WHAT IS TAI CHI?
Tai Chi (pronounced "tie chee") is a gentle exercise regimen that is a part of Traditional Chinese
Medicine. Derived from martial arts, Tai Chi (a short form of Tai Chi Chuan) has been practiced in China for centuries. It is still a daily routine for millions of people in the East, especially senior citizens. Tai Chi first came to the United States in the early 1970s. It has since grown in popularity among all age groups.
Tai Chi is designed to enhance overall health through its three major components: (1) meditation; (2) slow, graceful movements; and (3) deep breathing.
Tai Chi, as it is generally practiced today, can perhaps best be thought of as "moving meditation".
There are a number of forms (sometimes called 'sets') that consist of a sequence of movements. Many of these movements incorporate natural movements of animals and birds. In Tai Chi these movements are performed slowly, softly and gracefully with smooth and even transitions.
How Does Tai Chi Work?
There are various perspectives on how Tai Chi works. Eastern philosophy holds that Tai Chi unblocks the flow of Qi (prounced "chee") and when Qi flows properly, the mind, body and spirit are in balance and health is maintained. Qi is a type of life-force, or energy, that flows throughout channels in the body called meridians. The Qi, in turn, depends on a balance of the two opposing energies of Yin and Yang (considered opposite and complementary forces in nature i.e., light/dark, feminine/masculine, etc.). It is believed that performance of Tai Chi serves to harmonize these pairs of opposite forces and enhances the balance of the mind, body, and spirit. Others believe that Tai Chi works in the same way as other mind-body therapies. There is ample evidence that the connection between the mind and the body can be used to relieve stress, combat disease, and enhance physical and mental well-being.
What Are the Benefits of Tai Chi?
Tai Chi improves overall fitness, balance, coordination, and agility. It has also been shown to lower blood pressure and heart rates, promote relaxation, and release stress and tension. People who practice Tai Chi on a regular basis tend to have good posture, flexibility, and range of motion, are more mentally alert, and sleep more soundly at night.
Conditions that may be assisted by Tai Chi:
- Chronic pain and headaches
- Arthritis and Osteoporosis
- Heart disease > Depression and anxiety
- High blood pressure
- Asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema
What Does a Tai Chi Class Entail?
Tai Chi sessions are usually group classes that last about 1 hour. Each session begins with a warm-up exercise. Then the instructor guides the class through a series of 12 forms, each made up of a succession of movements. Each form has a nature-based name that describes it, such as "wave hands like clouds" or "single whip." The instructor encourages the class to perform all movements in a slow, meditative manner and to focus on deep breathing. At the end of the class, there is time for cool-down, relaxation and meditation.
For more information on upcoming group classes or to schedule a private lesson
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