The benefits of Tai Chi

Mountain sunrise

What is Tai Chi?

Tai chi is an ancient technique for health and relaxation. Tai chi, literally, ‘supreme ultimate fist’ or ‘meditation in motion’ is, as the name suggests, used for meditation and physical and emotional strength and relaxation. It is one of the internal Chinese martial arts and has a variety of training techniques. Tai chi can utilize both hard and soft technical components and martial skills.
Most training in the art involves learning solo routines, involving slow, soft movements and energy training. Tai chi is designed to help the body maintain balance and flow. Tai chi advocates say that this soft martial art helps to release the energy flows from the body. When these energies are trapped, the body can become ill and unwell.

Studying Tai chi usually consists of three components. These three being, health, meditation, and martial arts techniques. Health is first because without this the other two aspects would be difficult if not impossible to master. Tai chi training helps to relieve physical ailments and to reduce the effects of negativity and stress on the body. 

Meditation is likewise an essential aspect of the art. Tai chi helps to calm the mind and stabilize the nervous system. Without this aspect, true health cannot be achieved. The mind, body connection is acknowledge in this ancient art and is thus calming movements and flows help to target the mind as well. Quieting the thinking through slow but intentional movement is part of what makes Tai chi so appealing to its practitioners.

The martial arts component of Tai chi is primarily seen as part of self-defence training. Yielding to an attack is, however, one of the principles of this self-defence. By using the energy of the attacker or opponent against them, you harness their power without expending much of your own vital energy. Tai chi is said to be an effective and powerful self-defence program.

The benefits of Tai chi are many and those who have been practicing for a long time swear by it. If you are looking for both a mind and body training program, than Tai chi might be worth a try. Calming your mind and maintaining proper energy flow within the body are just some of the important benefits you’ll gain from the practice.

Tai Chi has been used by Chinese martial artists over the years as a means of extending their life-spans. More importantly, it has been used as a method of ensuring optimum health during those lengthy life times. Today the simplified form is a part of the national curriculum in China - surely a country of a billion people cannot be wrong! Tai Chi is currently the subject of numerous medical studies into its health benefits, regarding everything from instability in elderly people to hyperactivity in school children. Here is a list of just some of the incredible health benefits of Tai Chi.

Psychological. Tai Chi's slow, meditative practice helps to calm the mind and focus the senses on the present. Everyday worries can be forgotten about, to be dealt with later, giving the conscious mind vital time 'to breathe' and see everyday life in perspective. Knowing a martial art of self-defence also boosts self-esteem and confidence.

Physical. You will work up a sweat in Tai Chi practice. Forms make you stronger and more supple. Blood flows to the limbs and circulation is improved. Also, the flux of chi around the body has been proven to strengthen the immune system against disease. Gentle postures are great for troubled knees, as vital nutrients can be delivered to the cartilage without the excessive force of many traditional forms of exercise. Huge benefits are brought to the spine by consciously thinking about and working through a sequence of postures refined over centuries for their health benefits.

Emotional. On a chemical level, Tai Chi has been found to decrease cortisol levels in the body, thereby eliminating mood imbalances. As a spiritual martial art, Tai Chi encourages peaceful interaction and understanding, as a way of life and as a means of conflict resolution. Like all martial arts, Tai Chi seeks mastery of the external world through mastery of the self and promotes a more fulfilling, joyful life for its practitioners.