Wise Orchid Tai Chi opens on E Union with an alternative to yoga — UPDATE: New home for Apex Aerial Arts

Wise Orchid led a Seattle celebration of World Tai Chi Qigong Day 2016 in May

Wise Orchid led a Seattle celebration of World Tai Chi Qigong Day 2016 in May

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The army of local yoga studios are getting some competition. Paralegal-turned-Tai Chi teacher Viola Brumbaugh has opened her own Tai Chi studio in the Central District, in the space recently vacated by children’s toy and clothing store Magpie.

Wise Orchid Tai Chi opened for business at 2002 E Union with a series of free classes on the Fourth of July and has been up and running since then. While Central Seattle has no shortage of yoga studios, Wise Orchid is one of just a few Tai Chi centers in the area.

Brumbaugh and her husband Rusel DeMaria say that Tai Chi is admittedly not as popular as yoga in this area, possibly because it takes a little more time to get used to. “Tai Chi looks easy, with yoga – yoga’s a really amazing art for flexibility, but in Tai Chi it’s not quite as easy, it’s complex,” said DeMaria. “I think compared to yoga it’s going to be a little more selective who goes forward.”

Brumbaugh teaches a class (Image: CHS)

Brumbaugh teaches a class (Image: CHS)

“Tai Chi and yoga do a lot of the same things – where I’ve found a difference is in Tai Chi where you’re moving and working on your alignment at the same time you get different benefits,” said Brumbaugh.

Brumbaugh used to teach her classes at Emerald City Aikido in Capitol Hill and another studio in the international district, and she zeroed in on the new location because she hoped it would be a good midpoint for her students between those studios.

Brumbaugh says the feedback from her students has been positive so far and she expects the studio to thrive. “I’m really excited about this neighborhood and this location in particular,” she said.

Students can sign up for a variety of different class packages, including 12-week sessions, drop-in classes, and private lessons. The cost of one drop-in class is $28 and 12-week sessions start at $220. A class schedule and full price list can be found on the Wise Orchid website.

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(Images: Apex Aerial Arts)

UPDATE: Apex moves to E Pike
Here’s more news related to yoga alternatives in the neighborhood. Apex Aerial Arts, which we profiled here this spring after its studio opened just off E Olive Way, has moved to the middle of the action above E Pike.

Its new home can be found on the third floor of the 911 E Pike building at Pike and Broadway. The move allows Apex to begin offering aerial classes in addition to Aerial Yoga and strength and flexibility classes beginning August 1st.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to have found such a beautiful home in a really creative building to finally bring aerial arts classes and performances to Capitol Hill,” Apex’s Goldie Jones tells CHS.

Stop by the Apex open house Saturday, July 30th from 2 to 5 PM to check out the new studio.

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