People of all ages are invited to “join the global wave of healing energy” during Akron’s participation in World Tai Chi and Qigong Day 2013. The free local event takes place on Saturday, April 27, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Lock 3 in downtown Akron.
Now in its fifth year, co-sponsored by the City of Akron and NG Energy, this event features a free community wellness program teaching the breathing and movement exercises of Tai Chi and Qigong. The program will be led by NG Energy's Nancy Gardner, certified Tai Chi and Qigong instructor.
Akron Mayor Donald Plusquellic has proclaimed the last Saturday in April as "World Tai Chi and Qigong Day in the City of Akron." The event marks the official opening of Lock 3's season and includes demonstrations, audience participation and a special segment for kids.
This local event ties in with those being held in all 50 U.S. states and in cities of more than 65 nations. The global event’s mission is to raise awareness of the benefits of Tai Chi and Qigong, which are components of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), and to promote health and healing in individuals, communities and nations.
Akron’s two-hour program is suitable for adults of all ages and physical abilities, and children old enough to follow along. Participants are asked to bring lawn chairs for this outdoor event. (In the event of inclement weather, it will be moved to the lower level of the O’Neil’s Building by Lock 3 Grotto.)
Akron native Nancy Gardner is a Certified Tai Chi and Qigong Instructor, Licensed Massage Therapist, Applied Polarity Practitioner and international seminar presenter. She has studied and taught numerous healing modalities since 1985.
Part of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), Tai Chi and Qigong (pronounced “chee gung”) are exercises for body and mind that are widely recognized for aiding in relaxation; reducing and managing stress; increasing strength, flexibility and balance; and improving overall health. Suitable for individuals of all ages and physical abilities, they are gaining in popularity as safe and effective ways to get and stay fit. Gardner cites research that supports Tai Chi exercises in treatment plans for a variety of health issues, including those of the elderly, heart patients and many others.
“Healthcare and wellness is an international issue, yet it’s a very personal one,” says Gardner, who believes getting healthier doesn’t always have to be difficult. “It can start with something very simple such as reducing stress through conscious breathing with movement,” she adds. “I see first-hand how much ‘movement’ is needed when I go into schools and see teenagers who cannot touch their toes or squat, or when I talk with workers in the corporate environment who sit at computers all day and suffer from chronic, debilitating headaches and pain in their necks, shoulders, wrists and backs.”
Gardner says while behavioral change is challenging, it can be achieved. Many have found it possible through her weekly Tai Chi, Tai Chi Fit and Stretch/De-stress classes, which she has been teaching since 1996. People of all ages, from teens to centenarians, attend those ongoing NGEnergy classes. Currently they are held in downtown Akron, West Akron, Green and Fairlawn locations, all with the mindset of “giving people practical tools they can use to begin improving their own health immediately,” Gardner emphasizes.
In addition, she conducts “lunch-and-learn” and custom-designed wellness programs for corporations and organizations aiming to reduce their healthcare costs by having more productive employees on the job. “More than 40 billion dollars is lost each year due to sub-par job performance from common pain ailments, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association,” she notes. Gardner’s lengthy client list includes accounting and legal firms, hospitals, schools and libraries.
“Healthcare costs in this country and around the globe will go down when we take greater responsibility for our own wellness,” encourages Gardner. “People are anxious about the future regarding healthcare,” she adds. “I say we start breathing and moving – getting some ‘chi’ – and start feeling the wellness benefits now, by beginning the paradigm shift in expectations and responsibility.”
Gardner, who has been practicing the ancient art of Tai Chi for 28 years, has won gold medals in competitions internationally, including China. She also lectures on a variety of health-enhancing topics locally, nationally and internationally. One of her biggest motivators in life is working with her 80- and 90-year-old students, where she often is heard saying, “You are my inspiration!”
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