Al Roblee Shares Tai Chi with Fellow Residents

Published: April 29, 2022

Scotia Village is a community full of interesting residents who enjoy sharing their stories and talents. That includes Al Roblee, a resident who teaches classes in Tai Chi and other forms of exercise that help residents improve their fitness and wellbeing.

Starting soon after he and his wife, Martha, moved to Scotia Village in 2016, Al went to management and expressed an interest in leading a Tai Chi class. As is often the case when residents have an idea for something they want to do, the community’s staff and management were all for it. “I told the wellness director what I wanted to do,” explains Al. “And she said let’s do it.”

Since then, Al has added two other classes: one in Qi Qong, another form of Tai Chi; and Ai Chi, a form of Tai Chi that is done in a swimming pool. The classes were an immediate success as residents look for ways to stay fit.

The nature of Tai Chi makes the classes very accessible whether a resident has never tried it before or has been practicing it for years. “It is Tai Chi for seniors,” he says. “Starting with slow, meditative breathing techniques and slow, gentle stretching designed to improve the body from the inside out. It takes time to learn but you just do the best you can while you’re doing it.”

Over the years and through the colder months during the pandemic, the class numbers went down. But each of the sessions still attracts a cadre of loyal attendees. “Some people come one or two times a week or just to the pool session,” explains Al. “Some come just once in a while. And then some come every class. It’s at your own discretion... My mother, Margaret, is a resident and 95. She comes to class three times a week.”

Al started taking Tai Chi in the early 1990s and practiced it informally for years until he and Martha moved to Columbia, South Carolina in 2008. It was there he began taking classes from a Tai Chi master at the Lourie Center three to four times a week.

Along with being a great way to physically and mentally keep yourself healthy, Al notes that part of the exercise’s appeal is that there’s no equipment or special shoes you have to buy. “You just have to have the desire to improve,” he adds. “I talk everybody through each of the movements.”

The classes at Scotia Village meet two times per week for Tai Chi and Qi Qong. The Ai Chi class meets at the pool once a week. And Al is always ready to welcome new residents who want to give Tai Chi a try.

"Do it for yourself," he adds. “It’s meant to be there for you to enjoy.”

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