about

TAI CHI

FOR HEALTH PITTSBURGH

~ with Gurney Bolster ~

Meet Gurney Bolster.  My motivation has always come from the desire to learn more about my body, find my center and feel more at peace within myself. My curiosity has led me to the wisdom inherent in the Eastern practices of Tai Chi and Qigong along with Western training in sensory-motor integration, functional fitness, and dance. This journey has nourished my health and happiness in so many ways and given me great pleasure teaching thousands of students and mentoring new instructors. Beyond teaching private classes in Pittsburgh, I have had contracts with the Center for Complementary and Integrative Health of Allegheny Health Network, the Whole Health Program of VA Pittsburgh, Highmark, and many senior living communities.  Read more

Tai Chi for Health Pittsburgh was established in 2012 to offer safe and accessible Tai Chi training to adults of all ages. Qigong is integrated throughout to activate and open the body and support the natural flow of energy. This time-tested practice of moving meditation leads to greater self-awareness, functional fitness, and optimal health.

 

Introductory and advanced level classes are available. Classes are taught standing and moving through space. Seated practice is always an option. No special equipment is needed.

 

Explore both Online Classes and In-Person Classes

ABOUT TAI CHI & QIGONG

Tai Chi (“tai chee”), also spelled Taiji and Tai Chi Chuan, originated in ancient China as martial art training to cultivate physical strength and agility as well as mental clarity and emotional balance. Slow, gentle movement serves to nurture the body, protect and heal. Committed practice builds resilience, fluidity and ease. The complex sequences of Tai Chi challenge coordination, memory, and endurance. With practice and perseverance, a profound sense of harmony, inner strength and tranquility can be found.

Qigong (“chee gong”) also spelled Chi Kung, is a branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine using moving meditation and self-massage to promote wellness and longevity. Defined as energy cultivation or breath work, Qigong involves short, simple movement patterns synchronized with the breath, as well as mindful stillness to release tension and enhance circulation of the life force energy called Qi.  This self-care practice draws attention inward to restore balance and vitality.

WHAT DO MEDICAL EXPERTS SAY?

The key to tai chi’s scientifically backed health benefits is qi. Rooted in ancient Asian traditions, qi is your vital energy. When your qi freely flows, you are balanced and healthy. But, if your qi is weakened or blocked, you can experience physical, mental, and emotional problems. Tai chi promotes the flow of your qi. Everyone can benefit — no matter your age or fitness level.

Harvard Health Publishing, 2022

Harvard Medical School

Howard E. LeWine, M.D. Chief Medical Editor

Qigong’s potential benefits make it well worth the effort. It is generally safe and easy to learn.

 

Medical studies show that regular practice of qigong may reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression and relieve the effects and stress of medical treatments. Qigong is also known to boost immunity, bone and cardiovascular health, to improve sleep and mental functioning.

Cleveland Clinic Health Essentials:

Wellness and Holistic Therapies, 2020

Dr. Gloria Y. Yeh, of Harvard Medical School and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, says that judging Tai Chi exclusively on its physical advantages, misses the point. In her opinion one of their most striking findings is that … more than three quarters of (the participants in the study) kept up their practice the entire 12 weeks and many were still at it when the researchers checked up on them six months later. Considering that less than two-thirds of American adults are physically active on a regular basis and a quarter get virtually no exercise, Yeh thinks Tai Chi can serve as an ideal bridge into a more active lifestyle.

 

“We know one of the biggest assets of any exercise regimen is adherence. This makes accessibility one of Tai Chi’s most valuable components,” she says.

Archives of Internal Medicine, 2011

Tai Chi is often described as “meditation in motion,” but it might well be called “medication in motion.” There is growing evidence that this mind-body practice has value in treating or preventing many health problems. Tai Chi is easy to learn and you can get started even if you aren’t in top shape or the best of health.

 

Tai Chi in combination with standard medical treatment appears to be helpful in the treating of the following conditions: arthritis, low bone density, breast cancer, heart disease, heart failure, hypertension, Parkinson’s disease, sleep problems and stroke.

Harvard Health Publications, 2009

Harvard Medical School

More about Gurny

I began studying Tai Chi with Sifu Lee Shiu Pak in 1978 while pursuing a dance career in Montreal. For nearly 20 years I taught in the contemporary dance departments of the Université du Québec and Concordia University in Montreal, enjoying many opportunities to perform, teach and train with a wide variety of dance and movement professionals.

My formal training includes a Master of Arts in Dance/Movement Therapy from Antioch University and certifications in Somatic Education from the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies and the School for Body-Mind Centering. For the past 15 years I have concentrated on Tai Chi and Qigong, studying with many different teachers. I am particularly grateful for in-depth instructor trainings with Dr. Paul Lam, MD (Tai Chi for Health Institute), Dr. Yang Yang, PhD (Wa-Qi, Center for Taiji and Qigong Studies) Lee Holden L.Ac (Holden Qigong), and Daisy Lee (Radiant Lotus Women’s Qigong) .