ARMONK, N.Y. – Though I intended only to observe the class and take some pictures, tai chi teacher Charlotte Rodziewicz would not take “no” for an answer.
“You can only write about tai chi after experiencing it,” she told me.
It was sound advice.
Rodziewicz alternates teaching tai chi classes at 10:30 a.m. every Saturday with Larry Attile, a certified Feldenkrais movement and tai chi instructor, in the North Castle Public Library. She has been studying under Attile for more than seven years at his training center in Scarsdale.
When Rodziewicz first began her lessons, her asthma required three doses of medicine per day. Now, all she needs is an emergency inhaler.
“The benefits have been simply unbelievable,” she said. “The combination of subtle, potent movement is truly remarkable. I love to see my students get similar results.”
The classes, which run through the end of June and are free, focus on teaching specific Feldenkrais and qigong breathing techniques for deep relaxation, which are then applied to tai chi movement. It is a hands-on experience that is intended for both beginner and experienced students.
Although Rodziewicz emphasized that Attile is the true master and expert, it was clear from her students that both teachers have something to offer.
“I’ve been looking for a good tai chi combination class for a while, and this course has been extremely helpful,” said Armonk resident Coni Guhl. “Larry’s teaching style demands more of your body, while Charlotte taps more into your mind. They have different personalities and both are a joy to learn from. They compliment each other wonderfully.”
Guhl’s favorite part of the class? The end.
“The way these classes make you feel afterward is amazing,” she said.
She wasn’t kidding. After an hour of Rodziewicz’s instruction, I left the class feeling as if I had just taken off a backpack filled with books.
The class is split into two segments: 30 minutes in a chair and 30 minutes standing up. Both require a significant amount of patience and concentration.
Longtime Armonk resident Aurora Spinelli, who has attended the class for more than a year, has noticed a significant uptick in her energy since joining.
“I just have much more energy,” she said. “I find myself holding my body up properly and having significantly better balance.”
Attile will lead the next class at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in the magazine room in the North Castle Public Library.