Hammond Museum Hosts World Tai Chi Day Festival Saturday, April 30, 2011

Lion Dance Hammond Museum

By Sifu David Cunniff

Tai Chi and Chi Kung (also known as Qigong) are ancient systems of exercise so beneficial to the mind and body that they are considered integral parts of Traditional Chinese Medicine. They feature slow, controlled breathing combined with gentle stretching movements that together harmonize the body, mind and spirit, producing a sense of well-being. Tai Chi has been proven to reduce stress and alleviate many ailments and injuries, while promoting balance and healing.

The public is invited to experience the powerful benefits of both ancient exercises on April 30, when the Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden in North Salem, New York hosts the 11th annual World Tai Chi and Qigong Day (WTCQD) from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

WTCQD, officially recognized by the World Health Organization and The United Nations, is celebrated in 65 nations, educating millions worldwide about the medical, wellness and mental health benefits of practicing Tai Chi and Chi Kung. The event begins at 10 a.m. in the earliest time zones and continues around the world as Tai Chi is performed at 10 a.m. in each time zone throughout the day.

In North Salem, Master Phil Sant and his students from the Hall of the Gathering Dragons will start the WTCQD festival at 9:15 a.m. with a Chi Kung exercise workshop. There will be a performance of the Tai Chi form at 10 a.m., followed by a display of internal and external martial arts forms and weapons demonstrations.

Also appearing at the festival will be the abbot of the Chuang Yen Monastery in Carmel, New York, discussing the health benefits of meditation. There will also be a number of other special guests and artists, a traditional lion dance and Chinese ribbon dance, a Chinese musical presentation, and a performance featuring a collection of Tibetan singing bowls. For children, there will be a craft area where visitors can make dragon puppets and learn origami, Kirigami, paper folding, and paper cutting.

Top Five Reasons for Practicing Tai Chi & Chi Kung:

Reason 5: It increases flexibility. By performing the repetitive movements each day, you keep your muscles limber and stretched. One of the keys to staying young is keeping the cells from constricting, and the daily regimen of a Tai Chi workout guards against this.

Reason 4: It boosts lung capacity. The slow, controlled breathing exercises ensure that the lungs get the exercise and stretching they need to continue to work properly.

Reason 3: It enhances circulation of blood and chi. Slow, controlled breathing also produces chi, your energy force, which is essential to increasing oxygen in the blood. The cleaner your blood is, the healthier your entire body will be. Chi Kung is like Roto-Rooter for your bloodstream—it clears the toxins out.

Reason 2: It improves balance. The graceful, flowing movements, combined with the focus of training, promotes a more conscious and attentive mindset, which creates better awareness and improved balance.

Reason 1: It is fun! Tai Chi form is like dancing. It’s fun to do, it can be done anywhere and any time, and it requires only you.

The Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden is located at 28 Deveau Rd., North Salem. Contact the museum at 914.669.5033, or visit it online at HammondMuseum.org. For more information about this event, contact Master Phil Sant of the Hall of the Gathering Dragons, Brewster, NY, at 845.278.6449; contact Sifu David Cunniff of In Balance Tai Chi Studio, Katonah, NY, at DaveCunniff@comcast.net or 914.262.1478; or visit WorldTaiChiDay.org.

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