Tai Chi is an ancient and beautiful martial art. Originally developed as a form of self-defense it has since evolved into a focused, slow, gentle form of exercise with far reaching benefits. Unlike karate or kung fu, it is an internal martial art and has even been labeled meditation in movement.
Tai Chi emphasizes relaxation, posture, breathing and mental concentration. It’s slow, focused, balanced movements can be learned and practiced by anyone at any fitness level. Tai Chi forms are practiced by many people of all ages all over the world as a means for self-improvement on many levels.
Tai Chi benefits are numerous and documented. They include an increase in balance, stability and coordination, especially important for seniors who are so vulnerable to falls. Strength and flexiblity are also increased along with muscle tone, stamina and bone density. Tai Chi can boost the immune system, improve our quality of sleep, digestion, circulation and organ function. It can lower blood pressure, stress, depression and anxiety. It can also accelerate the healing of disease and increase one’s vitality, memory and longevity. The list goes on and on.
The movements and postures bring our awareness back into our bodies, back into the present moment and out of our heads that are so often filled with the concerns and worries of our increasingly fast-paced lives. We become more grounded as we move with this new awareness. We become more attuned internally as well as to our connection with our outer environment.
Even a few minutes of practice, if done almost every day will bring noticeable results. Over time, as our posture and well-being improve, muscular tension, bad habits and feelings are replaced by a more relaxed, calm and confident expression of ourselves. Our experience of our world around us then changes accordingly. We become the more whole, healthy, natural and integrated human being that we want to be and express.