By Shawn Spicer
CCC Journalism Program
Camden County College offers yoga and tai chi classes for health and exercise science electives. Both classes are based on ancient philosophies that focus on improving one’s mental, physical, and spiritual state.
Both classes have a lot of similarities, but offer different benefits and exercises. Yoga focuses on increasing balance and strength, and has its practitioners hold poses for an extended period of time while meditating.
Megan Browne, a sophomore from Gloucester City whose major is pre-nursing, said that yoga helps make her studies more productive by clearing her mind. Browne, who started yoga in high school and has been practicing for five years, said that the CCC class “balances the physical and spiritual aspect very well.”
Both classes open students up to new ways of thinking about health.
Yoga teaches chakras, which are concentrated centers of energy that focus on different levels of life improvement. Tai Chi teaches meridians, which are the “highways of the body”, according to CCC’s tai chi teacher Lorraine Moran, and can be stimulated by acupuncture.
Moran, 64, is a lifelong practitioner of tai chi who started at age 16. She has been teaching tai chi for about 20 years, and got her start at a YMCA where she created a water Tai Chi class. Moran said students have told her the practices “help them concentrate and relieve anger.”
Moran, who has written multiple books, said that tai chi’s breathing exercises help her calm down whenever she gets angry that a plot point isn’t working.
According to Moran, the biggest differences between the two is that Tai Chi is more of a “moving meditation” that can also be used as a “very deadly martial art,” but is mostly used for its health benefits. Moran also said that Tai Chi can help with arthritis, balance, and coordination.