Are you feeling stressed and overwhelmed with school, work or just life in general? Fear not. Your answer to this stress is Tai Chi, a class here at West Chester University led by a professor in the department of kinesiology, recipient of WCU’s “Honors Outstanding Faculty Award,” music producer, writer and engineer and leader of the Corporate Wellness and Mindfulness Programs in the business community, Mitch Goldfarb.
His Tai Chi course is part of the Contemplative Studies program here at West Chester. Professor Goldfarb has taught Tai Chi Form, Tai Chi Sword, Qi Gong and Push Hands for over 20 years. He has shared the art of Tai Chi for over a dozen years at West Chester University, hosting World Tai Chi Day on the Quad with his students for several years.
Professor Goldfarb has written and recorded numerous mediation albums including five for Dr. Deepak Chopra. His latest, “Native Path,” for Tai Chi, yoga and meditation is available on iTunes.
As a founding partner of two world-class recording studios, KAJEM and VICTORY in Philadelphia, Professor Goldfarb also now owns Rack Do Studios in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.
He is also a two-time Grammy nominee and has produced, written and/or engineered for Lou Rawls, Cinderella, Bon Jovi, Clarence Clemmons and jazz greats Peter Erskine, Eddie Gomez and Grover Washington, Jr. among other headline artists.
He has won awards for his work with Teddy Pendergrass, George Benson, Hammer, Gorky Park, Pretty Poison and others. Mitch has traveled the world recording for television and films, including “ABC 20/20,” “Good Morning America,” “CNN’s Headline News,” “Turner Broadcasting” and “The Guiding Light.”
West Chester University’s Mitch Goldfarb is fascinated by the phrase “Do Less—Achieve More,” one of the backbones of Tai Chi’s Taoist philosophy.
He’s investigated the benefits of practicing an exercise that elevates “Laziness to an Art Form.”
Tai Chi is a wonderful mind-body activity of renewal for spirit and energy that has the potential to be life-changing.
Tai Chi is a “highly effective martial and meditative art that can be done by anyone, enjoyably.”
According to Professor Goldfarb, it is a “system of slow moving postures that flow together beautifully; creating a form (choreography), which promotes health, wellness, balance and harmony in life. When a person is in balance and harmony, everything works better from relationships, to finances, to schoolwork, to just feeling better about yourself.”
Stress has been researched, known and regarded as an underlying cause of many illnesses.
In May 2009, the Harvard Medical and Health Publication said that Tai Chi, and many other mind-body practices, should just as well be called “medication in motion.”
In November 2012, Harvard Medical School Health Publication released, “Five of the Best Exercises You Can Ever Do” and Tai Chi came in as number two.
Along with other research, the Mayo Clinic promotes Tai Chi as a gentle, effective way to combat stress.
Some of the benefits of Tai Chi include the following: decreased stress and anxiety, increased aerobic capacity, energy, stamina, flexibility, balance, agility and muscle strength and definition.
Along with these benefits includes enhanced sleep quality and immune system, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, improvements in joint pain, symptoms of congestive heart failure and reduction in the risk of falls in older adults.
All of these benefits lead to improvements in your overall well-being.
Professor Goldfarb, in regards to the focus of Tai Chi’s study, said, “One focus of Tai Chi’s study is on using the body as an integrated structure, resulting in fluid movement that honors our physiology. By relaxing and aligning the skeletal structure, Tai Chi removes physical stress from the body, especially the joints, allowing outside forces and gravity to freely pass through. Next, emotional, mental and psychological stress starts to disappear. The result: we are calm and peaceful, and we begin to flow through all the events and circumstances of our lives.”
So, are you still not yet convinced Tai Chi is for you? Professor Goldfarb says to talk to someone who has taken the Tai Chi class here at West Chester University.
I interviewed senior communications major, Dominic Rossano, who said, “Tai Chi provided activity that involved slow, concentrated breathing and mindfulness. Taking Tai Chi really helped me to relax and destress and I still practice some of the movements today when I feel overwhelmed or unbalanced.”
Professor Goldfarb said, “One of the goals of the art of Tai Chi is the application of the Tai Chi principles along with its focus, Xin Yi (the Heart-Mind), in our daily life, relationships and work, to help us attain our dreams and desires. And what could be better? With Tai Chi’s mindful awareness, we learn to relax while building our energy, connection to people and the world around us.”
Join West Chester University’s Mitch Goldfarb and find out for yourself: PEA 144 T’ai Chi Ch’uan!
Zoe Falcone is a third-year student majoring in exercise science with a minor in psychology. She can be reached at ZF850107@wcupa.edu.