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Tai Chi gives body its voice | Eileen Brown

If I told you there was a way, without taking a single anti-depressant, to calm the chaos in your life while you strengthen your body, you’d probably ask me how. I’ll let JILL REED explain.

Reed  has been studying and teaching Tai Chi and Qigong classes  for 37 years. “I find that the older students and those who struggle with disabilities,   after learning to make peace with them,  tend to be people who come alive with Tai Chi,” she said.

Reed herself lives with chronic pain as a result of injuries she received in an automobile accident in 1979. Besides multiple fractures of the neck and jaw, she had two herniated and one ruptured disk in her neck. You’d never know it to look at her but she suffers from three immune disorders, steroid-dependent-asthma and fibromyalgia. She wants her students to freely embrace their own circumstances and willingly shares her medical history with them.

I met BEV KING of Oak Harbor when she was en route to a Friday morning class. She takes Tai Chi classes twice a week at the Oak Harbor Senior Center. She told me her arthritis and osteoporosis have greatly improved since she began this soft workout.  She is pleased to be feeling better. 

“Within the first week, students feel the benefits,”  Reed said, adding that students who stay with it for several months always have improvement and sometimes resolution of their pain. “Chronic pain, injuries, mental stresses or age need not deter you from making the most of your life and contributing to the lives of others.”

There are “westernized” versions of Tai Chi where “instructors” get certified after minimal training. “They leave out essential elements that may create an imbalance in the body. Only qualified teachers with many years of study are able to teach the correct forms and have the knowledge to adjust movements for different disabilities.” 

Reed invites you to come into that still, quiet place, where you can breathe deeply, find rest, be refreshed, strengthened, energized, repaired and victorious. “Tai Chi will make you feel good.”

Classes are held on Monday evenings and Friday mornings at the Senior Center and twice quarterly at Whidbey General Hospital.  Call 675-1464 for more information or email mjreed@whidbey.net.

Devoted to beautification

Perhaps you have seen the small park on Bayshore Drive dedicated to HAL RAMALEY, a man who inspired students and other growing things to reach for the sky.

I recently called CLAIRE REED, co-chairman of Oak Harbor Garden Club civic improvement, after noticing a work party at the park.

“We have a crew of 10 go in every other week and put in hours and hours down there,” said Reed, club planner. Garden Club members work at Ramaley Park at least once a month.

Besides Reed, other women working the day I passed by are INEZ MORACH, PAT HOWELL, TINA BYRNE, GABRIELE STAMLER, EDIE BJAALAND, BEV CAMPBELL and KAROLYN BATES.

“Zinnias are in now and we need to plant things en masse for the best effect, so it’s really fortunate that Hummingbird Farms and Maillard’s Landing help us out quite a bit,” Reed said.

Money to buy plants and materials comes from plant sales and fund raisers. Donations or memorials may be sent to ALENE BERGAN, Treasurer, OHGC Civic Improvement, 5077 Hubbard Hill Road, Oak Harbor 98277.

Morach said people are welcome to stop by and help, or pull a weed or two. Their group will return to Ramaley Park next month to dead head rhodies and cut back perennials.

Find out more about the Garden Club by calling 675-6151. Regular meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month.

Salute is one to ponder

Do you wonder, as you drive by Oak Harbor City Hall, why the flag is at half-staff and so often? I checked it out.

Governor Christine Gregoire has given permission for city halls around the state to fly their flag at half-staff to honor the ultimate sacrifice of a military men and women from Washington.

When I called City Hall recently, I was told the flag had flown at half staff for two days, the first day for U.S. Navy Lt. Jeffrey Ammons of Bremerton and U.S. Army Private Andrew Shields of Battleground. Both men were killed in action in Afghanistan.

What a surprise to find such a gracious receptionist at City Hall so eager to help find the answer. DINA NICHOLS treats callers with respect, like the old days. She is perfect for the job and probably deserves a raise.

If your group or club performs good deeds for others, please call me at 675-6611 or email lifeonwhidbey@yahoo.com.

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