Library notes: Nurturing mind, body and spirit

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 5, 2022

By Paulette Stiles

Rowan Public Library

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”  Laozi, philosopher of ancient times.


After suffering the last couple of years of on-again off-again isolation, getting outside in the fresh air, feeling cool breezes and opening up to a new perspective offers food for the soul.

At Rowan Public Library, opportunities to explore ways of refreshing mind, body, and spirit are offered throughout the spring and into the summer.  One such program is “T’ai Chi Stretch” with tai chi instructor Kelly Stellato who has worked with Heart of Salisbury Studio and is currently involved with studying tai chi and its role in fall prevention.

“The thing I like most about tai chi is that it is incredibly accessible. It can be done by pretty much anyone, anywhere”, Stellato said.  “Absolutely anyone can learn tai chi at a level that will benefit their health. If you relax and move slowly, you will be doing at least three tai chi forms by the end of your first class.”

When asked how might the body benefit from tai chi, Stellato pointed out that “tai chi builds strength from the inside out, meaning your cardiovascular endurance can increase while also stabilizing major joints within the body.”

The library offers a number of resources for the tai chi curious, including DVDs to check out such as “Tai Chi Fitness” by Loretta Wollering, and the lovely and intriguing “Sunrise Tai Chi,” a five-hour introduction filmed in high-definition with Instructor Ramel Rones.

Rones leads you through a series of simplified mind/body exercises to start your day. 

For those looking for an intense workout, there are also books such as “T’ai chi: the ‘supreme ultimate’ exercise for health, sport and self-defense” by Manquin Zheng.

If a lighter workout is preferred, the book “A morning cup of tai chi: one 15-minute routine to nurture your body, mind, and spirit” by John Bright-Fey offers a lighter workout and includes an audio CD to accompany the exercise routine he lays out. There is even a picture book for sharing tai chi with children in the beautifully illustrated Sylvia Liu’s “A Morning with Grandpa.” 

By far, though, the best way to experience tai chi is outside with others in the fresh air with a qualified instructor. 

On Saturday, April 2 at 11 a.m. at the RPL headquarter location, Stellato will be offering “Tai Chi Stretch,” an hour-long introduction to tai chi, an overview of its health benefits along with gentle exercise for mind, body, and soul. 

For those with health problems, it is wise to ask the opinion of a health provider before undertaking a new exercise regimen.  However, “Tai chi is incredibly gentle and pretty much every form can be modified to meet different needs and abilities,” according to Stellato. 

She goes on to point out that “I personally use tai chi to help manage chronic pain. Some of the most common outcomes people realize with regular practice include improved posture, Increased flexibility, stronger muscles (especially around the hip, knee, and shoulder joints), reduction in chronic pain, lower blood pressure, and reduced stress.”

     Take this opportunity to see what tai chi can do for you. Don favorite comfortable clothes and shoes, and join others for a refreshing morning of nurturing mind, body and spirit. Dressing in layers is recommended so that as you warm up, you can shed layers to cool down. We will meet on the patio at RPL HQ at 201 W. Fisher.  Chairs will be provided to accommodate all levels of participation. While this is designed as an adult program (18 and older), all ages are welcome.

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