Balancing act helps SCV seniors

By Katharine Lotze

Last update: Friday, September 23rd, 2016

It’s one of the very first moves that helps Bill Phillips of Stevenson Ranch the most.

“It’s been sort of a godsend,” Phillips says.

The move, a gentle rock from side to side, shifting bodyweight from one foot to the other, has helped Phillips with his diabetes and neuropathy. It’s a move he learned in his two years at the Santa Clarita Valley’s bi-weekly Tai Chi classes taught by instructor Allen Wells.

Wells, of Lancaster, took over the program about three years ago, after the prior instructor passed away. He decided to step up as a teacher.

“I didn’t want to see the program die,” he says.

Santa Clarita Valley senior center tai chi students move through the beginning set at the start of the August 2 class. Katharine Lotze/Signal
Santa Clarita Valley senior center tai chi students move through the beginning set at the start of the August 2 class. Katharine Lotze/Signal

Wells says tai chi bring the imbalanced into balance – a lesson that Phillips has learned first-hand. Now whenever he stands up and doesn’t feel steady, he starts to rock gently from side to side. After two or three minutes, he’s ready to go.

“It’s helped a lot,” Phillips says.

Wells teaches 90 minutes of tai chi each Tuesday and Thursday at the senior center starting at 8 a.m. Classes are $2 for seniors, and $3 for non-seniors. Each class starts with a beginning section for 30 minutes, then moves to an advanced section after a short break. Wells recommends that new students attend as beginners for a few weeks before continuing into the advanced section.

Tai chi instructor Allen Wells leads students through beginning movements at the senior center's tai chi class on August 2. Katharine Lotze/Signal
Tai chi instructor Allen Wells leads students through beginning movements at the senior center’s tai chi class on August 2. Katharine Lotze/Signal

But even after the first class, students will get the basics.

By the time class ends, Wells says, students will have“knowledge of what tai chi is.”

Cheryl Daniel has always wanted to learn tai chi, and came to the August 2 class at a friend’s suggestion.

“I really like it,” she says. She plans to keep coming back.

“If you stick it out, you learn.”

Tai chi instructor Allen Wells leads students through beginning movements at the senior center's tai chi class on August 2. Katharine Lotze/Signal
Tai chi instructor Allen Wells leads students through beginning movements at the senior center’s tai chi class on August 2. Katharine Lotze/Signal

 

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Balancing act helps SCV seniors

Tai chi instructor Allen Wells leads students through beginning movements at the senior center's tai chi class on August 2. Katharine Lotze/Signal

It’s one of the very first moves that helps Bill Phillips of Stevenson Ranch the most.

“It’s been sort of a godsend,” Phillips says.

The move, a gentle rock from side to side, shifting bodyweight from one foot to the other, has helped Phillips with his diabetes and neuropathy. It’s a move he learned in his two years at the Santa Clarita Valley’s bi-weekly Tai Chi classes taught by instructor Allen Wells.

Wells, of Lancaster, took over the program about three years ago, after the prior instructor passed away. He decided to step up as a teacher.

“I didn’t want to see the program die,” he says.

Santa Clarita Valley senior center tai chi students move through the beginning set at the start of the August 2 class. Katharine Lotze/Signal
Santa Clarita Valley senior center tai chi students move through the beginning set at the start of the August 2 class. Katharine Lotze/Signal

Wells says tai chi bring the imbalanced into balance – a lesson that Phillips has learned first-hand. Now whenever he stands up and doesn’t feel steady, he starts to rock gently from side to side. After two or three minutes, he’s ready to go.

“It’s helped a lot,” Phillips says.

Wells teaches 90 minutes of tai chi each Tuesday and Thursday at the senior center starting at 8 a.m. Classes are $2 for seniors, and $3 for non-seniors. Each class starts with a beginning section for 30 minutes, then moves to an advanced section after a short break. Wells recommends that new students attend as beginners for a few weeks before continuing into the advanced section.

Tai chi instructor Allen Wells leads students through beginning movements at the senior center's tai chi class on August 2. Katharine Lotze/Signal
Tai chi instructor Allen Wells leads students through beginning movements at the senior center’s tai chi class on August 2. Katharine Lotze/Signal

But even after the first class, students will get the basics.

By the time class ends, Wells says, students will have“knowledge of what tai chi is.”

Cheryl Daniel has always wanted to learn tai chi, and came to the August 2 class at a friend’s suggestion.

“I really like it,” she says. She plans to keep coming back.

“If you stick it out, you learn.”

Tai chi instructor Allen Wells leads students through beginning movements at the senior center's tai chi class on August 2. Katharine Lotze/Signal
Tai chi instructor Allen Wells leads students through beginning movements at the senior center’s tai chi class on August 2. Katharine Lotze/Signal

 

About the author

Katharine Lotze

Katharine Lotze

Katharine Lotze is a photojournalist and columnist at the Signal, and can be found photographing daily life in Santa Clarita, or writing personal essays about her own daily life.