tai chi piccreativecommons.org/DolfinDans

Instead of hitting the sweat-soaked gym, why not go ahead and skip it? Instead, slap on some sun screen and get out into the fresh air for some low impact, stress-relieving Tai Chi.

Tai Chi, or Tai Chi Chuan as it is written in Chinese, is a Chinese martial art that was originally designed for defense. However, now it is seen as one of the best low impact exercises for people who have bodies that cannot handle higher impact aerobic work outs.

In western cultures, Tai Chi is described as a mix between yoga and meditation, making it a refreshing stress-relieving activity for many people. There are Tai Chi classes all around the world, but many instructors take their classes outdoors to be surrounded by nature.

Griffith Park Tai Chi in Los Angeles, California

Griffith Park is celebrating 45 years of offering free Tai Chi classes to interested individuals. Every Saturday since 1968, groups of people have gathered in Griffith Park at Bronson Canyon to practice Tai Chi. Rain or shine, the group meets every Saturday at 10am.

Bronson Canyon has served as the backdrop for a number of movies and television shows. While a number of movies are still shot on location there, now it plays host to this free Tai Chi class where a number of stars often show up to participate. The area is peaceful, serene and perfect for Tai Chi.

Sunrise Tai Chi in City Park, Denver, Colorado

Every Thursday at 7am, Tai Chi enthusiasts gather in Denver’s City Park for Tai Chi. This free class is part of the ‘Exercise is Medicine’ program, which aims to make a healthy lifestyle an integral part of health care in Colorado.

Participants in the class gather on the grassy knoll facing the central fountain in City Park and practice until 8am, so it’s perfect for those who want to get a little exercise and peace before a day’s work.

Tai Chi Healthways in San Diego, California

Tai Chi Healthways is a company in San Diego that believes the only way to practice Tai Chi is outdoors. The company also offers other forms of Chinese martial arts, including Qigong and Kung Fu.

Tai Chi Healthways hosts numerous professionally-trained grandmasters from China, but most classes are conducted under the watchful eye of Master Jesse Tsao, PhD in Wushu from Shanghai Sport University. He is known internationally as a Tai Chi master, Qigong therapist and the founder of Tai Chi Healthways.

Sun Yat-Sen Square Tai Chi in Montreal, Quebec

On any given morning in Sun Yat-Sen Square in Montreal’s Chinatown you can see Tai Chi classes taking place. Classes take place on the hour from 7am to 11am.

Beginners’ classes take place indoors, but the intermediate and more advanced students are taken out into Sun Yat-Sen Square. This square may seem like a busy place to practice this martial art which takes a decent amount of focus, but therein lies the challenge. Those who can block out the noise are well on their way to becoming a true master.