by Debra Kaufman
Tai Chi classes have been available to LGBTQ seniors (ages 55+) at OUTMemphis since May 2018. The classes began in response to a local survey of LGBTQ seniors who desired more exercise and health classes. The OUTMemphis Senior Services committee responded with an ongoing commitment to provide a Tai Chi program especially for seniors.
The form of classes, “Tai Chi for Health,” is sensitive to seniors and was developed by Dr. Paul Lam with a team of Tai Chi and medical experts. This method combines authentic
traditional Tai Chi with up- to-date medical knowledge and teaching methods. Dr. Lam, himself, began to take Tai Chi classes to control his arthritis; he created the course work to make Tai Chi easy and enjoyable to learn.
Tai Chi as an art originated in ancient China and embraces the mind, body and spirit. The regular practice of Tai Chi can be many things for different people and generally leads to better health and wellness.
The practice of Tai Chi is important for seniors for many reasons, providing two major health benefits: fall prevention by improving balance, and diaphragmatic breathing which has been shown to measurably increase oxygen to the internal organs. At OUTMemphis, several regular participants of this class report overall improvements in fitness, agility and balance.
OUTMemphis is fortunate to have Maxine Strawder, 80, teaching the classes. She has been an instructor for more than five years. She’s board certified by the Tai Chi for Health Institute and specializes in Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention. Maxine continues to study Tai Chi for Health with Richard Link, a local instructor. She also has experience in designing creativity workshops and modern dance curricula. Strawder says she has enjoyed teaching this class and seeing it build community with seniors supporting each other.
The classes are free to LGBTQ persons age 55+ thanks to the OUTMemphis Senior Services committee, participants, and other generous donors. Classes are on Thursdays at 11 a.m.
For more information call OUTMemphis at 901-278-6422 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.