Bringing Tai Chi and Qigong to Diverse Communities

Bringing Tai Chi and Qigong to Diverse Communities

Tai Chi and Qigong practice are well known for their health and wellness benefits, yet they can only be of benefit to people if people can access quality instruction.

Despite what we would like to believe, accessing health and wellness services is not the same for all. Race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexuality, socioeconomic status and other factors contributing to the diversity of our communities can have a profound, and often negative, impact on a person’s ability to find or participate in quality health and wellness programs. Consequently, the health and wellbeing of these communities is often significantly impaired when compared to the broader, “mainstream”, community. Worse, there is a misconception that these communities “could participate if they want to” yet for some reason “choose not to”, and so are to blame for their own poor health. In a system where racism, discrimination, exclusionism, and physical and mental trauma is not only prevalent but in some instances normalized, it is unreasonable to expect that people from diverse backgrounds would feel safe enough to participate in settings where they are very much the minority.

Researchers have demonstrated that Tai Chi and Qigong can have significant health benefits to people from low-income and ethnically diverse populations (see references below) when factors such as accessibility, socialization, and appropriate instruction/teaching are accounted for. At Wisconsin Tai Chi Academy, we believe that Tai Chi and Qigong should be available and accessible to all, as outlined in our ‘Tai Chi for All’ Inclusion Policy. More than that, we want to ensure that the benefits of Tai Chi and Qigong can be gained by all people who can benefit from them – that means everybody!

To that end, WTCA is actively seeking opportunities to bring Tai Chi and Qigong to diverse communities. At this time there are two main ways we are working to achieve this:

  1. we provide accessible, safe, friendly and welcoming class environments so people of all backgrounds can particiapte in learning Tai Chi and Qigong, and actively seek to achieve diversity amongst our student population. We want people of all cultures, races, ages, identities and abilities to join us and gain the physical, mental, emotional and social benefits of practicing Tai Chi and Qigong;
  2. we provide programs such as our Corporate and Community Qigong program to make Tai Chi and Qigong accessible to communities through existing groups and programs, and are actively seeking opportunities to work with diverse communities. Our aim is to reduce any barriers people may experience to attending a regular class by bringing Tai Chi and Qigong into communities in environments they feel are most appropriate for them.

More than that, we also call on other Tai Chi and Qigong instructors to actively work towards engaging diverse communities to participate in their classes and programs, by understanding and eliminating the barriers faced by these communities.

WTCA always welcomes suggestions on how we can provide more inclusive services and make Tai Chi and Qigong more accessible to more people. If you have an idea, or would like more information on attending one of our classes, or bringing Tai Chi and Qigong to your community, please contact us.

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