First Timer Advice

May 19, 2015 0 Comments
Ready to Blossom

Ready to Blossom

I am privileged to teach at two of Des Moines’ best fitness facilities, Fitness World West and the Healthy Living Center.  Both are subscription membership centers, where users pay month by month for facility use, including regularly scheduled classes.  Members benefit by choosing from a wide variety of healthy activities.  The businesses benefit from on-going monthly fees, with a steady influx of new enrollees.  The business model for fitness classes is solid and similar to a restaurant’s regular or sampler menu where all customers have tables, table service and wait staff.  The customers can then choose from standard fare or sampler dishes.

In the restaurant, the challenge is to offer enough variety for new diners to make them want to come back while providing a standard base menu for regulars who want the comfort of consistency.

From a Tai Chi teacher’s perspective, the challenge of our model is to provide consistency and continuity to regular class members while providing enough information and experience for a new member to feel comfortable to choose Tai Chi as a preferred fitness routine; and, to accomplish this challenge in a short 45 minutes class length.

There are five primary foundations of Tai Chi that the teacher may provide at beginning of class.

  1. Lift the head
  2. Lower the shoulders
  3. Loosen the waist
  4. Be aware of weight distribution
  5. Strive for continuous motion

Wow! If that doesn’t make a person want to embark on a training routine, I don’t know what would–said no newcomer to Tai Chi, ever.

Instead, I offer five alternative principles that speak less to the mechanics of the form and more to the attitude that will enhance a first experience.

  1. We all have different physical capabilities, honor your limitations.
  2. No judgement allowed, you are perfect just the way you walked in the door.
  3. If you do nothing else in your first sessions, breathe deeply.
  4. Dance like no one is watching
  5. Have fun.

Then, come back next week.



If you’ve found the right Tai Chi teacher and you dedicate yourself to regular practice, you will experience continuous improvements in balance, coordination, quality of life and you will develop new skills.  You may also build brain cells, experience peace of mind and make friends.  Your plate will be full for years to come    -b


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