Starting Tai-Chi or Yoga in Los Angeles
December 7, 2005 6:17 PM   Subscribe

I want to learn Tai-Chi or Yoga in Los Angeles. Where's a good place to do that? (For those outside of L.A., what are good things to look for when finding a place to start Yoga or Tai Chi? How often should one go when starting out? What else should I know?)

I'm in Studio City/North Hollywood, and would either like a place close to home, or a place that offers classes at a time when there's not much traffic. I'm looking to gently recover from almost a full year without significant exercise, as well as correct my posture and get some sense of grounding so that I don't wobble, shifting my weight from left leg to right leg when I try to stand still. I'm pretty attracted to Tai Chi, though Yoga seems to offer similar benefits.
posted by anonymoose to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total)
You are very close to the Taoist Institute of Los Angeles, which is located at:
10630 Burbank Blvd. in North Hollywood.
(sorry, I couldn't find a website).

They offer various courses on Daoism, different types of martial arts, and in particular Tai Chi. It's a long established place run by great folks and they are not at all preachy.
posted by RoseovSharon at 6:57 PM on December 7, 2005 [2 favorites]

Can't recommend anyone in L.A. as I started in martial arts after leaving. A few thoughts:

Tai Chi is cool. Do some research and see if you want to pursue Chen style or Yang style. IMO this is like the first fork in the road and will definetely affect what kinds of teachers/students/atmosphere you are going to encounter.

There is an enormous number of people with enormous egos involved in martial arts. Some of them are really good and some simply have the ego. Less common are the really good ones without enormous egos. Try and find one of those people to teach you.

Another personal opinion is that you should try to find out who some of the of the acknowledged masters are and then try to find some of their students who are teaching over here. I'm sure there are at least a few dozen living masters around the world in the different styles. I would ignore the "my teacher is the greatest" types as well.

You also need to find a teacher you are comfortable learning from and get along with. Go to a few classes and if you don't like the atmosphere then you should look elsewhere. The teacher must be skilled AND you have to like learning from them. Another good indicator of a good teacher in my opinion is both the skill, attitude and maturity of the teacher's students. Observe them as well.
posted by well_balanced at 6:58 PM on December 7, 2005

The other thing you asked, "How often should you go when starting out?" Depends on what you expect to get out of often as you can. My personal feeling is that something like 3 days a week would not be overdoing it as a beginner as long as you were in good health. A dedicated practitioner will be doing the routines 6-7 days a week. Like anything else you will only get out of it what you put into it.
posted by well_balanced at 7:06 PM on December 7, 2005

Response by poster: What would be a brief synopsis of the differences between Chen and Yang?
posted by anonymoose at 8:52 PM on December 7, 2005

If you want to do Yoga, find a place that has beginner's classes where they take you slowly through the moves. Do that for a while until you're comfortable, then you can branch out and try some of the other classes. I recommend finding a place that has a lot of different classes and teachers and to try them all.
posted by radioamy at 10:34 PM on December 7, 2005


any answers for the San Francisco East Bay (Berkeley/Oakland) area would be most appreciated.
posted by al_fresco at 11:46 PM on December 7, 2005

Avoid Bikram. It's smelly and you're liable to have a heat stroke. I don't have a good suggestion, since I don't live in LA anymore, but when I did, I remember that Bikram was all the rage, and it seemed like every yoga studio was a Bikram studio. What radioamy said about getting a beginner's class is a good one.
posted by pazazygeek at 6:12 AM on December 8, 2005

Of all the styles of T'ai Chi, this guy has the best.

Find someone who does it his way and learn it. It doesn't look flashy (Chen) and doesn't look tough (Yang) but it has all the flashy and tough on the inside, where it counts.
posted by ewkpates at 6:29 AM on December 8, 2005

> Of all the styles of T'ai Chi, this guy has the best.

How different are the forms? If you learn one, how hard will it be to switch to another?
posted by pracowity at 6:41 AM on December 8, 2005

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