top of page

Tai Chi (Taijiquan 太极拳)

Breathe.     Read slowly .  Repeat as needed.

Tai Chi is a martial art, now commonly practiced for its numerous and extraordinary health effects.  It's name, meaning "supreme ultimate fist" speaks to the power that can be felt when you learn how to relax into perfect physical alignment.

Perfect physical alignment means that no matter one's position, chi reaches every cell.  

This means that energy flows freely through the body, one's power expressed with the least amount of effort. 


Simply put, this also means nutrition, oxygen and blood reaches every single cell - 

improving health, natural radiance, detoxification, and everything else health.  

This is not some woo woo methodology; although Tai chi has plenty of ancient Daoist teachings encoded in its movements.  Rather, it's a matter of smart physical principles that encourage total engagement of all the muscles and tissues; This, combined with self-guided relaxation, ensures the blood vessels remain open enough to reach all cells.  

Benefits of Tai Chi

The benefits of Taijiquan (pron. "Taì gee chu-en") are numerous.   Apart from making you look cool,

and a feeling of total tranquility (as well as more insight into the nature of what Is) - 
tai chi's well-researched benefits include
⬆️ balance ⬆️ strength ⬆️ cognition + . . . 
Read more (opens a window you can close).

The structure of this page is as follows
(click on each to be taken right to that section):

I. Tai Chi Course Options
II.  About the Instructor
III. Tai Chi Essentials Reading


Class Types 

I. Essence of Tai Chi (aka Biomechanics of optimal flow)
II.  Tai Chi Demos (tranquility in walking and warm ups)

III.  Tai Chi Adventures (hiking, tai chi, community)

*Of course, in Tai Chi, as in life; we continue to engage with our aims,
both relaxing into them and maintaining a receptivity to change.  The receptivity ensures we don't miss a thing, the relaxation ensures flexibility, and the structure keeps us constant.  

Essence of Tai Chi  
Biomechanics of Optimal Flow
(Twelve-Week Course)

The most practical language you'll ever learn

In this twelve week course, we'll use the vehicle of the Tai Chi Thirteen expressions to explore the mechanics of optimal circulation.  What makes Tai Chi Tai Chi? It's the physical principles we learn in this course - principles that can be applied to make sitting, moving and standing - more healthful.

Tai chi is not simply about relaxation. 

It's about working on alignment,

and then relaxing into the process.


When considering life, it's when we allow things to line up,
that we can truly relax, kno
wing we've planned as much as possible for success. Tai chi is the physical practice of this -  

among many other things*.


While we may not cover the encoded esoteric teachings within Tai chi during this course (e.g. the relationship of each movement to the eight trigrams and sixty four hexagrams of the I Ching (Chinese book of changes, older than most other classics >200 BC)) - we will cover the basics of Tai Chi Walking, The Tai Chi Thirteen (Energies/Postures/Expressions), and how to set up a regular practice).  

Most importantly, we'll cover the mechanical principles that make tai chi healthful.  

Enrollment.  Once we have six out of ten spots filled; we'll set a starting date for the class; during the interim we'll continue to accept students, before closing enrollment once the course begins.  The class will meet once/weekly for an hour; and we may host an open practice during which time feedback is minimal and we simply practice together.  If there is sufficient interest we may open another class section. 


Learn more about our sliding scale

Tai Chi Demo Class

Experience the tranquility of Tai Chi Walking and Warm Up.  

Tai Chi is a set of principles that take time -
first to remember, and then second to embody. 
There's enough complexity that many spend their entire lives mastering the craft.  
However, the basic principles are easily learned,
and find application in sitting, standing, and walking.  

Tai Chi Demo

This demo class is for those interested in tai chi (or at least in doing something great for their health), and/or who may not be quite ready for the main course.


Even if you're an expert,

there maybe a gem here for you, so come on out - 

get relaxed, get aligned, get taichi   !

  • Loading days...

Chi Adventures

For the adventurous learner

What could be better than hiking, waterfalls, local food, and tai chi?  Chi adventures are our once-monthly adventures during which we practice tai chi and chi gong as they were intended.  

