Frequently Asked Questions

Isn’t tai chi a martial art?

Tai chi is rooted in martial arts, meditation and traditional Chinese medicine. As a martial art, tai chi is called “soft” or “internal” because it emphasizes finely tuned sensory awareness, physical agility and balance, and embodying the principle of softness overcoming resistance. Today, tai chi is most commonly practiced for its health benefits, which is the focus of Tai Chi for Health classes.

Is tai chi right for me?

Our classes are designed for adults of all ages, and are easily adaptable to varying levels of physical ability.

I’ve never done tai chi before. Which class is right for me?

For people with no experience doing tai chi, the Tai Chi for Health – Level I class is the best way to begin. The step-by step presentation of the sequence provides ample time to familiarize yourself with each form and to follow with ease.

If you have never done tai chi but have a strong background in martial arts or dance, you might consider beginning with the Traditional Tai Chi classes. These classes explore longer and more complex sequences when compared with the shorter and more gently paced Tai Chi for Health program.

I have some health concerns: is tai chi safe for me?

In terms of physical exertion, the exercise involved in Tai Chi for Health classes is similar to walking. Tai chi is traditionally done standing, but Tai Chi for Health classes can be modified to be done seated. Participants are encouraged to rest when needed, and to work within their individual comfort zones. Classes are non-competitive, allowing students to progress at their own pace.

If you have any medical concerns that might impact your ability to participate comfortably, please consult your physician.

What does a tai chi class involve?

Classes are one hour in length. They begin with a gentle Qigong warm-up focusing on posture, breathing, balance and coordination. The core of each class is comprised of practicing the movement skills involved in each form, and set of forms, while gaining an understanding of the principles that underlie efficient, effective movement. Each class concludes with a brief cool-down.

What is Qigong?

Qigong exercises have been done in China for thousands of years to promote health and longevity. Qigong is translated as energy cultivation or breath work. These exercises include stationary movement and walking patterns, as well as meditations done standing or sitting still. The focus is to enhance body awareness, balance, flow and tranquility.  Tai chi is often called a moving Qigong because of the constant changes of shape and direction.

What is a tai chi “form”?

Tai chi is made up of a series of short movements – called “forms” or “postures” – which are performed sequentially to create a set.  Typical beginner sets might contain 6 to 12 forms, while traditional tai chi sets can include anywhere from 36 to 108 forms.

What should I wear?

You should wear comfortable clothes and flat flexible shoes.

No. You will not need any equipment. You might want to bring a bottle of water.

How many people are in a class?

Class sizes range from 5 to 20 students, depending on the size of the teaching space.

What is a “session”?

A session, or a cycle, is made up of six classes, one per week. If you would like to attend two classes a week, you may register for two concurrent sessions.

Why do different locations have different start dates?

Session schedules may vary slightly due to the calendar of activities associated with a particular location, to accommodate for holidays as well as Gurney’s training calendar .

Can I make up classes that I miss?

Yes. During the session in which you are registered you are encouraged to make up any missed class. You may choose among any location or class time. Please refer to the  schedule  to find another class at your level. This means that you would take two (or more) classes in a week, before or after your absence, to make up what you have missed or expect to miss. Please coordinate with your instructor.

How and when do I register?

You can register for a session of classes by calling or emailing us, or filling out the form here, indicating your choice of class. Please register at least a week before the session begins to ensure your place in the group.

How do I pay for a session?

The payment for each session must be made prior to or at the first class of the session.

The following payment methods are accepted:
– Check
– Credit card
– Cash

Are gift certificates available?

Yes, please contact us to purchase a gift certificate.

Can I register late?

While it is preferable to register in advance, it is possible to join a group at a later time if space permits. In this case, the session fee is adjusted according to the number of classes remaining in the session.

Please note that in these classes students are learning a sequence of movements that is practiced and developed throughout the session. The material is presented gradually, and since we will continue to review the sequence from the beginning, latecomers should not have much difficulty catching up on missed material.

Can I get a refund if I can’t continue my session?

Registration fees are not refundable, but may be credited toward a future session.