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‘Balance for your life’

Tai Chi classes offered at Moorestown rec center

CHRISTINE HARKINSON/The Sun: Tai Chi instructor Wenrong Zou Atkins (center) teaches weekly classes at Moorestown’s recreation center, one of the department of parks and recreation’s many fitness programs.

The Moorestown Department of Parks and Recreation held its weekly Tai Chi class for the community on Jan. 24, led by instructor Wenrong Zou Atkins.

Tai Chi is one of the department’s many free fitness programs, a form of martial arts that concentrates on correct posture and breathing control. According to the township, Atkins has been practicing Tai Chi for many years and has trained under the tutelage of Wang Lijuan, Har Junsheng, Shen Chao and Zhi Ning. 

Atkins has also received awards that include gold medals at the 2016 U.S. Open Martial Arts Championship and second place at the 2016 Hong Kong International Wushu Championships. She teaches Tai Chi to people of all ages.

“Tai Chi is different,” she said. “They (students) can be very young – 4 years old, maybe very young – and adults can be maybe 80 years old. Before the start of class, I always tell students, try your best, don’t push too hard, because you are not a teenager, you are an adult.”

Atkins teaches morning classes at Moorestown’s rec center every Tuesday, with free classes this month. She also teaches free Tai Chi classes at the Mount Laurel Community Center on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

“This place is so big, and I think it’s just that people don’t know where they can do it,” Atkins said of the center. “I like to share my experience and help people. It’s very important.”

Parks and rec also has additional fitness programs such as yoga and Zumba, pottery classes, baking and culinary classes, senior groups and kids’ programs for residents.

“It’s very exciting to see people who have never done Tai Chi or yoga or a fitness class (to) come in or play pickleball for the first time,” said Theresa Miller, director of recreation. 

Atkins noted what she admires about Tai Chi, specifically how it keeps everything in one’s life balanced.

“In China, we think of Tai Chi as not only sports; it’s one kind of life philosophy,” she explained. “You should balance two sides. For example, you balance your job, you balance your family, and you make everything stable.”

“If you only focus on one side, you will lose the other side. Tai Chi teaches you to keep balance for your life.”

Visit https://www.moorestown.nj.us/642/Parks-Recreation for information on upcoming parks and rec programs.

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