Next Adventure: The Five Healing Sounds + The Labyrinth Trail 

Details and Dates TBA. Send us a text or e-mail to let us know you're interested in this rigorous, tranquil and majestic experience (⬇️). 
We'll update you when it's time to sign up.   

Taiji Tea_edited.jpg

Tim performing Tai Chi in tandem with his Chinese Teacher's tea presentation.  


Circle walking from martial and longevity art "eight trigram palm".  A local teacher & film star, this man starred in a film with Jet Li.  Changsha, Hunan province, China.  

Teaching Tai Chi at Chinese Learning Ins

Tim teaching rooftop Tai Chi to a group of locals and foreign students, Guilin, Guanxi province, China.  Read more about Tai Chi's numerous health benefits here.  

About Timothy
Next Section: Tai Chi Essentials Reading

Tim is a native Oregonian, at one time conditioned not to like the rain, he now embraces Nature in all her phases.  He is also a licensed massage therapist, 

A sixth year doctoral student of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine,

and a long term student and teacher of Tai Chi.  


He has over ten thousand hours designing and teaching health curriculum. 
He has spent well over that studying the most important aspects of
heart-mind-physical-spiritual health from a scientific research-
and wisdom tradition-based perspective.

This clear understanding of what's important,
and how to teach it in a comprehensive, personalized manner

is what allows his his services to remain simple and effective, 

with sustainable results.


Tim's goal is for all his clients to embody the knowledge

that keeps them enjoying life as long as possible. 


He hopes his sessions are fun.
He looks forward to meeting you.

Training and Qualifications

*Licensed Massage Therapist (Oregon + Washington)

*Sixth Year Doctoral Student - Classical Chinese Medicine at the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon, United States of America

  • 4,000+ Education Hours (400+ clinical hours)

  • 1000+ hours in massage, bodywork, acupuncture techniques and fundamentals

  • 300+ Hours in Biomedical Sciences (thousands more in undergraduate research, and hundreds more in mentorship-style conversations with Integrative Physician (ND, LAc) Dr. Paul Kalnins).

  • One year mentorship with David Berkshire (Master practitioner of Worsley Five-Element Acupuncture - a beautiful and holistic medical system)

  • One year mentorship with Dr. Glowacki (long-time student of 88th generation Daoist priest Jeffrey Yuen, holistic approaches to Chinese Medicine + Acupuncture)

  • Years of education with founding professor Dr. Heiner Fruehauf, who emphasizes the holistic nature of Classical Chinese Medicine as comprehensive worldview. Serving as current thesis advisor.  

*Certified Tai Chi and Five Element Medical Chi Gong Instructor

  • Ten years training total.  

  • Phoenix, Arizona, USA: Master Teachers Michael Leone, Jason Campbell, and Alan Venable (Tai Chi Long and Short forms, sword, broadsword, two-person fighting set, fire wheels, Eight trigram palm, Five Element Medical Chi Gong, Daoist Yoga).

  • Phoenix, Arizona, USA: Advanced Tai Chi Instruction with David Block, forty+ year teacher and lineage holder of Tung style tai chi (variant of the yang style from family lineage in Chen village).  

  • Changsha, Hunan Province, China: Chen Style TaiJi w/ Martin Ding (direct protege of the Chen-style representative for the entire province).

*Holistic Education Specialist

  • Over ten-thousand teaching and curriculum design hours, in public, private and non-profit wellness education settings.

  • Some master’s level training (twenty four credits, Arizona State University)

*Bachelor’s of Science, Psychology, Linfield University (2009-2013), minor in German language. 

  • Special Focus: Flow, positive psychology, and holistic analyses of caffeine use

  • Caffeine Awareness Education and Effects on Well-being

  • Understanding Caffeine: Macronutrient or harmful illusion?

