Carol Haynes studied Tai Chi in the 1970s at Mesa Community College (MCC). At 84 years old, today she teaches classes in both the Chandler Senior Center and La Casita Recreation Center at Dobson Ranch in Mesa. Every Wednesday from the introductory class at 9 a.m. to the intermediate at 10 a.m., Haynes imparts skill and knowledge at the locale on Guadalupe and Alma School. Her class sizes range from 1 student to ten, often the elderly and female.
The Dobson-Ranch run center charges $5 for non-residents. Haynes took classes with Debbie Gordon through MCC and then took to the ground running herself. Admittedly Haynes confessed that Tai Chi might not be popular, but this has not deterred her momentum. “I don’t know how long I’ve had [my own class] at least 20 years, maybe longer,” Haynes said. “If I didn’t do Tai Chi I’d probably be using a walker.”
Studies have shown that Tai Chi is a gentle but powerful way to fight stress and accrue numerous health benefits. In fact, a 2015 report by the Harvard Health Publications indicates that Tai Chi “has value in treating or preventing many health problems.” Those in Haynes’ class say they participate for this very reason. “I’m really into the healing arts… this is the next step,” first-time attendee Bodhi Croy said.
“Because I’m getting arthritis I need something to get me moving,” Candy Ehrlich, long-time participant, said. “It does help with movement, even though it looks like you’re moving slow. The first time I came to [Carol’s] class it felt like I’d been riding a horse. I used muscles I didn’t know I had.” Hanyes said Tai Chi requires no equipment, but a small space, and is good for balance and the memory. “It takes strength to stand still.”