TAI CHI: FOR BALANCE & HEALTH
TAI CHI is a centuries-old mind and body practice. TAI CHI uses certain postures and gentle movements with mental focus, breathing, and relaxation. It originally came from China in the 1500's and has since spread around the world into many different styles.
TAI CHI routines are not designed to burn calories or raise your heart rate. Instead, TAI CHI is a martial arts that can help your circulation, balance, and alignment. They can also help restore your energy, called chi or qi (pronounced "chee").
The low-impact moving meditations include standing and balancing. TAI CHI is an excellent fitness activities for beginners and people with health conditions. Elite athletes also benefit from doing the slow movements, because everyone needs better balance and muscle control.
The postures flow together without pause, making TAI CHI look like slow, graceful dances that keep your body in constant motion.
In every movement, every part of the body must be light and agile and strung together. The postures should be without breaks. Motion should be rooted in the feet, released through the legs, directed by the waist and expressed by the fingers. Substantial and insubstantial movements must be clearly differentiated.
One of the best features of TAI CHI is that they can be adapted to fit just about any fitness level. The gentle flowing low-impact movements are easy on your joints if you have arthritis.
If you are pregnant, you can gain many benefits from meditative movements that can increase your flexibility and improve your balance. Both activities are low-impact, so they are not going to put your joints at risk.
If you have high blood pressure, some studies have shown that TAI CHI can help lower your blood pressure. Other research points to a drop in cholesterol levels as well. That helps lower your chances of heart disease. It may even increase your fitness level.
The practice of TAI CHI we teach primarily involves three aspects:
An unhealthy or otherwise uncomfortable person may find it difficult to meditate to a state of calmness or to use tàijíquán as a martial art. TAI CHI's health training, therefore, concentrates on relieving the physical effects of stress on the body and mind.
The focus and calmness cultivated by the meditative aspect of TAI CHI is seen as necessary in maintaining optimum health (in the sense of relieving stress and maintaining homeostasis) and in application of the form as a soft style martial art.
Balance and fall prevention:
Most of the research on tai chi has been done in older individuals in the area of balance and fall prevention. This area of research is important because fall-related injuries are the leading cause of death from injury and disability among older adults. One of the most serious fall injuries is hip fracture; one-half of all older adults hospitalized for hip fracture never regain their former level of function. Because tai chi movements are slow and deliberate with shifts of body weight from one leg to the other in coordination with upper body movements (sometimes with one leg in the air), it challenges balance and many have long assumed it helps improve balance and reduce fall frequency. This assumption has been credited and strongly supported by some research.
You can read more about the benefits of TAI CHI by clicking one of the online medical journals below.