Tai Chi - What is It?
Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese practice that involves a series of slow, focused movements paired with meditation and deep breathing. It involves gentle form of physical exercises and stretches, each movement smoothly flowing into the next keeping your body in constant motion. These moves are aimed at aligning the energy of your mind, body and spirit to restore the Qi (energy flow) of the body.
Inspired from ancient martial arts, the practice is now used for improving physical and mental wellbeing, and rehabilitation. The mindful moves help you fight anxiety and stress as well as improve flexibility and balance.
Benefits of Tai Chi
Whether you have signed up for YouTube Tai Chi or a physical class, when each move is learnt correctly, it has a profound effect on your physical and psychological wellbeing. The benefits include:
Reduced anxiety, stress, and depression
Improved mood, energy levels and stamina
Better balance, mobility and flexibility
Increased lung capacity
Increase in muscle strength
Better focus and consistency
Inculcation of mindfulness in life
Reduced risk of trips and falls in older people (backed by research)
Several studies have found that Tai Chi has incredible health benefits, such as:
Better sleep quality
Improved brain functions
Reduced blood pressure level
Improved cardiac health and reduced risk of heart failure
Regularized sleep patterns and less fatigue in fibromyalgia patients
Improved chronic joint pain and stiffness in case of knee osteoarthritis
Can You Learn Tai Chi At Any Age?
Tai Chi movements are low-impact, gentle moves that people of any age can easily perform. However, you must seek medical advice before participating, especially if you:
- Are pregnant
- Experience back ache
- Have a joint problem like osteoporosis
What to Expect From a Session
In your first session, you will be introduced to meditation, visualization, deep breathing, and gentle repetitive exercises.
Unlike other physical training classes, there is no music backdrop in a Tai Chi class. It’s conducted in a quiet environment to help each participant connect with their inner self, find their own balance, and gain better awareness of their body.
For your first class:
- Copy your instructor precisely
- Do not push your body too far—flexibility builds over time
- Whenever the instructor demonstrates a new move, follow it carefully alongside other people.
As for the class attire, you should wear loose-fitted, breathable and comfortable clothing and flat shoes.
An average session is about 45-60 minutes long; and for the elderly people, the time is gradually increased from 30-60 minutes.
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