Tarbeeva’s path leads to teaching

Irina Tarbeeva began practicing Tai Chi in 1999 and is now a certified instructor in both Tai Chi and Qigong. She offers classes in both Chinese healing arts in Iron River and Crystal Falls.

IRON RIVER—In many ways, Irina Tarbeeva is just about the perfect person to teach the Chinese healing arts of Qigong and Tai Chi, though given her modest nature, she would likely recoil from being labeled as such.
    For here is a woman who not only has studied under some of the most renowned international teachers, but one who also has a unique life journey filled with overcoming challenges with patience, practice and perseverance.
    Tarbeeva has lived in Iron River for the past six years, and for the past four she has taught Tai Chi (a system of gentle physical exercise through different postures and forms) at her studio in the Windsor Center. For the last two years she has also taught in Crystal Falls, currently at the United Lutheran Church.
     Tarbeeva is now poised to extend her teaching by adding a 10-class, five-week Qigong (pronounced “chee gong”) class beginning April 10 at her Tai Chi for Health Studio in the Windsor Center. The course is called “24 Postures Therapeutic Qigong” and is aimed at teaching students a system of slow graceful movements with concentrated breathing exercises that have proven health benefits.
    Those benefits include stress reduction, improved flexibility, relief from pain and chronic inflammation and even assisting patients with such serious illnesses as heart disease, diabetes and even cancer.
    Qigong and Tai Chi are similar healing modalities based on Qi, which means “energy” or “life force.”
    “Qigong and Tai Chi (are) both very internal arts,” Tarbeeva said. “Almost the same. Both of them goes to energy, both of them healing, both of them meditation. Qigong probably easier to learn.”
    If one detects accented speech in Tarbeeva’s expression, it’s because she is not a native English speaker. She was born in Siberia to a Siberian father and a Lithuanian mother. (“Actually, my mom’s family was deported by Stalin.”) Along the way, Tarbeeva also lived in England before moving to Chicago.
    While there, she accepted a friend’s invitation to visit the Upper Peninsula and became enchanted with the local area.
    “With my daughter, come to visit and I loved it. I love all of this nature, so I quit everything that I had in Chicago, jobs and everything, and I came here.”
    Interestingly, Tarbeeva found some spiritual brothers and sisters when she moved north.
    “So Tai Chi, Qigong, all this medicine is based on this old philosophy, thousands of years ago. It’s like universal law. And when I moved here, I met Native Americans, and all of their teaching, beliefs, it’s the same. It maybe has different names, you know, different appearances, but the same universal law – when you are respectful, when you are grateful, when you are responsible for your own moments.”

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