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By Chris Frost
Oxnard-- It was a perfect day to unite one world and one breath, Saturday, April 24, as World Tai Chi Day brought happy seniors to Oxnard Beach Park for free demonstrations, and the group joined in the 10 am global Tai Chi session.
Tai Chi is an internal Chinese martial art used for meditation, physical fitness, and health benefits.
Kim Dizon works for the City of Oxnard and said World Tai Chi Day is celebrated on the last weekend in April every year. She led the group.
"We show appreciation and honor for Tai Chi and its many health benefits," she said. "Today, we are going to be having our Tai Chi Moving for Better Balance instructors do a couple of demonstrations we typically do in class. We'll also have a long-form demonstration by Clifton Gore students, and they'll be doing a long-form demonstration of Tai Chi. We will also do Quigong, which I believe is a breathing exercise. We'll be doing two 5-minute portions of those.
The group closed with a 30-minute guided meditation from Vinay Chhabra from Pacific Senior Care.
"I worked for Marisue (Eastlake), who's in charge of RSVP (Retired & Senior Volunteer Program), and she helps place volunteers," Dizon said. "In 2018, we had our first event. We had just heard about it, and we thought it would be something our seniors would be interested in doing. During our first event, it was successful, and we did similar things: Tai Chi demonstrations, guided meditation, a painted rock activity, and presentation."
The movements in the class are beginner-level, she said, so anyone can join in the fun.
"You don't need any prior experience, and it's slow-moving, so you can follow along," she said.
Toni Nevitt started with the group when she moved to Ventura County from the east coast eight years ago, and she was looking to do something.
"I got involved taking Tai Chi through RSVP and the City Rec Department," she said. "I got so into it; I had never done anything like that before. I did pilates, but that's all. Susan (Dizon) taught a class, I went, and I loved it. I became certified two years ago, and I teach a class."
In fall 2020, they started a class at Oxnard Beach Park.
"We have over 25 people come down here outside," she said. "I love it; I love being back here and being outside. Exercise gives me a lot of inner peace with a little movement."
Her biggest Tai Chi benefit is being more aware.
"When I start walking, I feel secure enough," she said. "I worked in Manhattan my whole career, so your head's down. I'm more aware of my surroundings, and my posture has improved."
Lisa Gordon loves the social aspect of the class.
"It improves my balance and mental attitude," she said. "I had fallen before in the past, but I've spent my whole life being really clumsy. I used to walk down a hallway and crash into a wall. That's the kind of balance problem I used to have."
While everyone was locked down because of Covid-19, she said one of the instructors did a Zoom class.
"I was able to continue with that, but when Toni (Nevitt) started this class out at the beach, I mean, you've got to come to this place," she said. "This class is the best place in the world to be. You have to work at it even harder than in your living room because the ground is so uneven. It forces that balance."
She loves being part of the RSVP program.
"I appreciate that the City of Oxnard is doing this for us," she said.
To get involved with the RSVP Program in Oxnard, call 805-385-8019 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.