On any given day, you can be driving or jogging by your local park or fitness studio, and see the tai-chi practitioners doing their thing early in the morning.
The reason being that tai-chi is becoming a popular art and fitness form which provides passive health benefits that anyone, young or old, at any fitness level can participate in.
We tend to think that tai-chi is more of a relaxed method of a more aggressive form of martial arts such as karate or kung-fu.
We also assume that this laid back practice of tai-chi is more suitable for the elderly, while those who are younger and more agile will usually participate in activities which are more strenuous.
This isn’t correct however as there are a lot of North Americans from all ages and backgrounds who have now adopted tai-chi as a simple, yet powerful way to enhance their vitality, health, and longevity.
The Promise Of Tai-chi Healing
There is significant ancient wisdom along with modern science which confirms that tai-chi does offer health benefits. These studies prove that this ancient Chinese practice has stood the test of time, and for very good reason.
After it’s introduction to the Western world over fifty years ago, tai-chi has quickly gained the attention of health researchers, and as a result, the benefits of tai-chi are continuing to be discovered.
Tai-chi can be practiced to successfully manage a variety of chronic conditions, as well as supporting general health and increased well being and happiness.
The Participation Of Tai-Chi Demonstrates The Following:
• It’s known to reduce pain from osteoarthritis, tension headaches, fatigue and disability from arthritis, improves fibromyalgia conditions, controls glucose levels for diabetics
• It improves ones balance, especially for seniors while reducing falls
• It reduces cardiovascular risk while improving cardio fitness as well as flexibility, especially for the elderly
• It reduces psychological stress while improving one’s self image for teens
The Definition Of Tai-chi
So would tai-chi be classified as meditation, an exercise, or a form of martial arts. Tai chi chuan is rather considered a body and mind exercise which incorporates elements of meditation with movement, which is referred to as internal martial arts.
What tai-chi once translated means “supreme ultimate being,” which has existed in China for thousands of years. The tai-chi that we know today is believed to of been developed in the 1300’s.
There are also several different styles or methods of tai-chi which are named after the families which originally developed, and then passed the form down generations.
Three of the most common styles are known as: Chen, Yang, and Wu. Chen being the oldest, is also the hardest to learn, while Yang is the most popular form and practiced today.
All of these tai-chi styles uses the same framework philosophically, along with sharing the same practice methods. The ultimate goal being cultivating life force both for the body and the mind.
Each of the different styles pays attention to proper breathing, posture, and mental focus in a series of movements which are linked in a continuous flowing manner.
All tai-chi requires is comfortable clothing and can be practiced anywhere and at anytime. As a result, there are now millions who practice tai-chi in open spaces throughout North America.
It’s becoming an antidote to the highly stressful life that most of us lead, this since it focuses on creating harmony along with balance. What it does is forces us to slow down, allowing us to relax and reflect more.
Why Tai-chi Is So Effective
• What the gentle flowing tai-chi movements does is it uses the muscles which promotes the better flow of blood and the lymph, which then increases the efficiency of the digestive, immune, and endocrine systems
• What this meditation does is it brings mental calmness which initiates a relaxation response that reduces the heart rate while lowering blood pressure
• What the deep breathing does is it increases the flow of oxygen and blood to the brain which improves vitality while promoting better sleep and improving mental clarity
These benefits which are derived for modern day tai-chi, however, are refined from the centuries old techniques which still leaves Western science without ways of properly assesses the true nature of tai-chi, and why it has these powerful healing properties.
The tai-chi masters claim that it’s the “qi” or (chi) which improves the blood, lymph, muscles, oxygen intake, and the neurotransmitters. The effectiveness of qi isn’t currently understood however because there’s no effective way to measure it.
The Definition Of Qi (Chi)
Qi is referred to as life force which is vital to universal energy. It’s claimed that low qi indicates poor health, and cultivating qi can build up qi wealth.
Tai-chi is one of the best known ways to cultivate qi. What the slow gentle movements, deep breathing, and relaxation techniques does is it infuses the flow of the tai-chi forms, generating the movement of qi throughout the body. This provides nourishment as well as healing.
The Free Forms Of Tai-chi
Tai-chi classes can be found anywhere and in a variety of settings, this because it can be done in open spaces without equipment. So you’ll find it practiced in parks, churches, fitness centers, and parking lots.
Your local community center would most likely offer classes, along with yoga studios and martial arts clubs. These classes are often free, so stumbling onto one in your neighborhood is a possibility.
So don’t rely on the Western scientists who continue to solve health by developing the next great miracle pill. You may just be better off wandering down to the local gym or park to join in on a tai-chi class instead. All of those happy radiant people might know something that we don’t.