Tai Chi is a form of exercises performed slowly in sequence to create continuous flow enhancing the circulation of Qi and Blood. In other words, it is a moving meditation, a form of gentle exercise which has been practised in China for thousands of years. It involves deep diaphragmatic breathing, co-ordination, focus, concentration, intent, and body movements.
Visually, the gentle exercise resembles an effortless dance, but every movement is precise and performed with a great deal of internal strength. Through regular practice of the art, one seeks to harmonise internal energy by promoting a balance between the mind and body.
The moving meditation, gentle exercise, non-strenuous movement of Tai Chi can be learned and performed at any age. The age does not matter when practising and learning, but more how the body is used. Tai Chi teaches the individual patience, control, focus, concentration and relaxation whilst breathing in and out deeply.
As a daily health maintenance system, Tai Chi has proved to be an invaluable form of exercise to the Chinese population for generations. For people who work in the Central Business Districts of cities, it is most effective in helping to relieve stress and tension. It is an excellent supplementary body tuning system for other sports and hobbies.
Tai Chi is best known for its relaxing and calming effects. The smooth flowing movements with weaving, twisting motions help to stimulate the nerves and loosen tense muscles. Modern technology and living conditions subject us to immense stress, leaving us drained of energy at the end of each day. Tai Chi’s flowing movements and energy meditation have the therapeutic effects of slowing down the mind and refreshing the body.
The exercise art is widely used by the Chinese to treat conditions of stress, depression, insomnia, arthritis, rheumatism, diabetes, asthma, obesity, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis, headaches, lower and upper back pain. The gentle exercise movements of Tai Chi are popular because it is non-exertive and non-strenuous movements. It is practised for recreation, relaxation, body fitness and mental alertness.
Overall, there are four areas that Tai Chi helps you with:
- Physical – Tai Chi exercises develop the physical body to its natural potential in health and fitness, co-ordination in movements, sensitivity and balance, body-control and self-discipline.
- Mental – The physical control and stability is reflected on the mental state in the form of a balanced mind, capable of making rational decisions and taking responsibilities. The mind is active, free and spontaneous. Tai Chi energy meditation stimulates and clears the mind. The flowing movements calm the spirit, sharpens the mental faculty and improve the sensitivity and awareness.
- Emotional – Good breathing, proper balance and positive mental state, stabilises the emotion. The physical and mental exercise gives proper channelling to the emotional energy. Tai Chi stimulates and releases ‘blocked’ energy and facilitates positive expression.
- Spiritual – The philosophy of Yin-Yang balance is inherent in all phases of growth and development. Tai Chi in its highest application teaches the principles of natural and spiritual growth. It enables the practitioner through increased awareness to examine his/her life situation with a more positive and realistic viewpoint and gives him/her the will and the way to improve the aims and lifestyle.