Exercise benefits local church participants | Lifestyles

BJ Charbonneau says it didn’t take long for him to recognize the benefits of tai chi.

When I started I was probably 215 and my blood pressure and cholesterol weren’t good, ”she said. , ‘and I said’ I teach tai chi ‘, and she said’ aha, keep doing it. ‘ Because I had lost six or seven pounds by then and all of my numbers were within the normal range. “

Charbonneau now teaches “soft martial art,” as well as flexibility classes at 4 pm Wednesdays at Grace Episcopal Church.

Grace is one of the many churches that allow people to organize exercise classes in the church. Martha Stoodley, who has 22 years of experience, teaches Monday morning yoga classes at the Presbyterian Church in Muskogee.

Charbonneau, who was Eucharistic minister to Grace, attributes tai chi to her health. She said that for the past 10 years she had only been sick “one morning and one afternoon.”

“My numbers stayed in the desirable range. My weight stayed low until last year, when I sat on my butt during COVID,” she said. “I am flexible. My balance is very good. I am in very good shape for someone who is 75 years old.”

She said she started teaching tai chi 11 years ago when she asked about classes at Muskogee Swim and Fitness. One official said a tai chi instructor came to teach the instructors, Charbonneau recalls.

“It was kind of a fluke. I got into it by accident,” she said.

Charbonneau began teaching shortly thereafter and gave classes in Wagoner and Okay. She said she had first year students.

Church classes began about three years ago.

“It has some amazing benefits that you just don’t think about when you first start doing it,” she said. “This particular shape specifically for balance, range of motion and flexibility.”

She combines tai chi with lessons on how to relieve arthritis by improving flexibility.

“It’s kind of fun, 60s music for flex, and tai chi is relaxing,” she said.

Group member Selby Minner said the class helps him improve his balance.

“You move foot after foot for 45 minutes and your upper body is doing all kinds of stuff, and your feet are kind of energized,” Minner said.

LaShaun Luckey said she started the class to improve her balance.

“But I like it,” she said. “It’s peaceful. It keeps me on track to do other things.”

Stoodley said she has taught yoga in several churches around Muskogee over the years. She said each of her current classes has 14 people.

“They are partially standing, partially sitting on the chair, partially hanging on a chair,” she said. “It’s a range of stretches. We do more stretches than we do conventional yoga poses. If we do classic yoga poses, we do them while leaning on a chair.”

She said yoga was good for “everything from flexibility of the spine to improving breathing and blood circulation.”

“We’re having a lot of fun, because it’s good for your heart,” she said.

Stoodley said over the past 22 years his classes have changed as his students have matured.

“There is a small group that has been with me for 22 years,” she said.

If you are going to

WHAT: Tai Chi and FLEX.

WHEN: 4 p.m. Wednesday.

O: Parish Hall of Grace Episcopal Church, 218 N. Sixth St.

Admission fee.

WHAT: Yoga class.

WHEN: 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. on Monday.

O: Muskogee Presbyterian Church, 2000 Haskell Blvd.

COT: $ 5 per class.

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Richard V. Johnson

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