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Healing mind and body

Created date

December 31st, 2008

THE ERICKSON TRIBUNE The class is a wave of peaceful motion. Tai chi is just one of a few popular offerings promoting mind-body fitness at Brooksby. Under the direction of medal-winning instructor Lisa Kirshon, eager students practice and reap the benefits from various Chinese martial arts. "The beautiful thing about these Chinese healing arts is that [they can help] your body with whatever is going on," Kirshon says, regardless of your physical condition. "Our bodies have these innate abilities to heal themselves." She adds: "These arts truly are the ones we can grow old with to stay young." Healing benefits Tai chi involves slow kung fu movements, while qigong is a system of healing focused on energy circulation. Both have been proven to bring about multiple health benefits including lower resting heart rate, decreased respiratory rates, stabilized blood pressure, and overall longevity. Those who live at Brooksby have experienced the effects. "It makes me feel better," says Joan Bardwell, who participates in Kirshon s qigong and tai chi classes, "both mentally and physically." As Kirshon leads her tai chi class through poses like "golden rooster" and "parting the horse s mane," the students shift their weight, crouch into lunges, and gracefully extend their arms while watching their instructor intently. "We re fortunate to have Lisa," says Mary Grace Rubino, who lives at Brooksby and says tai chi has improved her balance "100%." Top expert Since she started teaching at Brooksby almost two years ago, Kirshon has gained quite a following. Having trained with a Chinese master, she is certified in tai chi, qigong, and Chinese massage therapy. She has been studying the Chinese healing arts for 18 years. In last year s national championship of the United States of America Wushu Kungfu Federation, Kirshon took home five medals three gold and two silver. Kirshon also expects a concerted effort from her students, and they keep up well. "There s so much to remember," says Carolyn Fuller, a regular student in Kirshon s classes. "But we re getting there."