From Yan’s Students
Below are comments from Yan’s students in Portland:
I had been searching for quality Chen Taiji instruction for a long time, and I was so excited when I stumbled upon Yan’s website. She is a very talented practitioner and teacher with a very focused and gentle teaching style that encourages students to keep working and improving at a pace that is appropriate for them. Her kind words and warm smile make learning easy and fun as we all strive to improve ourselves through taiji practice. Watching her graceful form inspires me to keep practicing so I can one day embody the same taiji principles.
As a practitioner of Chinese medicine, I appreciate the health benefits that taiji practice can offer us as we attempt to deal with all of the stresses found in our fast paced lives. After practicing for a while you can feel your mind slow down and your body become more relaxed even when you are going about your daily routine. Anyone can practice taiji because there is no benchmark other than doing the best you can within your own physical limitations, and I have seen many patients improve their health with consistent taiji practice. Don’t be fooled, though. If you want to get a good workout and get stronger, then Yan will be able to push you and help you do that as well. As a martial artist, I can attest that if you are looking to develop more strength and martial arts skills you just need to tell her your goal and she will help guide you in that direction as well. My legs have gotten significantly stronger over the past year of taiji practice, and my body is more relaxed even when I am practicing other “hard” martial arts. With patience and persistence I am sure everyone will enjoy the benefits of Yan’s taiji classes.
– Keenan Bartscher, L.Ac.
I came to Yan’s Taiji classes with little experience in any sort of physical discipline and learning the practice has challenged me in many ways. But, I appreciate how she engages with each student at their own level, without pressure to meet some arbitrary goal. Yan has the ability to allow each student to progress at their own rate, while encouraging us to always expand beyond what we think are our limits. I consider this the trait of a gifted teacher. Each class I hope to achieve just a small measure of her balance, ease and grace.
– Rheatha F.
I think what has been most helpful to me is the way Yan repeatedly reminds me (us) of the applications of the form. So it’s not just beautiful movement, but is closely related to movement for the purpose of self-defense. I have had a couple of different instructors, and even though one was a Taiji master, the applications were not emphasized. Yan has really added dimension, particularly because I think in the US, most people think of meditation as completely separate from “martial arts.” This seemingly uncommon perspective has helped me focus on the origins/inner components of the form as well as on the appearance/outward components.
I highly recommend Yan Li to anyone who is interested in learning taiji. Yan is a patient, encouraging teacher who possesses a deep knowledge of all aspects of the discipline, and articulates this knowledge through physical demonstration and enunciation of the history, methods, pracitices and practical applications of the postures.
– Tom C.
Yan has a great teaching style and is very generous in sharing her knowledge and experience. She teaches well to all levels of student, and breaks down the form in a way that makes practicing it feel very natural. I was happy to find that the silk reeling exercises, that we start each class with, have helped heal an old knee injury and strengthen my knee in general. As an acupuncturist, I have highly recommended Yan’s taiji class to a number of my clients.
– Carrie Klein
Yan Li exemplifies what a Taiji teacher should be: knowledgeable, pleasant, dedicated, sets a really good example and she cares about her student’s progress.
My husband and I had been looking for a Tai Chi instructor for a while and got to check out some classes but they weren’t what we had in mind until we found Yan! Yan is an amazing teacher! We had no prior experience and found Yan very nurturing and patient and she always gives us the history and the application of the movements we are learning. We’ve been taking classes for almost a year and we look forward to attending our weekly sessions! We feel honored to learn and be part of this ancient art.
– Carlos and Carla S.
At an earlier time in my life, I studied a different martial art taught by a Master practitioner with over fifty years experience. I have been practicing Taiji now for over a year with Yan. I can see that she has the makings of a Master teacher/practitioner. Her method is clear and precise, and accommodates the varying levels of ability of her students. I am impressed when she demonstrates for the class. Her movements radiate from the center balance point of the body. She is well-versed in the history of her style and the rational behind each movement. As if this were not enough, she’s a lovely person.
– Wilma W.