Tai Chi Inner Way School
The Inner Way Tai Chi School was founded in 1988 by Vlady Stevanovitch. His intention was to train teachers and to propagate, as faithfully as possible, the techniques of the Inner Way, of this ancient art which traces its origins to the beginnings of Chinese culture. Since March 2000, Michele Stevanovitch directs and co-ordinates the activities of the School, which now includes four Training Centres for Teachers (two in France, one in Portugal and one in Quebec). Five teachers dedicated themselves to the transmission of this teaching to those, who at some point in their lives, decided to make it their way of life and to offer themselves fully to this research. Among those who learnt from them, there are today, about 300 teachers who teach these techniques to more than 5000 students around the world.
Since 1990 Vlady’s School of the Inner Way has had a presence in Auroville and it is evident that it will continue to do so. The teaching is quite compatible with some aspects of the ‘integral yoga’ underlying the Auroville experiment and both Auroville residents and guests are benefiting from it.
This yoga has often been described as "an adventure of consciousness and joy” and all serious practitioners of T’ai Chi will recognise that quality of the teaching of The School of the Inner Way.
The school arrived in Auroville thanks to one of Vlady’s pupils, Turiya, who came to join Auroville in July 1990. Through her, Nicole Bernard came to teach a workshop in the beginning of 1991. Her professional and dynamic teaching made a lasting impression. In April of the same year two Aurovilians, Heidi and Mauna followed a course with Vlady in Portugal. Mauna then took courses in Belgium and France with different teachers, – practicing the 108 while hitchhiking from one place to the other. In the back pocket of her jeans she carried a rolled up list of all the postures and she practiced her way through Europe.
On her return to Auroville, others were interested in sharing her practice. She wrote to Vlady who gave her the go ahead…,”Bonne chance, je suis avec toi!".
Slowly a steady core group developed and every year, during the warm ‘winter’ months of December and January, we were fortunate to have intensive courses with teachers from the School. In successive years Edwige, Nicole, Piero, Christine and Ann Gerard graced us with their presence and teaching. Meanwhile Aurovilians went to Vlady’s summer course, and other courses as well.
Sometime in ’95, two students of Vlady who were coming to live in Auroville observed that it was crazy not to have central place for the teaching Tai Chi. They suggested they should build one and they did!
Marco and Liliana, a dynamic and artistic business couple from Italy, created a beautiful Tai Chi Hall and a smaller ‘dojo’ for the inner Chi work. These are located amid trees and gardens near the centre of Auroville in a bilingual French/English speaking community called ‘Shamga’ which is well equipped for receiving guests. The school is now in good hands, is firmly established here in Auroville, and part of an increasing worldwide network. With the help of a steady influx of teachers from Europe made possible by the much appreciated Solidarity fund, an increasingly high quality of training is being achieved.
Today the Inner Way School in Auroville is run by Marco, who conducts classes 6 days a week and organises regular one-week long and three-week long workshops for beginners. More information about these classes and workshops is available on taichi.auroville.org
The School practices three forms of Yang style T’ai Chi Chuan: the 24 form; the 108 form; and the 127 form. Each form is practiced daily for at least a week; so every week a different form is practiced.
The work of the School is essentially directed towards:
1 - Mastery of the body through breathing and muscular relaxation
2 - Improvement of movement through balance and coordination
3 - Learning to mobilise Chi. First perceiving it, then guiding it in one’s body with the use of three factors: will, imagination and muscular activity.
At the Tai Chi Hall, daily classes are offered, in which each form is practiced for one hour (except Sundays).
When courses are organised, they are for 6 days at a stretch, for three hours per day. In a three-week course, the full 24-form is taught.