“Take your time – the slower the better,” Rosanne Shensa said as she instructed her students in the bi-weekly exercise class she’s taught for over a decade. Certainly not the typical instruction generally heard at an exercise class, but this is not your typical class – and certainly not your typical instructor, yet the results are certainly one for the ages.

Point Loma resident, Rosanne Shensa, who will be celebrating her 88 th birthday this month, thoroughly believes the secret to her longevity and vitality is her practice of Qigong (pronounced “chee-gong”) which she offers to others too, in classes held on Tuesdays and Thursdays in La Jolla and Point Loma.

There’s obviously something to this gentle form of exercise that has been recognized in China for over 4,000 years and embraced by an estimated one hundred million people who go to parks in the early dawn hours to practice the physical, mental, and spiritual fitness routine known as Qigong.

Shensa has established quite an impressive following herself. Her students range in age from the late 30s to the early 90s and travel from all over the county to attend her classes.

“I’d never had a student older than me before Ruth, 90, of La Jolla joined about three years ago,” Shensa shared. “But we have men, women, couples, a variety of people – all with different reasons for coming but one thing they all have in common is the desire to be healthy and to feel good and that’s something everyone can relate to.”

Shensa is certainly the reason behind her students’ loyalty. Serving as part inspiration, part mentor, Shensa’s ability to guide the class through a range of movements which result in improved health is the reason many have been with her for many, many years.

Eileen of Crown Point first came after being diagnosed with breast cancer understanding that Qigong helps the immune system and claims it was the reason she survived chemotherapy, a mastectomy, and radiation without every getting sick or missing a class.

Jeanette from Tierrasanta, one of the younger members, was interested in helping with stress relief, Tony of Linda Vista wanted help in mobility, balance and healing energy after his stroke and Delores of La Jolla, diagnosed with lung cancer, was hoping to do something healthy to counter-attack her condition and says the exercise is not only beneficial, but relaxing as well.

In its formal sense, Qigong combines movements, meditation, and breath regulation to enhance the flow of vital energy (called Qi) in the body to improve blood circulation, and enhance immune functions. Gong means “practice” or “cultivation”. So in simple form, Qigong is the cultivation of vital energy.

Vital energy is certainly an appropriate way to describe Shensa. Her flexibility is amazing and she radiates an inner peace that is definitely contagious. She’s a long-time student of Qigong and spent time in China learning the art. The fact that she’s survived two heart attacks and a broken hip while also dealing with osteoporosis, scoliosis and congestive heart failure is impressive enough, but the fact that you’d never know she has any of these conditions in a tribute to her vitality which she credits to Qigong.

Qigong is believed to do a number of wonderful things which is undoubtedly the reason for its growing almost cult following now in western civilization. From preventing illness to stopping the progression of disease, strengthening and detoxifying vital organs, strengthening bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons, relieving stress, increasing mental clarity, promoting tranquility and vibrancy and greatly slowing, and even reversing our body’s aging process certainly helps explain why so many give it a try.

“It’s taken me years to design the class so that everyone gets something beneficial from it, regardless of how long they stay or how often they come,” Shensa said.

Her classes are really two treats in one in that the first hour focuses on the traditional Qigong practice and the second hour is the massage and acupressure part which is equally beneficial and certainly worth the price of admission: free.

Shensa’s classes are held Tuesdays at the United Methodist Church of La Jolla at 6063 La Jolla Boulevard and on Thursdays at the Point Loma Presbyterian Church on 2128 Chatsworth Boulevard and both are held from 10:00 am to noon.



Kelly Ferrin is a local gerontologist residing in Carlsbad. She is a certified
AARP retirement specialist, motivational speaker, consultant, and author of a
nationally released book titled, "What's Age Got To Do With It?" For column
ideas contact her at (760)438-2126 or on the internet at ageangel@earthlink.net.
Kelly Ferrin, Gerontologist Lifestyles (760)438-2126 web: http://www.ageangel.com

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Rosanne Shensa, 88 - Qui Gong for Living Long

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