The physical-health benefits of Tai Chi are legion, but Toronto practitioners know the real transformation is all in the mind.
The headquarters of the Fung Loy Kok Institute of Taoism resides in a charmingly humble two-storey building on D’Arcy Street in Chinatown. On a recent Wednesday morning, 50 advanced Tai Chi practitioners spread out across the open lower level, arranged themselves into rows, and executed an unbroken string of 108 fluid movements. For long stretches of time, as the group gracefully swept their limbs up and down and in and out in perfect unison—not unlike a flock of flamingoes performing a line dance—the room fell completely silent. With each move attached to a highly memorable name such as “Retreat to Ride Tiger,” “Go Back to Ward Off Monkey,” or “Waves Hands Like Clouds,” it’s no wonder the group needed very little direction. Andrew Hung, who leads this particular class each week, did pipe in occasionally, one time reminding participants to keep their weight focused towards the ground. “Be steamrollers,” he said.