What is Tai Chi (Taiji, Tai Chi Chuan or Tai Ji Quan) and why do it?

 It is often described as moving meditation due to the sequence of movements (both graceful and flowing) combined with deep breathing exercises which encourage both relaxation and inner peace.

As the form is performed chi or internal energy is stimulated throughout the body which is thought to improve health and longevity.

That said it is also a very effective martial art, which through its slow practice makes for a peaceful and non-aggressive methodology towards learning the art of ceasing, controlling and breaking your enemy.

Although there are several styles of Tai Chi they all seem to emanate from the roots of Taoist philosophies which some believe is translated through the movements themselves.

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 The above is one of my favourite quotes from the Dao de Ching and holds so true in my daily training as well as everyday life. Without taking that first step we will never reach our end destination.

For me Tai Chi is a daily journey of self-discipline, self-realisation and self-understanding. Like the movements of Tai Chi, once you set off on the path, there are no beginnings or ends it is a perpetual motion.

I make no secret of the fact that I suffer from depression on a frequent basis and that being physical is my way of coping. Those that know me are well aware that I like to throw the weights around but that can do more harm to my mental state at times and this is where Tai Chi plays its hand. The movement is soft, gentle, healing and at the same time grounding. But to really reap the benefits it must be practiced daily (understand no two days are ever the same).

If for any reason I end up missing a session of self-practice my mental health can suffer quite dramatically, upsetting my balance.

While the world around me turns to chaos one certainty is the peace of mind I will find through training.

The bottom line is that Tai Chi is a mind and body exercise encompassing martial arts and meditation. With its flowing movement and postures it promotes

  • awareness of the mind
  • breath
  • balance
  • coordination
  • relaxation
  • health
  • mind, body and spirt
  • flexibility

These are just a few of its benefits. Studies have shown the potential for Tai Chi as an aid for fighting depression and anxiety amongst other illnesses.  

Tai Chi may help reduce stress, anxiety and depression

Wang and her colleagues found that practicing Tai Chi was associated with reduced stress, anxiety, depression and mood disturbance, and increased self-esteem.

http://www.biomedcentral.com/search?query=tai+chi&searchType=publisherSearch    

http://www.news-medical.net/news/20100521/Tai-Chi-may-help-reduce-stress-anxiety-and-depression.aspx

Conclusion

Tai Chi is a gentle martial art form that promotes both mental and physical wellbeing. Daily practice alongside Qi Gung can have a profound effect on how you live your daily life, the way in which you move, and how you cope with demanding situations. Your outlook on life will change for the better but only through diligent daily practice.

Be kind and gentle to yourself and the world around you

If you want to know more about Tai Chi and take part in a session the contact www.PaulCollinsFitness.co.uk