Although Tim's doctoral degree is most nearly complete, he won't add Acupuncture to his practice until he completes thesis research and board exams (ETA 1.5 years). His research involves exploring the science of sound (modern and ancient) in therapeutic and educational settings.  Although the thesis is only a starting place for his later works, Tim's eventual aim is to design a complete health education system that uses sound in precise ways to enhance learning (at all levels).  


One example of his work - "Elemental Healing Sounds" - designed to enhanced the practices of meditation and tai chi (using the over three-thousand year old tone sequences for the five elements) -  now has close to one million views on YouTube; and has been used for reducing anxiety, helping in post-surgery recovery, traumatic brain injury, or as general supplement to guided relaxation by therapists and health practitioners.  

Me n' Tai Chi_edited.jpg
Heiner Fruehauf, PhD

Heiner Fruehauf, PhD

Paul Kalnins.jpeg

Paul Kalnins, ND, Lac

Ken Glowacki.jpeg

Dr. Glowacki, DACM, LAc


Michael Leone

David Block.jpeg

David Block

Article on Caffeine.png

Since earning his certification over ten years ago, Tim has taught Tai Chi in many settings, from MidWestern Medical School in Phoenix, to private mentorships, and non-profit settings, to a stint at the National University of Natural Medicine (where he has studied Classical Chinese Medicine now over six years). 

Tai Chi Articles

I.  The Ten Points of Awareness

II.  An Embodied Philosophy

III.  Push Hands as Two-Person Meditation (推手)

I-II. Some Core Tai Chi Concepts

The principles in Tai Chi are in place to help one gain a state of total body awareness. During a state of total body awareness, the breathing sinks to the lower belly, and the conduits of the body are completely open. This means that nothing is blocked and circulation is able to flow easily to every part of the body. Stagnant energy and filth - whether emotional or biological - begins to move. As stagnation moves out, the body's natural vibrance activates.


As natural vibrance activates, the individual is given opportunities to let go of disease-creating patterns and adopt newer and empowering ones. As the individual continues to make choices that flow from his or her natural vibrance, it becomes more and more difficult to experience disease and to depart from the Way of Health and Happiness. Therefore, it is said that when your practice becomes refined, "you gradually reach the point at which you cannot but achieve what you want."


Principles of Total Body Awareness


10 Points of Awareness

1. Lift the Crown of the Head

2. Sink the Tailbone to straighten the spine

3. Relax the Shoulders

4. Hollow the Chest, Slightly Round the Back.

5. Activate the Elbows [and open the armpits].

6. Extend through the Finger tips and Toes.

7. Slightly Bend the Knees. Knees above center of feet, pointing the same direction.*

8. Feet Shoulder Width Apart, Outside of Feet Parallel with Each other.

9. Legs Press in lightly, as if straddling a horse. Ideally you feel the whole leg active.

10. Relax the Abdomen and Sink Weight down until the Breath naturally goes there. Relax, Scan the Body, and Repeat until these 10 points of Awareness become natural habit.


*In a wider stance, it can be more difficult to have the knees point the exact same direction as the feet. In this situation it is more important to have the intention of the knees turning in towards each other. This activates the connective tissue in the whole leg.


2. Opposition Energy


In Tai Chi, every forward movement is balance by backward movement.
This is the principle of balancing Yin [moving back] with Yang Energies [Moving forward].

a) Lift the Crown on the Head and Drop the Tail Bone. This activates the back and neck. To straighten the neck, look straightforward and cock the chin slightly as if holding a cotton ball between the throat and chin. Then move the whole neck back so that the vertebrae are vertically stacked. It may feel a bit forceful if you are in the habit of "peering out" like a turtle [most people have some variation of this]. Relax any muscular tension by using a gentle "inner smile" - which works by helping bring energy and awareness up to the neck. This process of relaxing the neck can make "lifting from the crown of the head" a physical reality.

b) Sink the Chest and Open the Back. This is a slight pressing back from the center of the chest and an opening of the back. This activates the upper body.

c) As the hands lift up, sink down through your Hips; as the hands fall, rise up through the feet. As the Hands Move forward, Move back with the body; as the Hands Move back Pull Forward with the body.

d) Relax the Shoulders and Sink the Elbows, While Extending through the fingers and toes. This gives us an even better stretch than if the arm was just extended straight out! Even in postures like single whip, in which the hand is closed, our energy still extends outwards through the wrist. In tai chi it is common to pretend as if buckets of water are hanging from the elbows, and in some serious circles, people actually practice that way [though they generally start with very small amounts of water!


