Tai Chi is a term that generally refers to special exercises developed in China. The exercises vary from simple, repetitive movements to highly complex sequences of choreographed postures.
Tai Chi is practiced primarily for improving and maintaining health, wellness and mobility. Since 2010 many credible clinical-research studies have found that Tai Chi is very beneficial for treating medical conditions like arthritis, cardiopulmonary diseases, Parkinson’s, fibromyalgia, and for reducing the risk of falling in older adults.
How Do You Practice Tai Chi?
Tai Chi is considered a form of moving meditation because it is practiced slowly and methodically while both concentrating and relaxing (which are conflicting intentions).
The practice requires an inward consciousness to manipulate the joints and maintain postural correctness. The postural requirements are so specific that even the tongue should be held in a certain way.
Tai Chi practice also requires ongoing focus to replicate deep breathing techniques that have been developed over centuries or millennia. Over time, the body reorganizes itself to depend less on muscularity and more on the connective tissues of the joints (this is called “muscle-tendon changing”).
Different Styles of Tai Chi
Many different styles of Tai Chi are taught around the globe. Some styles are very athletic and focus on aspects of martial arts and fighting, while other styles ignore all sense of physical combat.
In particular, Fu Style has the greatest range of options for practicing Tai Chi in a chair, a standing position, or even through lunging, jumping and spinning.
While each style differs in its emphasis of posture and training methods, every style of Tai Chi should be round, relaxed, calm, continuous, and practiced with intention.
The spine should be naturally straight; the shoulders and elbows should be relaxed and “droop down”; the chest should be empty or “hollow”; and the movements should originate from the waist (which is controlled by the mind);
Who Can Practice Tai Chi?
Tai chi is typically safe for people of all ages and for people at any level of physical ability. This type of exercise is low impact and it puts minimal stress on the joints and muscles.
Since it is such a gentle practice it is perfect for an older adult who does not frequently exercise. Additionally, Tai Chi does not require any special equipment, making it inexpensive and appealing to many people.
Tai Chi can be practiced anywhere, inside and outside, and can be done alone or in a group.
Though most people are able to do Tai Chi, pregnant women and individuals with joint problems, osteoporosis, or back pain should speak to their doctor before trying Tai Chi.
Healing Exercise offers Tai Chi-based physical programs developed over the last 100 years. You can order these specially designed programs in the form of DVDs or online streaming.