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BREAKING NEWS

Seniors are finding balance

By Staff | Jun 28, 2015

Carol Soma is trained in Tai Ji Quan:?Moving for Better Balance program and has been teaching classes in Blue Earth. She is pictured above demonstrating various Tai Chi forms involved in the program. Below, a couple of participants are following the forms. To see more photos, go to cu.faribaultcountyregister.com

A?new class in town is turning heads, and bodies, especially of the seniors who are involved.

Interfaith Caregivers is sponsoring a program which promotes better balance, except it is not the type of class one might immediately think of.

Instead of sitting at tables and listening to speakers, this class has seniors up and moving, working toward better balance.

That’s because this class is based around the program Tai Ji Quan:?Moving for Better Balance.

Carol Soma, who has been doing yoga for a number of years, was recently trained to instruct the Ti Ji Quan program which she says is a little less intimidating for individuals than yoga.

“This is definitely a more approachable program for people,” Soma says. “Especially for seniors.”

Soma got started by teaching the class in Albert Lea, but many people in the Blue Earth area heard about the program and thought she should try to teach it here.

She had been working for senior resources in Albert Lea at the time and they had gotten a grant which paid for the program.

So when she tried to look into teaching the class in Blue Earth, she found that this area had not applied for a similar grant.

Still interested in bringing the program to seniors in the Blue Earth area, Soma continued to explore options.

“That’s when I talked to Interfaith and they decided to sponsor the class,”?she explains. “I was very happy they decided to pick it up.”

Since then, the class has been in session for five weeks and the individuals enrolled are to attend twice a week for 12 weeks.

And some of the students have already noticed a difference because of the classes.

“It is so rewarding to teach this class,”?Soma says. “There are such great gains, so fast.”

Ti?Ji Quan:?Moving for Better Balance is a program designed for older adults to help improve their balance and reduce their risk of falls. In fact, research shows that those who finish the program are half as likely to fall and are less fearful of falling.

“This program is all evidence based and it definitely improves their balance,”?Soma says.

Geared toward seniors, this class is offered two days a week and the students should attend each week as well as practicing between classes.

By participating in the Ti Ji Quan program individuals learn balance skills, body alignment and will see improved physical health, improved balance, improved muscle strength, and better mental health.

“We really focus on three things in this class,”?Soma says. “Breathing, strength and coordination.”

And since the program is geared toward seniors, those who aren’t able to stand as long can still participate.

“You can do the whole thing sitting in a chair,”?she adds.

And the program is designed for seniors or older adults to see a difference during and following those 12 weeks of class, and easier to remember than the complete art of Tai Chi.

“This program has eight forms and Tai Chi has 108 forms,”?Soma adds, all it takes is those eight forms.

Although this class has already begun and is in it’s fifth week, the opportunity for others to take the class is not completely out of the question.

In fact, Soma hopes to see some future classes added later on down the road.

“We are already talking about adding another class next summer,”?she says.

So, if you are in the AgCenter and notice a group of seniors stretching, moving and shaking, it’s all to help improve their balance and overall health by parti-cipating in Ti Ji Quan.