CREATE Project presents intergenerational Tai Chi classes

Dr. Peter Miller conducts a Tai Chi exercise with adults and children. This summer’s CREATE Project was pleased to present classes for persons of all abilities.

This summer the CREATE Project was pleased to present intergenerational Tai Chi classes for persons of all abilities, offered by Dr. Peter Miller at the Courtney Street Community Center. Adults, persons with disabilities, senior citizens and youth shared this special experience with as a bonding and community-building opportunity.

Tai Chi is a gentle, powerful and ancient form of exercise. Origins of Tai Chi are credited to a Taoist Monk living in China 700 to 1500 years ago. Tai Chi was originally created as a fighting art. However, people around the world today use the same Tai Chi principles and movements created in ancient times as an excellent physical and mental health routine. Its health benefits include relaxation, stress reduction, muscle building and toning, balance enhancement, back and neck pain relief, flexibility, coordination, stamina, alignment, and posture improvement.

Tai Chi follows the motions and ideas behind an ancient Chinese martial art called Tai Chi Quan. Tai Chi Quan routines required the practitioners to be tranquil and calm, emphasizing slow and soft movements. Modified to inherit nearly all the ideas behind Tai Chi Quan, Tai Chi uses the method to attain healing qualities rather than combative awareness. Often referred to as “meditation in motion,” Tai Chi emphasizes breathing and movement that are both flowing and graceful.

Unlike other forms of exercise such as yoga, Tai Chi involves a greater degree of movement. And unlike many types of aerobic exercise (such as running) Tai Chi does not involve any jarring motions that create impact on the spine. It is a slow and deliberate, flowing movement of the body.

The instructor, Peter Albert Thomas Miller retired after 55 years in the classroom teaching music, English, Social Studies and World Religions. He taught every grade from kindergarten to college. In 1994, Dr. Miller went on sabbatical to study World Religions. It was at Holy Names College where he learned Tai Chi (Shibashi – first movements of Tai Chi) under Sr. Merimel, a Franciscan nun. He has taught grade schoolers, collegiate, and adults ever since. This fall, Dr. Miller will leads Tai Chi classes at Dunkirk Senior Center.

The CREATE Project is an arts-based community intervention designed to help our community become free of child abuse and neglect, and to become a place where children can grow to their highest potential. Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation is the fiscal umbrella for the CREATE Project and the Boys & Girls Club of Northern Chautauqua County is the lead community partner. Though the CREATE Project works cooperatively with both organizations, we are an independent entity and operate as such.