World Tai Chi and Qigong Day this Saturday also celebrated in Grass Valley
What: World Tai Chi and Qigong Day
When: 9:30 a.m. to noon, April 27
Where: The Training Zone, 722 Freeman Lane, Suite B, Grass Valley
Cost: Free, donations accepted. Raffle tickets available
Sponsor: Gold Country Kiwanis
Open to all ages
Now in its 10th year, Gold Country Kiwanis will again host the Annual World Tai Chi and Qigong Day from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday at the Training Zone in Grass Valley.
The global event, which is organized each year in more than 100 cities and 80 nations worldwide, is designed to educate millions around the planet on the health benefits of the two practices, as well as a celebration of “personal and global health and healing.” Information will also be on hand regarding ongoing classes in the area. This year’s theme is, “One World, One Breath.”
The Nevada County event began a decade ago when tai chi and qigong instructor Homer Nottingham was serving as president of Gold Country Kiwanis. He proposed the event, which has since become a successful fundraiser for the service group. Each year, all proceeds from the event go toward helping Nevada County children. While the event is free, there will be a raffle featuring items donated by local merchants. Donations will also be appreciated.
Kiwanis is a nonprofit international service organization whose mission is, “Serving the children of the world one community at a time.”
“Nevada County was on the forefront of this event — we were among the first to start the tradition,” said Nottingham. “It’s definitely proven to be a unifying day, both locally and across the world. The T-shirts for the event have 50 different languages on them.”
Nottingham will be among the instructors leading classes, and for those unable to attend, his classes will be live streamed on his Facebook page.
Founders Bill and Angela Wong Douglas initially began organizing the global event with the goal of educating the public on simple steps each individual can take that can make a big difference in one’s health and well being.
Statistics published by Harvard Medical School reveal that 70 to 85% of illnesses are caused by stress, and research is now suggesting that tai chi and qigong can profoundly benefit personal, physical, emotional and mental health. The team at Harvard found a 43% reduction in the use of health care services among those practicing tai chi and/or qigong.
Of the more than 4,000 participating in their “Relaxation Response Resiliency Program” for a year, clinical encounters went down by 42%, lab encounters by 43% and medical procedures decreased by 21%. This was estimated to be a financial reduction of $2,360 per patient per year.
Harvard Health Publication calls tai chi “moving meditation” and boasts that tai chi and qigong can boost immune functions, increase brain activity, reduce depression, improve balance and dexterity, lower blood pressure and help improve sleep.
Grass Valley’s event will begin with two qigong classes at 9:30 a.m. At 10:30 a.m. there will be Taiko drumming followed by a tai chi class and demonstrations by the Body Balance Kung Fu Kids. Free massages will be offered by Jaya Body. Coffee, juice, bagels, fruit, hard boiled eggs and donuts will be provided. Donations are welcome.
Each year at 10 a.m. on the last Saturday in April (local time worldwide), the event begins, starting in the earliest time zone, New Zealand, where mass tai chi and qigong teach-ins and exhibitions commence, free of charge and open to the public. As the earth turns, events begin across Australia, Asia, Europe, Africa, North and South America, with the final events ending in Hawaii.
World Tai Chi & Qigong Day has been officially proclaimed, recognized and supported by 22 American governors, the senates of Puerto Rico, California and New York; the Brazilian National Congress, consulates and embassies from Italy, China and India — and by government ministries and bodies in countries worldwide. Events have been held at the United Nations Building and the Nobel Peace Center.
Locally, the Nevada County Board of Supervisors and the City of Grass Valley have proclaimed the last Saturday in April “World Tai Chi and Qigong Day.”
“The funds go to helping children in our community,” said Kiwanis member Jan Weaver. “We host the annual Back-to-School program where Kiwanis helps about 65 children each year obtain school clothes and supplies. We made donations to Pioneer Park a few years ago for a slide and also a bike rack. This year we will be paying for electricity at the back part of Pioneer Park for the Children’s Festival. Kiwanis also makes monetary donations throughout the year to over 20 local donations, including KARE Crisis Nursery, all the local high schools, Friendship Club, Big Brother and Big Sister and many more.”
“This year’s theme, ‘One World, One Breath,’ is perfect,” said Nottingham. “The event brings the world together in the name of health and wellness. We’re such a divided world right now — we need events like this to bring us back together, and it starts with each one of us.”
To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at Cory@theunion.com.
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