many during lockdown

TAI chi leaders in Annandale and Eskdale are starting to think about the return of classes and are expecting to see a surge in interest.

Graham Barrie, of Tai Chi Scotland, runs sessions around the area and said: “The people who had the opportunity to learn Tai Chi before the shutdown caused by the pandemic must now consider themselves very fortunate.

“Tai Chi has proved to be one of the most effective ways of dealing with the expected difficulties and sometimes unexpected benefits, which have arisen as a result of the lockdown. As well as giving structure to the daily routine, Tai Chi has provided physical exercise for strengthening and toning the outer body.

“Less well known is that the gentle flowing movements of Tai Chi stimulate and energise the internal organs and the immune system.”

He believes it has helped many people deal with the stress of the pandemic, adding: “The movements, being slow and gentle, especially when carried out to the sounds of nature, or to gentle music, are deeply calming and help overcome depression and anxiety. In consequence, one finishes the Tai Chi sequence of movement with the feeling of the gentle glow of exercise coupled with a positive and calm mind.”

Graham had hoped to be able to carry on with outdoor group sessions during lockdown but they were banned by the authorities, along with classes in public halls. He said: “However, when circumstances allow, there will be a gentle return to classes. This will be done very slowly, mindfully and carefully as Tai Chi is part of the health solution and we would not wish to initiate a spike in infections.”

He is planning refresher classes and sessions for beginners and said: “People will be able to learn Tai Chi as part of the re-framing of their personality and skill set in entering the new world which we will all encounter after the lockdown.”

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