Formerly a statistician in China, Lily Ping He teaches Tai Chi classes at Covenant Wellness Center in Waterloo.
Tai Chi is an ancient form of martial arts created about 300 years ago in China. It engages the whole body in rhythmic and precise movements.
Growing up in China, Lily first started with martial arts then switched to Tai Chi.
"In China, the children learn martial arts and as they get older they switch to Tai Chi," said Lily Ping He.
She moved to the U.S. with her family in 1994 and began teaching Tai Chi. She's taught at Covenant Wellness Center in Waterloo since 2001.
"She is very kind and tolerant as well as being very knowledgeable in her subject. I think she has learned from the masters, and we had the benefit of that," said student Jack Garrett.
Thanks to Jack Garrett's wife's influence, he joined Lily's class six years ago.
"She thought we needed a gentle exercise class of some kind and this fits the bill for us," said Garrett.
Even though the movements are slow and anyone can learn Tai Chi...
"Sometimes people think it's easy. It's not easy," said Lily Ping He.
It may not be easy, but it does have many health benefits. He said Tai Chi is known to improve balance, increase flexibility, lower blood pressure and slow the aging process. It's also good for your mind.
"It's very relaxing," said Garrett.
Tai Chi is for people of all ages and abilities. The only requirements: loose clothes, soft shoes and a willingness to try each movement.
"You don't have to be perfect at it," said Jack Garrett.
Lily Ping He is a U.S. Citizen, but she's going back to China at the end of October to further her education and to be closer to her son. She doesn't expect the move to be permanent.
"I'm sure I will come back," she said.
Come back and visit all of her Tai Chi students, who she said are also her family.