My Fitness Journey, To Tai Chi – Diane Evans

     My name is Diane Evans and I teach Tai Chi here at Imagine on Tuesday mornings at 9 a.m. and on Thursday afternoons at 6 p.m.  This is a summary of my journey to Tai Chi.

    Like most of the really good things in my life, I came to Tai Chi “…by luck and by gosh!”  I had just retired from a long time career in high school teaching and was looking for an exercise program that would continue my long standing interest in integrating body, mind and spirit.

   While teaching Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Communication to high school seniors, I was fortunate to work in a building that had a beautiful indoor and outdoor track.  I was also fortunate to work with several colleagues who, like myself, enjoyed heading out to those tracks to run as soon after school as the last bell permitted.  Together, we covered many miles as we commiserated or celebrated the events of the day.  Additionally, I did a lot of yoga, aerobic dancing, and alpine and cross-country skiing.  Because of the subjects I taught, I immersed myself in psychology, self-help and personal growth studies.

     As the years went by, however, most of us had retired.  I gave up the running, dancing, yoga and skiing after several injuries, but I continued to read. When I started to work part-time at the Crazy Wisdom Bookstore, I became fascinated with Eastern philosophies and their integrated, holistic approaches to health and well-being. So when I picked up a copy of the Community Journal that the store publishes and saw that there was a Tai Chi class that fit my schedule and budget perfectly, I was excited to check it out.   

    That particular class happened to be in the Chen style of Tai Chi and I loved it.  Of the four major styles of Tai Chi, Chen is the oldest and most intense of them all.  I studied this style on and off for several years and then my schedule changed.  At that point, the only Tai Chi that fit my schedule was in the Yang Style.  Because I had a strong introduction to, and understanding of, the principles common to all the styles of Tai Chi, I picked up the Yang style quickly and served as an assistant to the teacher. Yang is a gentler form of the discipline and it is the most prevalent form style taught in the U.S.  When my teacher retired, she asked me to take over her classes.  Subsequently, I’ve integrated what I believe to be the best of both styles into the Yang Family Form.

    My journey to Tai Chi is an ongoing work in progress.  I continue to grow and learn with it on a daily basis and my students teach me as much, or more, as I feel I teach them.   I believe I have found everything I was looking for in a fitness program:  Tai Chi benefits my body, mind and spirit and it’s a journey that I know I can safely look forward to enjoying for the rest of my life.