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Embrace health and healing on World Tai Chi & Qigong Day on Sat., April 26

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Tai Chi and Qigong practitioners from all over the world - including here in Connecticut - will be celebrating World Tai Chi & Qigong Day on Saturday, April 26. This is the sixteenth year of the global event dedicated to these healing arts, which always takes place on the last Saturday of the month of April at 10 a.m. local time.

More than 80 countries will participate in this special event, which educates the public about the health benefits of Tai Chi and Qigong, as well as promotes community by bringing together a diverse group of people to learn about and practice these healing arts, which originated in China. According to the 2012 Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi a crucial component of the day is to “bring people across racial, economic, religious, and geo-political boundaries, to join together for the purpose of health and healing, providing an example to the world."

The first event inspiring the global movement was held in Kansas City, Mo., in 1998. CNN Headline News covered the Tai Chi exhibition and teach-in that attracted nearly 200 people, which inspired the event to grow nationally and internationally thereafter.

Tai Chi and Qigong make up a component of traditional Chinese medicine. Qigong is an energy healing technique that cultivates the energy of life—or qi—through body awareness and meditation, as well as static postures and dynamic postures. Through these, life force can flow more freely through practitioners, restoring mental, physical and spiritual balance The slow, controlled movements and breathing of the martial art Tai Chi foster physical balance, flexibility and coordination. Both practices improve health and stimulate healing by boosting the immune system, lowering blood pressure, reducing stress, pain and tension; increasing energy and improving circulation, mood, sleep quality and metabolism.

This year, there are World Tai Chi & Qigong events in West Hartford, Colchester and Milford. This year, there are World Tai Chi & Qigong events in Suffield West Hartford, Colchester and Milford. Marcey Hickey will be demonstrating the gentle stretches, and flowing movements of Tai Chi on the south lawn at Kent Memorial Library at 10 a.m. Kent Memorial Library is located at 50 N. Main St in Suffield. For further information, call 860-668-3896.

Yin Yan Taijiquan Academy is hosting an event, 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. at the West Hartford Town Hall grounds, at 50 S. Main St. in West Hartford. The event will be held right in front of the town hall auditorium. For more information, visit their website.

At the Colchester Town Green, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., 17 teachers and masters from numerous Tai Chi schools in Connecticut gather to present free day of Tai Chi and Qigong demonstrations and workshops to the experts, enthusiasts and curious explorers to help create a healing wave of energy across the world.

Organized by George Hoffman of Silver Dragon Tai Chi in Coventry, the day begins with a mass Qigong exercise. Additional contributors in 2014 include Grandmaster Jiang Jian-ye of Capital District Tai Chi & Kung Fu in Albany, N.Y., Master Malee Khow of
Malee’s School of Tai Chi & Kung Fu of Manchester, Conn., Master Zhang Zhao Xun of the Hunyuan Tai Chi Chuan Academy of New Haven and Middletown, and Dr. Ming Wu of the Wu Healing Center in West Hartford. Visit ConnecticutTaiChi.us to learn more.

Milford’s event occurs on the Milford Town Green from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will be demonstrations of easy Tai Chi & Qigong and group lessons from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., completely free of charge. Come celebrate “One World…One Breath.” For more information, call 203-843-2595.

To find an event in your area, visit WorldTaiChiDay.org.

Those at home can also celebrate by participating in a free webinar by Dr. Roger Jahnke at 1 p.m. EST. Dr. Jahnke, director of the Institute of Integral Qigong and Tai Chi (IIQTC) is a doctor of Chinese medicine and has studied and practiced Qigong for more than 40 years. To sign up for the event, visit The Tai Chi & Qigong Way Webinar.

A version of this article was originally posted on The Mind-Body Shift. Renée Canada is an AADP-board certified holistic health coach for The Mind-Body Shift, with certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and education from UConn's School of Public Health. In her practice, clients learn to improve their health and lifestyle through a holistic approach to wellness that encompasses the body, mind and spirit. Email Renée to learn more about how you can create the healthy, rewarding and happy life you've always desired.

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