Whenever you think of martial arts, what will come to your mind? Plenty of boxing, kicking, fighting, and body contact. Everything, but slow activities. Tai chi exercises are the opposite – everything that is slow, rhythmic, and meditative. The purpose is to help you find peace and calm, which is lacking in our everyday life.
The purpose of this article is to familiarise you with the history, philosophy as well as Tai Chi benefits.
Historical Background of Tai Chi:
According to some records, Tai chi goes back as far as 2,500 years.
If you ask What is Tai chi – it is centuries-old Chinese martial art, which comes from “qigong”.
And what is “qigong”? An ancient Chinese discipline that finds its roots in traditional Chinese medicine.
How do we know who is practising Tai chi?
When you see people moving gracefully with flowing motions in parks throughout China, and in a modern world – that is when you can be sure they are doing Tai chi.
Unique Thing about Tai Chi:
You might be wondering what is special about tai chi moves?
They are slow and meditation-oriented body movements, designed for self-defence. They also promote inner peace and calm.
Do you know who Marvin Smalheiser is?
He is the tai chi historian. And what’s his take on tai chi?
According to him, there are some tai chi masters who are known to throw an attacker to the floor in such a way that the attacker and spectators are unable to see how it was done. The beauty of it lies in the movements made by the tai chi expert (s), which are so awesome that most people cannot spot them. This confirms the notion “four ounces can deflect a thousand pounds.”
Seems like tai chi has a lot to do with ‘mind planning’.
[ Also Read: Couple Workouts ]
Tai Chi originates from Qigong, the ancient Chinese discipline as mentioned at the start of the article. Qigong is a unique discipline, in which mind, breath, and movement come together to create a natural balance of energy, which can be further utilised in self-defense, work, or recreation.
Here comes a wonderful comparison:
Just like there are many varieties of the Indian yoga, similarly, qigong has more than 3,000 varieties.
Is that all?
Well, Qigong comes in two major types: “soft” and “hard” and has five major traditions – Taoist, Buddhist, Confucian, martial arts, and medical.
Tai Chi is an example of soft qigong (also called inner qigong).
Benefits Of Tai Chi:
Shocked or surprised you will be, I don’t know, but it is worth knowing Tai Chi Benefits.
The Chinese believe that tai chi can do the following:
- Delay aging
- Prolong life
- Strengthen muscles and tendons
- Improved balance
- Increase body flexibility
- Treat many illnesses, such as heart disease, high BP, arthritis, digestive disorders, skin diseases, depression, cancer, and many more
- Lowers stress, anxiety, and depression
- Enhances focus
It is unfortunate that there is no such scientific evidence or proof confirming these claims.
However, according to Harvard Medical School, tai chi is a slow practice, which boosts muscle strength, maintains flexibility, increases balance, and even provides a heart-friendly aerobic workout.
In fact, researchers, at Harvard, state that tai chi exercises, when done regularly for 12 weeks, can give you a “healthy body, strong heart, and sharp mind”.
Tai Chi Exercises and Workouts:
Before practicing tai chi, remember the following:
- You need open space. So do your practice in an open field or in a large empty room (even gymnasium will do)
- Most tai chi for beginners runs for at least 12 weeks, with practices happening at least twice a week
- Make sure to do a brief warm-up before you start tai chi. Do simple stretches (moving your legs, arms, and back) for several minutes.
- Loose clothing is what you need while doing tai chi. This will help you move around and stay cool.
- When it comes to beginners, take things slow. Spending 10-20 minutes a day learning a few postures makes more sense than rushing through an entire routine.
Tai Chi Beginners’ Moves:
Eager to know tai chi poses? Here they are:
- This is a basic tai chi move.
- Keep your feet shoulder-distance apart
- Let your toes be facing slightly inward and hips slightly tucked
- Some describe this pose as something similar to sitting on a high stool
- This is an important movement in tai chi exercises
- Is needed to make a transition smoothly from one move to the next
- It is done in a rolling motion, where you place your feet with balanced weight one in front of the other
- Roll your entire foot in such a way so that both feet rest on the ground in the end position.
- This tai chi move is an opening or a closing to a series
- Also called “Catch a Ball” or “Ball of Energy”
- Rub your hands together and then pull them apart
- Bring them close together once again without allowing them to touch
- In doing so, you will feel the warmth and energy (qi) between your hands
Withdraw and Push:
- This tai chi moves aims to cleanse the body
- Needs forward and backward movements like a wave
- Begin with one foot in front of other
- Your weight should be on your back legs
- Circle your hands in a wave motion and upward
- Lift your back heel
- Shift your weight forward visualising a wave moving up and through your body
It might sound new to you but Tai chi Exercises is what you need to consider for the betterment of your health. Do write your comments and tell us your views on the same.