Sunday Tai Chi classes taking shape

Beginners Tai Chi Broken Hill
by Dylan Stone

Tai Chi is Gail Turner’s passion, so much so she’s about to start a new Beginners Tai Chi class on Sunday mornings.

Mrs Turner is a trained teacher for the Tai Chi for Health Institute across several of their health programs. “l also practice and teach Qigong and two different Tai Chi styles, Sun and Yang,” she tells us.

“l started learning Tai Chi in 2009, and then I started teaching Tai Chi for Health in 2013 for NSW Health under their falls prevention program.”

Her role as a teacher stemmed from an article in the Barrier Truth, written by Active Broken Hill in 2012, in which she discussed the benefits Tai Chi. From there, she was asked to teach, but first of course, she had to be trained.

Tai Chi is a Chinese exercise for the mind and body and it’s taught worldwide.

Mrs Turner travelled to Adelaide, Toowoomba, the Gold Coast, Sydney, Wollongong, Dubbo, and Mildura, to join up to three workshops a year until Covid called a halt for a while. Now her training and contact with master trainers continues by Zoom.

“Thankfully, l achieved a scholarship back in 2016 because l was teaching for NSW Health as a volunteer, and this scholarship enabled me to travel to undertake training,” Mrs Turner says.

“l have been in workshops alongside trainers and made friends from all around the world, including those from UK, Scotland, Denmark, Hong Kong, Canada, USA, New Zealand, Samoa, Dubai, just to name a few. I was fortunate to have a trip to China in 2018, for a cultural and training workshop with Dr Paul Lam, Master Trainer and director of the Tai Chi for Health Institute.”

Her work did not go unnoticed, and Mrs Turner achieved the Premier’s Recognition Award from the NSW State government in 2016, and the Senior Volunteer of the Year Far West Award in 2019. Impressively, Mrs Turner became a state finalist for the award in 2019 and travelled to Sydney for the occasion.

“l take every opportunity I can and enjoy speaking to groups about the benefits of Tai Chi. Over the years I have spoken to many different groups including, senior citizens, carers, breast cancer and cancer support, Mental Health support, and more recently I enjoyed doing some Tai Chi with the Girl Guides and Brownies, as well as some of the Harold Williams residents.”

At the end of 2022, Tai Chi found a new home at the RFDS Wellbeing Place, across from Dimmys in Blende Street.

“The Wellbeing Place is fantastic,” says Mrs Turner. “It is a warm and welcoming place, offering counselling and lots of different group activities such as Tai Chi for health, yoga, meditation, frumming, Toddler Time and a Men’s Shed.

“Tai Chi has a real value to people’s health. I know from personal experience and the wonderful feedback I have received.”

Mrs Turner currently holds four classes a week, a Monday Wellness class, and then an advanced class on Wednesdays and two intermediate classes on Saturdays.

“In the Monday Wellness class, we concentrate on falls prevention, gentle movement, and breathing,” Mrs Turner said.

Noting that a very active senior of the class is aged 89, Mrs Turner said, “It’s an exercise for people of all ages and l want to promote the Monday Wellness group to help people with chronic health conditions and anxiety.”

Mrs Turner plans to start a new beginner’s class on Sunday mornings, in the first week in May. If you’re interested, please register with the Wellbeing Place. The fee for the class is by donation to the RFDS Wellbeing Place.

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