Tai Chi is a mind-body exercise originating from ancient China, where it started as a famous martial art. These days, it’s practised around the world as an effective exercise for health.
It’s impossible to describe this complex art in one sentence. Tai Chi can be many things for different people, but regular practise will improve your wellbeing.
At the heart of it, Tai Chi is a moving meditation in the form of a series of gentle exercises that create harmony between the mind and body. The ultimate purpose is to cultivate our inner life energy (qi) to flow smoothly and powerfully through the body. This is a spiritual experience, as much as a physical one.
Movements are fluid, graceful, circular and slow. Breathing is deep, aiding visual and mental concentration. This relaxes the body and allows the life force to flow freely.
This practice is so effective because it consists of exercises that are equally balanced between yin and yang (opposite forces that complement each other, such as dark and light, or female and male).
Tai Chi is easy to learn. Many people embark on a life-long journey to deepen their experience, as there are always new levels of understanding to uncover. This is part of the appeal.
Tai Chi can be practised almost anywhere and the cost of learning is relatively low. It’s suitable for anyone, because exertion levels can be adjusted to suit your physical condition.
On a physical level, Tai Chi improves strength, flexibility, aerobic conditioning and balance. It’s been proven to improve cardiovascular fitness, lower blood pressure, prevent falls and help people who have arthritis.
And the list goes on!
There are also immense emotional and mental benefits. The deliberate movements help people to feel more relaxed, grounded and present in their bodies. This lowers anxiety, stress and depression; while improving memory, focus and sleep.
Tai Chi is probably the most effective exercise for your entire well-being. It’s so enjoyable that millions of people around the world are practising it, no matter their age or physical condition.
It’s all about improving your quality of life and feeling empowered.
Yes, Tai Chi is a low-impact exercise, so it’s very safe.
Although minimal stress is placed on muscles and joints, every individual is different. Honour your body and never push yourself beyond your limits.
Please don’t fall into the trap of thinking that just because your teacher taught you a movement, it must be safe for you. The safety requirements for every style of Tai Chi are different, as the movements aren’t the same.
Here are some tips for when you’re doing Tai Chi from home, or in a class:
Anybody can learn and enjoy it, including children, people with a disability and older generations.
There’s something for everyone, from the slower-paced styles to more vigorous movements of the classical Chen style. It all depends on your preferences and what your body can handle.
People with a disability and the elderly:
Even people with limited movement can benefit from the principles.
Not just for adults, get the young ones involved too:
Tai Chi unites people from different generations. The whole family can get involved.
It’s particularly suitable for adults looking for gentle exercise, but children also benefit from the practice – which does wonders for their developing brains, physical health and emotional wellbeing.
Children love to learn, and they’re very good at it, especially when enjoying a fun activity. Tai Chi provides the tools they need to feel balanced and better cope with stress. It’s a good chance to step away from the screens and connect with nature.
complied with the article of Dr. Paul Lam