This story originally appeared as a blog post on the Bread for the City website .

Hi, have we met? I’m Gail Knight. I lead workshops and discussions at Bread for the City SE to help reduce stress and balance the mind, body and spirit.

I conduct these workshops using a combination of gentle movements and postures, progressive relaxation, massage, breathing practices, visualizations and healing sounds from various components of Tai Chi Chaun.

Although I’m still getting acclimated with working with Bread for the City’s Client Advisory Council, I’ve been facilitating a Tai Chi Chaun workshop with the WomenStrong DC Program for quite some time. My workshops emphasize the vital need for self-care, which includes:

– Better spiritual, physical, mental and emotional responses to common stressors and their effect on various health conditions
– Body strengthening, enhancing internal organs, and applying these techniques to managing pain
– Reducing stress and encouraging healing

Not familiar with Tai Chi? Here’s some fundamental information:

Tai Chi Chaun is an abridged name of Tai Ji Quan/Tai Chi Chaun/Taj Qi Gong/Tai Chi Kung. Tai Chi translates literally as “the Great Polarities of Yin and Yang,” while Quan/Chuang/Gong means “fist,” Chi equals energy. The philosophy is known as the “Classic of the Way and Power.”

Tai Chi Chaun involves using the mind and breath to control the movement of energy in the body. The movements of Tai Chi can be done slowly for health purposes, or quickly for self-defense. Tai Chi can be done safely by people of all ages, and regular practice promotes mental tranquility, organ toning, as well as physical strength, balance and flexibility.

Tai Chi is one of the most advanced Chinese martial-art forms. Its fundamental structure is based on combat and self-defense moves.

My journey began with a call to move beyond the ordinary, to rise up in the face of pain, exhaustion and deep fatigue. My interest in traditional Chinese medicine and the healing arts led me further. I was cleared by my physical therapist to incorporate Tai Chi into my self-care, and I became certified. Although my own journey continues, I’m inspired to help others.

I invite you to consider Tai Chi as a self-care and fitness resource, maybe as a desire for connection, a curiosity to discover something new, an experience of something inspiring or beautiful, or a sense of balance. Perhaps you’ll find all of these things and more. My contact information is: [email protected] for questions or further information.

Lastly, I’ll leave you with this: when life deals you a tough blow, it’s easy to get down and feel powerless. There is power in calmness. You have the power to enlist all of your resources in your effort to overcome a challenging situation. You have the power/calmness to take that first step, even if you can’t see beyond it.

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