Tai Chi combines movement, meditation and breathing, to enhance the flow of vital energy in the body, to increase both physical and mental well-being.
Tai Chi is one of the most broadly applicable systems of self-care in the world and is suitable for both young and old alike.
In China, it is estimated that 300 million people alone practice Tai Chi.
Tai Chi however is not just practised in China, in the 20th century it spread throughout the world and as we enter the 21st century, it is more popular than ever.
Tai Chi - The Form
There are several styles of movement and approaches to Tai Chi, some of them historic and some developed in recent years.
Each has its own individual charteristics and carries the name of the clan or family who developed it i.e. Yang, Chen, Wu, Sun etc.
All the principles of Tai Chi are put into practice in a non stop sequence of moves called the form.
Each Tai Chi style has its own distinctive way of presenting the form in terms of: The postures included, the order in which they appear, the way they are performed and finally, how long the form actually takes to complete.
Although the different styles of Tai Chi present the form in different ways, the purpose and the philosophy behind them is the same.
Tai Chi and Health
When Tai Chi is practised, the movement creates streams of energy to flow through the body.
In the philosophy of Tai Chi, it is said Chi (life energy) follows the mind, each posture and movement creates a different energy flow that, has a benifital overall affect on overall well-being.
Tai Chi stimulates circulation, aligns the skeleton and joints correctly, stimulates the organs of the body and helps digestion.
It increases muscle tone, strength, improves balance and co ordination and improves breathing.
Tai Chi does not just provide physical benefits; by raising energy levels, it also affects the mind and the spirit.
Tai Chi focuses thought, so that mind and body energy works together as one. When practising Tai Chi, people find that they are not just physically fitter but, happier, more alert, have greater mental focus and are more creative.
It is this harnessing of mental and physical energy that makes Tai Chi not just a form of exercise; it makes it a life enhancing experience.
Learning Tai Chi
Tai Chi is an exercise for people of all ages and all levels of fitness.
The movements of Tai Chi are non-strenuous, relaxed, slow moving, soft, and flowing.
It has often been described as moving meditation, as it relieves stress and improves concentration.
It is the gentleness and slowness of Tai Chi that makes it so applicable to everyone as a form of exercise.
When you watch Tai Chi being performed, it looks effortless but this comes from a considerable amount of practice.
When taking up Tai Chi it is best to pick an experienced teacher, who can guide motivate and encourage you. Simply, go with someone you are comfortable with.
The style of Tai Chi you pick Chen, Yang, Wu, Sun or any other form, is down to personal preference; the benefits described however apply to all styles.
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