What Is Tai Chi?
Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese tradition and it is believed that has been created by the Taoist monk Zhang Sanfeng in the 12th century.
Essential principles include integration of the mind with the body,fluidity of movement, control of breathing and mental concentration. The central focus is to enable the qi or life force to flow smoothly and powerfully throughout the body.
Total harmony of the inner and outer self comes from the integration of mind and body, achieved through the ongoing practice of Tai Chi. The ancient Chinese were aware of the immense power of the mind and spirit.
Tai chi aims to achieve harmony with nature and the balance of mental serenity and physical strength. Having better balance calms the unconscious mind.
Styles Of Tai Chi
Choosing the appropriate Tai Chi style is one of the most important decisions you will make once you decide to practice. Most beginners think of Tai Chi as just one art form and don’t realize the multitude of styles available. Even if you’re already practicing a certain style, it helps to know the differences because at some point you may also benefit greatly from learning another style.
Essentially, all Tai Chi styles have far more in common with each other than they have differences. All improve health, reduce stress and help you move more gracefully. All develop chi and use slow-motion, flowing, circular movements. For most practitioners, they choose to learn based on the quality of the teacher, the convenience of the school and other personal factors. Knowing about the styles upgrades your knowledge and guides you to make the right choices in the future.
There are five different styles of Tai Chi, each with their own separate methods and principles that have been in use:
- Wu- or Wu (Hao)-style
Each style has a different syllabus, structure and flavor as regards to how its specific techniques are applied. All five styles can potentially give you tai chi’s health benefits.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Practicing Tai-Chi
Tai Chi is considered to be safe for people of all ages as it does not put too much stress on the muscles and joints.
In addition to being safe, Tai Chi is also inexpensive as it does not require much equipment. It can be practiced either in a group or alone.
Modern research has found that Tai Chi has positive effects on balance control, fitness, and flexibility. In addition, the martial art has been claimed to reduce the risk of falls among elderly individuals who have suffered from severe heart conditions.
It can help in:
Parkinson’s disease: patients with Parkinson’s disease who practiced Tai Chi experienced significantly improved walking ability, posture, and fewer falls
Chronic heart failure: patients with chronic heart failure experienced a better quality of life and mood if they regularly practice Tai Chi
Fibromyalgia: people living with fibromyalgia responded well to Tai Chi and have significant relief from joint pains as well as other symptoms.
Diabetes: Tai Chi can improve blood glucose levels and immune system response in patients with type 2 diabetes
Depression: a weekly Tai Chi exercise class with a standard depression treatment for a group of depressed elderly adults could be very effective at treating symptoms of depression
More Reasons To Practice Tai Chi
- Movements are low-impact and gentle and put minimal stress on your muscles and joints.
- The risk of injury is very low.
- You can do it anywhere, anytime.
- It requires very little space (no excuses apartment dwellers!) and no special clothing or equipment.
- You do it at your own pace.
- It’s noncompetitive.
- It can be done in groups or by yourself (find a tai chi instructor to come to your workplace at lunch hour!).
- There are lots of movements to keep you interested, and as you become more accomplished you can add those to your routine.
The ancient Chinese were aware of the immense power of the mind and spirit. Tai Chi aims to achieve harmony with nature and the balance of mental serenity and physical strength. Having better balance calms the unconscious mind.
Enhancing the qi-vital life energy-during Tai Chi practice is the path to uplifting the spirit. The qi is simply a life energy within all living beings. For humans, our minds can learn to enhance qi, which in turn, connects with the unconscious mind to enhance our mental attitude. Qi grows when the person is well balanced and in harmony.
Once your body is relaxed and calm, and your mind receptive, your qi will begin to circulate. And that will start your spirits soaring. Also,almost everyone who practices Tai Chi recognizes its powerful effect on relaxation and concentration.