A book at a yard sale introduced me to Tai Chi Chuan back in 1993. I was looking for something gentler than the floor-pounding aerobics workouts that were beginning to hurt me. As the saying goes, “When the student is ready, a teacher appears,” and soon I found a class that helped me to act on what I had read about.
Profound changes began soon after I started my daily practice of Tai Chi Chuan and Qigong in 1994. Sleep habits became balanced. Food cravings disappeared. Acquaintances noticed a new calmness and alertness in my demeanor. I felt more poised in the face of confrontation. Tension evaporated from my daily routine. Like Lao Tzu, I discovered that all can be accomplished without hurry. And now, when someone tosses me a ball or car keys, I can catch them!
Years of practice and study deepened my connection with these arts. I began to teach in 2005 with a few neighbors. My following grew exponentially in 2010 through word of mouth and some flyers.
My teacher is Marc Gotthard, a lifelong martial artist and owner of You & Fitness, a one-on-one personal training center in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. I continue the studies I began in 1994 with Marc; he studied with Ken Yip of Buffalo, who has since moved back to China.
I also was privileged to study Tai Chi with Songchang Na, Professor of Martial Arts at China’s Beijing Language and Culture University, when he taught for a summer at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
Whatever your goal—from easing stress for an hour in class to finding relief from pain or illness to being able to execute the entire 109 postures of the Tai Chi form on your own—I am committed to help you on your path.
To any of those ends, my first step is to help you to cultivate chi—the nurturing, revitalizing, healing, loving, bountiful life force available to us all—that has helped me so much. Many students can see and feel chi after their first Qigong session.
Further, I hope to help you find the joy of a calm center and to develop habitual smooth, balanced, unhurried movement that can be experienced not only in class but in traffic or in line at the supermarket.
My greatest rewards from teaching are seeing students loosen up and calm down as a class progresses and hearing them say how relaxed they feel at the end of the hour.
I am always careful of students’ physical limitations, whether they have old injuries, sore joints or extreme stress that limits focus.
Everyone is encouraged to progress at a comfortable, personal pace. Especially in the beginning, just to keep moving and breathing has wonderful results.
Precision of gestures comes with practice over time, but the emphasis is on how it feels on the inside, not how it looks on the outside.
Classes combine laughter and discipline to create an oasis of healing companionship.
Patient, caring, disciplined, Karla is also passionate about the art of Tai Chi Chuan. Over the five years I worked with Karla, she took time to explain the benefits of the movements, the martial arts aspects, the “higher motivations,” and the physical benefits. As Karla moved herself to a higher plane, she took me along for a glimpse of what she was learning, which helped motivate me to practice and grow.Tom
Been wanting to tell you how much I am enjoying class and your teaching. You are gifted. Thank you so much for your dedication to health and to bringing the benefits of your practice to us.Ellen
My growth in Tai Chi and the ability to carry its meditative and healing qualities into all aspects of life, I attribute to Karla. She personifies how powerful the practice can be. Her demeanor is calm, relaxed, and joyful. Her voice is so gentle and soft, as if she is not even speaking, but allowing her energy to guide her students.Erica
The fluid movements were simultaneously energizing and stress-reducing in my first session. Karla is knowledgeable from her many years of study, practice and teaching. She offered just the right amount of explanation, so that we could experience each movement mindfully and peacefully.Linda
After a few months of Tai Chi with Karla, I am noticing subtle differences in how I walk. Last week I hiked ten miles on the Appalachian Trail in Maryland, some of it quite rocky, with a 19-pound pack. I was aware of walking more upright, relaxed and more attentive to shifting balance and foot placement. Good things.Elaine
Definitions and an overview of Tai Chi Chuan history, both in China and in the West:
A showy video of the 24-posture Yang Short Form includes some of the postures of the Yang Long Form that I teach, but in a particularly fluid technique with wonderful flexibility.
This demo shows some of the sequence that I teach. Hang in there past the six-minute mark to see breathtakingly effortless kicks.
The following website features Terry Dunn, whose Yang Long Form is nearly identical to the postures that I teach. I recommend his explanations for Westerners of the ancient Chinese concepts behind Tai Chi Chuan and Qigong. Also, his excellent teaching DVD features picture-in-picture to make the movements viewable from both sides and instructions that are clear and easy to follow.
This historic (1988) film is “one of the cleanest performance of the (Yang) Long Form that I have found on the Internet,” in the words of Terry Dunn. Classical form. Watch the shoulders, elbows and knees move in circles along with the hands and feet.