Participant Stories

Tai Ji Quan Participant Says her Virtual Class is a Perfect Fit


"The more energy I have, the more activities I can do, and it feeds on itself.”

Participants in a Tai Ji Quan class

Gail spends much of her time restoring and protecting natural resources. She likes being outside and wants to stay strong to maintain her active outdoor lifestyle. Juniper’s Tai Ji Quan – Moving for Better Balance classes are helping her do it.

“I had some tumultuous years with COVID, and both of my parents passed away within a year and a half,” Gail explains. “I was sitting around too much, and I needed to get up and move around, relieve stress and improve my balance.” At age 69, Gail has friends with mobility issues, and some are consistently falling. “I don’t want that to happen to me,” she said.

Gail found East Side Neighborhood Services in Northeast Minneapolis on Facebook. They were offering a virtual Tai Ji Quan class for beginners that she could fit in between work and spending time in northern Minnesota. “I took it in the winter to strengthen my muscles and prepare for an active summer at the cabin,” she said.

After completing the class, Gail is happy to report it was a good decision. “I’ve had the energy and strength to do multiple loads of laundry and clean the whole house,” she said. “I’m more aware of how I’m walking down steps and how I’m standing and shifting my weight to the other foot. And I’m building confidence doing it.” Gail has also learned how to balance herself with her arms and hands. “The positions we do in class utilize the whole body for balance. When you’re a child, you do that automatically, but my body doesn’t do it anymore.”

Grocery shopping has also gotten easier for Gail. “I no longer get tired when hauling grocery bags because I know how to balance and carry them,” she said. “My mind is now connecting with my body.” She is also sleeping better. “I’ve practiced deep breathing in class for 12 weeks, and I use the breathing exercises to get myself back to sleep quickly.”

With parents who lived into their nineties, Gail knows she has the genes to do the same. “I told my husband, ‘If we’re going to live a long life, we better get on the stick.’ I talk to him about what I’m learning, and he can see the difference in me.”

Gail says her Tai Ji Quan class allows her to focus, slow down and be in the moment. She also likes taking directions from her instructor. “I like having someone tell me what to do, and I can feel myself getting stronger. I now have the strength to garden, rake weeds in the lake and take care of the trees at the cabin. The more energy I have, the more activities I can do, and it feeds on itself.”

The Advanced Tai Ji Quan – Moving for Better Balance is next on Gail’s agenda because she wants to keep building strength and learning more. “I knew a little bit about Tai Chi when I started, but I like that this class is tailored for balance and older adults who are starting to notice they’re having balance issues,” she said. “The instructor was great, and I’m more of an introvert, so online classes work well for me. It’s a perfect fit!”


Improve your balance and strengthen your muscles to reduce your risk of falling and enjoy doing things you love. Take Juniper's Tai Ji Quan – Moving for Better Balance class to help you stay mobile and independent. Learn more about virtual and in-person classes near you.

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