A Stroke Survivor and a Caregiver Reap the Benefits of T’ai Chi Chih

Nancy Rolf-Johnson, left, is the Tai Chi Chih instructor at the Bixby Knolls Park (above) and Heartwell Park.

Dorothea Elpusan, a member of our caregiver support group, and Paul Gonzalez, a member of our stroke survivor group, have known each other since elementary school and are now engaged.  Dorothea reports on an exercise class she takes with Paul:  “Paul and I recently discovered a T’ai Chi Chih at the Eldorado Park Senior Center in Long Beach, CA, taught by instructor Elisabeth Preston.”

T’ai Chi Chih is a modified, Western version of T’ai Chi. It has the soft, circular, meditative moves of T’ai Chi, but has only 19 movements (as opposed to the traditional 108).  “Paul and I really enjoy this Friday afternoon class.  He feels that the class has helped loosen his affected shoulder and given him a bit more mobility.  As for me, it has given me a sense of mindfulness and calm which I had been desperately needing.  I love that we can both enjoy a class together.”

“Ali from the stroke survivors group also joins us at Bixby Knolls Park in Long Beach on Saturdays to take an outdoor class from Nancy Rolf-Johnson, who herself was taught by Elisabeth. The students are always reminded to modify the movements to match their ability and encouraged to rest on available chairs when tired.  The movements are small and soft and are either a step forward or a step sideways.We just really love the energy of the class.  Paul is now encouraged to take the classic form of T’ai Chi.”

Community Resources:


Find a T’ai Chi Chih class near you here.

Discover Long Beach Senior Center classes (ages 50+) here.

The Long Beach Parks, Recreation, and Marine website offers classes for multiple age groups.


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