What is Tai Chi?
Tai Chi is a gentle form of exercise for health and relaxation, which originates from ancient China.
Gentle flowing movements are combined with deep breathing exercises in order to cultivate the inner energy of the body or ‘chi’.
The benefits of Tai Chi
Tai Chi is not just a physical form of exercise but also has mental and awareness aspects.
The gentleness of Tai Chi ensures that the practitioner does not suffer the kinds of muscular and joint injuries which are common with more physical types of exercising, but develops greater strength while developing greater flexibility and suppleness. Dedicated athletes will find that Tai Chi is one of the finest ways of gently warming up to offset any vigorous exercise that may follow and it can help speed up recovery from injury. The nervous system is soothed and calmed, which can help aid restful sleep.
In China Tai Chi is often practised as a Health Aid because it has been known for centuries to aid recovery from a variety of diseases especially those caused by stress or overwork, and it can also benefit anyone suffering from overweight as it helps breakdown the fatty tissues in the body reducing the body to its natural weight level. Tai Chi is also very good for balance, and the deep breathing exercises improve oxygenisation in the entire body and help increase stamina.
Tai Chi can help to sharpen the mental faculties and improve acuity (the ability to hear, see, or think accurately and clearly) so that a very strong and purposeful mind is developed. Dynamic and exact control is maintained over all parts of the body and by this means one also learns to keep control over the emotions. We also learn various partner exercises, which provide a unique opportunity to learn how to utilise and develop internal energy as well as learning practical methods to stay focused and relaxed in stressful situations.
Tai Chi is based upon the ancient Chinese philosophy. Although Taoism is not a religion, studying Tai Chi can have spiritual benefits by helping us become aware of how we are part of the natural environment. By learning how to control the emotions you can start to develop a deep inner peace thereby becoming at one with oneself and others round you: this naturally leads to a greater awareness and understanding of oneself, and a greater appreciation and understanding of others, all of which creates a balance and harmony within oneself and the world around us.
The sequence of movements which make up the Tai Chi ‘Form’ thoroughly exercise all parts of the body, massaging the internal organs and building suppleness and fitness gradually, without unnecessary strain and effort. This makes it ideal for men and women of all ages. Studies on the effects of Tai Chi support what has been intuitively known by its advocates, that is that Tai Chi Tones and Vitalises The Whole Body, Strengthens Joints, Improves Posture, Assists In The Treatment Of Many Diseases, Strengthens Resistance To Disease.