I began at the Chinese Shao-Lin Center 4 years ago while in my sixties. I was looking for a form of exercise that would improve my sense of balance. I am realizing that as people age there are physical changes that occur; among them can be poor balance, bone density loss, and weaker muscles. Not to mention that memory issues are all areas that are related to aging. I have found improvements in all of these areas in my last 4 years of faithfully practicing Tai Chi (and I recently embarked on the challenge of learning Kung Fu).
Tai Chi for me has been a gentle form of exercise that has improved my bone density as recorded in bone scans done 4 years apart. Tai Chi is a life long practice of continuing to improve coordination, balance, and muscle strength along with the added benefits of feeling more peaceful and having more energy. My memory has been challenged to learn the 24 forms of Tai Chi that are taught at the Shao-Lin school. I relate memorizing the Tai Chi and Kung Fu forms to learning a new language or learning to play a musical instrument; all activities that have been shown to have a positive effect on memory.
My experience with our instructor (Sifu Mo) and other students at the Shao-Lin center has been one of inclusivity and encouragement. Each student has their individual needs and goals but we are all learning together and we end each class with a round of applause for our efforts.