3. Make Everything Round. Everything should be slightly round, like a ball. This ensures that energy is constantly flowing. The back is slightly round, the backs of the fingers and the toes round, the fingers and toes curve round toward each other as if holding cotton balls. The thighs and feet point very slightly towards each other [this extremely slight turning in activates the fascial planes on the outside of the leg up through the area on the sacrum].


4. Choosing a Target for Your Energy. When performing physical movements, it is important to direct your energy towards something - whether this is a tree, mountain, direction or extension out onto the horizon. It is as if you will your energy to move far beyond your body, while still [keeping your rooting] being grounded within it. This same skill is used in healing and martial arts to organize energy flow.  If practicing martially, you may consider the applications of specific movements [e.g. elbow to the ribs, shoulder, karate chop to the neck, etc.]. Practicing outside in scenic and open areas is for these purposes ideal.

Remember, the inner focus is even more important than the external one - so ensure that in each outward mental expansion, the physical alignments remain solid.   

5. Moving Like a River. The common adage is to "move like a river, and stand like a mountain". This means, although our stance is very grounded, our movement is steady and smooth. Although certain movements may for a short time speed up or slow down, shoot to move at the same, steady pace. In general, the slower you move and the deeper breaths you take - the better. There is more opportunity to release tension and observe proper posture and principles. There is definitely a place for faster, more dynamic Tai Chi. But in the beginning, take the time to master the basics.


6. Remain at the same Height. In general, try and remain the same height. If you start the form low, stay low. When practicing walking meditation, it can help to anchor your gaze on one spot on the horizon.


7. Body Coordination Order. Eyes, Hips, Torso, Feet and Hands. Anchor the eyes to still the spirit, Activate movement from the lower abdomen, Follow with the Feet and Finish with the Hands.


Single Whip, Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska.

III.  Isn't Tai Chi a martial art.  Will we be learning this aspect?  

While we will bring attention to Tai Chi the martial art, we will primarily focus on the health aspects of Tai Chi.  Given adequate comfort, and safety, we may bring in two person meditation activities designed to develop flexibility and application of martial intelligence.  

Tai Chi Push Hands, Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska.  Pictured here: Siblings Timothy and Emily Prag

The community classes generally focus on the health aspects of Tai Chi. However, Tai Chi is first and foremost a martial art. Behind the smooth and flowing movements is a deadly intention. Although most prefer to visualize nice things while practicing, others may choose to practice "shadow boxing" - in which each movement is seen as a block or a blow to an enemy.


In this picture, I practice a "push-hands" exercise with my sister: This is the part where she gets cocky and tries to push me off balance - unsuccessfully!


Push-hands is designed to develop one's ability to be intentional as well as to relax completely when an opponent grabs on to your force and tries to use it against you. Although there are many push-hands exercises, the most basic is to get into basic Tai Chi stance, Connect hands with your partner and Push towards their center (while connecting with your own), until they yield by shifting their weight. If they wouldn't have fallen over without shifting their weight, you are not doing the exercise correctly. Your intent is to push through them.


Keeping the hands connected, your partner then pushes back towards your centerline, at which point you must yield (by shifting your body-weight) in order to avoid being pushed off balance. This basic pattern can continue as a meditative exercise, with each person exploring the other's structural weaknesses - whether through gentle energetic engagement or more forceful attempts to push the other person over. A trade secret - and the healers approach - is to adopt the intention of opening any places of energetic blockage in the other person. The way to do this is to find their structural weaknesses and through this give them opportunities to relax more deeply into their bodies, finding greater balance and strength.

Our liability waiver for all tai chi courses. 
Please review prior to signing up for all classes.  

bottom of page