Skip links

Wake up with tai chi in the formal gardens

If you’ve been in the park on Tuesday or Thursday mornings these past few weeks, you may have noticed a growing group of Tai Chi practitioners near the formal gardens. These free Tai Chi lessons are being offered by local instructor Marjean Liggett. We checked in with Marjean to see how the lessons are progressing, and to learn a bit more about this fascinating practice.

Tai chi groupWho takes these lessons at Overton Park?

Everyone is welcome, including drop-ins who are just curious and want to try it out. Tai Chi is taught as a series of moves, but these classes are structured to be easily accessible, so that you can join in at any time. We usually do 30 minutes of warm-up exercises, and then spend 20 minutes learning new moves. The warm-ups are based on qigong and are designed to teach some of the basic principles of Tai Chi movements. We have about five people who have attended every class, plus a few other regulars, but we also have new students for each class.

What’s it like teaching outdoors?

Tai Chi is traditionally done outside, and recommended to be practiced first thing in the morning, or before bed. Outdoor classes are likely to be appealing to people who are already enjoying the park in other ways. Runners or walkers can do a class before or after their other activities. For me, teaching these classes in the park is something I look forward to. I like feeling the earth beneath my feet and the sky above me. My soul is happiest when I’m outside.

Marjean LiggettTell us more about what you teach.

I teach the Yang style Tai Chi, from the Cheng Man Ch’ing lineage, as was taught by Jean Sullivan. There are 67 moves in the whole series, and I’m teaching 16 moves in this set of classes. This 8-week session runs through next week, then starts over on September 8.

Do you teach in other locations? What makes the park special?

While I enjoy teaching in the park because I can get here on my bicycle, I’ve also led small group lessons in other locations. I really enjoy meeting new people. I love the fact that I have an 8th grader who attends my class here in the park before he heads to school at Snowden.

Note: Classes will not be held on October 13 and 15, but they will resume on October 20!