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.
Life Changing. When I started learning T’ai Chi nearly 20 years ago, I had no idea of the impact it would have on my life. I just knew that after that first class I felt good and I wanted to try another class. And so I did, along with about seven other people. Slowly but surely the class dwindled down to one . . . ME! For the next few months it was just the instructor and me and she didn’t change a thing about the class, she just wanted to share her love of T’ai Chi. Having this one-on-one instruction was invaluable. I was a sponge, soaking it all up! At the time I was a yoga instructor and I was also coaching a college cross country running team. T’ai Chi became a wonderful addition to both my yoga classes and my team’s running workouts.
Welcoming Energy. After two years of learning from my instructor, I began practicing on my own. What a contrast and an extraordinary compliment my T’ai Chi and yoga practices were to the intense running workouts I had been doing for years. Both of these mind-body workouts gave me the meditative quality that proved to enhance not only running but also my crazy life. At the time, I was amid having my four children and often feeling like a single mom. My husband, bless is heart, was a college athletic director and working on his doctoral degree, leaving him little time at home. I often asked myself, “how do you have the energy to be a full-time mom, part-time coach and yoga instructor?” I was managing this life with energy to spare.
A Daily Gift. I didn’t know how to explain that it was the T’ai Chi and yoga that I practiced every day that somehow gave me the energy and extra time to manage my very crazy life. It didn’t even make sense to me! In fact, I would feel guilty for taking this “me” time when it felt like I should be giving it to my family or my team or my students. I just knew that giving this daily “gift” to myself was a way to be more energetic and more productive. And it got even better when I let go of the guilt. I realized how important it was to all the people who relied on me, to continue to give this daily gift to myself as life ebbed and flowed. T’ai Chi was the constant for me, even when life threw its curve balls.
Inside Out. And that’s exactly what life does . . . it unexpectedly changes, and we must learn to adapt. Life becomes complicated with careers, marriage, children and pets! The person I once was, bk (before kids) is lost somewhere deep inside me and I can’t for the life of me find her. But I have found that with the daily practice of Great Energy™, the T’ai chi practice that I created, I can find the soul of that young woman. I can feel youthful again. The scary part is looking in the mirror when I feel so young. My old-looking self is living inside my young-feeling self. But I guess that’s my point . . . what matters most is how you feel on the inside. And that youthful energy really does radiate outwardly.
Be sure to check out next week’s blog -- #2 of our three-part T’ai Chi series – Great Energy™ T’ai Chi
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.