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By Danielle Wong

Stressed-out Ryerson students need to make “serenity in the midst of activity” part of their routine, t’ai chi chih instructor Dina Ajlenberg said.

But, if you feel lost in the moves of t’ai chi, a new beginners program at Ryerson called t’ai chi chih will help students find their inner energy.

Ajlenberg will be leading an eight-week course for Ryerson students at the Ryerson Catholic Chaplaincy Centre on 64 McGill St. Each class is an hour long and the entire course only costs $15.

Ryerson Catholic chaplaincy member Kim Gottfried, who has a background in dance and prayer, initiated the classes.

“The main reason we started these lessons,” she said, “Was to offer young people the opportunity to let go of stress and enable them to pray from whatever faith they come from.”

T’ai chi chih, which means “the knowledge of the supreme ultimate,” is 32-years-old, a relatively modern and unique form of t’ai chi. It involves 19 moves and one pose. This is not to be mistaken with the martial art t’ai chi chuan, which consists of 108 moves.

Its founder, Justin Stone, realized the west wanted instant gratification and didn’t have the time for 108 moves, Aljenberg said. So, his new form can be done in 15 minutes in the morning.

“It’s effort without effort,” Aljenberg said, adding that there are no strict rules on clothing and that it can be done both indoors and outdoors.

In addition to manipulating your chi (natural energy), she said, benefits of the practice include better creativity and concentration.

Focusing your thoughts more internally, said acting instructional program co-ordinator Evangelia Taylor, is also a goal for the regular and power yoga classes at the RAC.

Power yoga, or ashtanga, is more aggressive, more complex and involves faster moves than regular yoga.

However, Taylor believes that it isn’t the speed or complexity of the moves that count.

“Any form of time spent away from the computer is beneficial,” Taylor said.

“Students can gain strength (doing yoga) it’s not only stretch-based like everyone thinks.” The RAC classes, she said, help to improve flexibility and emotions.

Regular yoga classes on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday nights and power yoga classes on Wednesday nights are popular. Some nights they are completely maxed out at their limit of 20 people, so get there early.

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