Welcome to our three-part T'ai Chi blog series. We're excited to share these engaging and informative blogs written by Carol Feezell, creator/owner of Great Energy™ T’ai Chi. Carol takes us on her journey of discovering t'ai chi, creating her own style and t'ai chi brand, and (our favorite part) how Carol got her groove back via her daily a.m. routine. Oh yes, she's talking libido! And we'll be posting Carol's Great Intimacy™ video with part 3 of the blog . . . stay tuned.
Part 2: Great Energy T’ai Chi, by Carol Feezell
T’ai Chi Found Me. Before I created and started teaching Great Energy™ T’ai Chi I was a yoga teacher. I practiced t’ai chi on my own a few days per week and I would sometimes start my yoga classes with a t’ai chi joint warming session to prepare for the yoga poses I was teaching in my classes. I wasn’t planning to teach t’ai chi. First of all, I wasn’t a certified instructor and second, it was not an easy thing to teach. The warm-up portion is fine -- the instructor faces the students and leads them through very simple range-of-motion movements to warm the joints from the neck down to the ankles. Again, the perfect start to a yoga class. But the t’ai chi form, a slow motion and flowing sort of “dance”, is challenging to teach and to learn because of all the turns. Imagine...you are being led by your instructor and in the next move she has turned and is now behind you instead of in front of you. The result was trying to teach a “flow” that didn’t flow at all! For these reasons I didn’t see myself teaching a t’ai chi class. But a t’ai chi class found me anyway.
Great Energy! When I was asked to teach a t'ai chi class at a senior center, I said yes but was wondering how I would keep the students interested enough to keep coming. The first class was very full. All these students were looking at me curiously and wondering what they were about to learn. Most had never taken or heard of t’ai chi but were interested enough to try. One student called out, “What does t’ai chi even mean?” I was about to go into the long and complicated translation from Chinese when another student (who had taken a t’ai chi class) replied, “It means Great Energy!” I loved this simple and accurate translation! I smiled and nodded and from that day forward, the class was Great Energy. As the classes continued, I figured out that I could simplify the form and take out the turns while keeping all the essential elements and core principals of t’ai chi intact. And it flowed beautifully. The best part of all was hearing the benefits my class was experiencing -- blood pressure lowered, arthritis pain diminished, back pain diminished, freedom of movement improved, energy levels up, better quality of sleep, balance improved... it was incredible! I knew of all these benefits but hearing it from my students was affirming and rewarding!
Getting My Groove On. Amid teaching Great Energy at the senior center and adding classes at other centers in the area, I decided to enhance my own daily practice. I began, upon awakening, with a simple 30-minute routine, similar to what I was teaching to my class. This daily focus made such a difference for me. I was a better teacher, for one, but I could tell in my everyday life that this new practice was giving me better energy than ever before! But what I noticed most of all was that I was FINALLY, after years of frustration (stress of busy lives, raising children, multiple moves, financial woes, etc.) connecting with my husband!!! Could it be this daily morning practice that is giving me back my 'groove'? I did some research and learned that keeping energy flowing from our energy center, located low in the abdomen, along with healthy and fully functioning kidneys is the long-believed secret (according to ancient Chinese t’ai chi texts) to a healthy libido! I had discovered another and much less talked about benefit to t’ai chi. I didn’t quite feel comfortable enough to share this discovery with my class but I liked this knowledge that I kept to myself. Now it’s time to share this wonderful secret of mine.
Be sure to catch next week's blog, the final in our three-part T’ai Chi series. It's all about increasing sexual desire for Great Intimacy!
Carol’s love of exercise began with running. Earning a degree in Kinesiology while competing for the University of Colorado Track and Cross Country teams, Carol’s passion led her to eventually become the Head Men’s and Women’s Cross Country coach at Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA. From the years of competing and coaching, Carol learned that the key to a successful race was being mindful and relaxed. Knowing this, Carol became interested in mind-body exercise and learned first yoga, then t'ai chi and finally, Pilates. All three disciplines are different, yet all help to achieve a beautiful mind-body connection. Having practiced and taught yoga for over 25 years,t’ai chi for 20 years and Pilates for the last 10 years, Carol continues to enhance not only running, but all aspects of life with these three forms of mindful exercises.
Carol created Great Energy™ T’ai Chi after studying/learning the classic Yang Style T’ai Chi Ch’uan-an, an ancient Chinese form of exercise. Careful attention to deep breathing, a slow warm-up of both joints and muscles and an emphasis on posture are the foundations of Great Energy™ T’ai Chi. Following a slow warm-up, students learn the slow, moving meditation (“form”) that is at the core of classic t’ai chi. Benefits include improved balance and strength, increased energy (energy flow to all regions of the body!) and lowered stress levels. Learn more about Carol on her website, Great Energy Follow Carol on LinkedIn.