Tai Chi is an art that embraces the mind, body and spirit. It originates in ancient China and is one of the most effective exercises for health of mind and body. It can be easy to learn and soon delivers its health benefits. For many, it continues as a lifetime journey.
There are numerous styles and forms of Tai Chi. The major ones being Chen, Yang, Wu and Sun. Each style has its own features, but all styles share the same essential principles.
The principles of Tai Chi include mind integrated with the body, control of movements and breathing, generating internal energy, mindfulness, song (loosening) and jing (serenity). The purpose of Tai Chi is to cultivate the qi or life energy within us to flow smoothly and powerfully throughout the body.
There is much more to Tai Chi than you can see and it’s not easy to describe the art in one simple sentence. Yes, it’s aesthetically pleasing, easy and enjoyable to practice. It can be a meditation and an integral exercise for all parts of the body and the mind. It brings tranquility and helps you think more clearly. The practice can be many things for different people; regular practice will bring better health and wellness.
With regular practice, people will be able to feel the internal energy (qi), convert it to internal force (jing) and use it to generate more internal energy. This process leads to a more balanced mental state but at the same time your fitness, agility and balance will improve. The unique feature of Tai Chi is that it is internal. Internal means building inner strength from inside out, therefore you can continue to develop at any age.
What are the health benefits?
Many different studies have shown that Tai Chi improves muscular strength, flexibility, fitness, improve immunity, relieve pain and improve quality of life. Muscle strength is important for supporting and protecting joints and is essential for normal physical function. Flexibility exercises enable people to move more easily and facilitate circulation of body fluid and blood, which enhance healing. Fitness is important for overall functioning of the heart, lungs, and muscles. In addition to these components, the movements emphasise weight transference to improve balance and prevent falls.
Aside from the health benefits, the practice is easy to learn and becomes a way of life for many practitioners. Because of its depth, no one ever knows it all, and this is where the fascination and never-ending challenge of the art lies.
Want to give it a go?
Liberty Wellbeing currently provides 2 Tai Chi classes per week in Ashford. For more details, click here for the Tai Chi page and book onto one of our friendly classes.