by Keila Chaliotis, Staff Writer
Tai chi is an ancient Chinese exercises also known as tai chi chuan. These exercises are for the mind and body. It involves slow, graceful and gentle movements that can be performed by anyone. All these movements are accompanied by deep breathing. Each movement flows into the next without pausing, making sure your body is in constant motion.
The ancient Chinese believed that all living creatures are sustained by an energy force called Qi that flows in the body. The Yin and Yang are opposite from each other. The Yin is known as the more feminine and negative aspects of things and the Yang is the more masculine, harder and more positive aspects of things. Together they make a perfect whole since they complement each other. They believed half of our organs were governed by the Yin and the other half by the Yang. Both of them maintain in balance by Qi. The main purpose of Tai Chi is to keep that balance by strengthening Qi.
Practicing Tai Chi can help you reduce and improve disorders such as anxiety, arthritis, balance and coordination, fatigue, joint stiffness, muscle tension, poor posture and stress. It also helps you increase your flexibility and strength, and better your cardiovascular system. Tai Chi is also a form of meditation, which helps your mind achieve calm and clarity.
You can learn Tai Chi by using videos, books, online or taking a class. It is a great exercise to practice in the outdoors. This will not only help you enjoy the peaceful movements but also get to enjoy nature. Tai Chi also helps you get close to you’re the environment. A great way to practice it is just behind your house, barefoot, with your feet on the grass, next to a tree. Enjoy the scenery!
It is an excellent exercise to start your day, due the different meditation exercises. You get to start your day with positive thinking. Just on the right foot!
- It is recommendable you practice several times a week, better if you do it at the same time every day. If possible try to have sessions of 20 minutes or more.
- You should also establish a place to practice your workout. Like I mentioned before if you have a space close to nature even better.
- Try to combine warm up exercises and repetitions.
- Also wear comfortable clothes.
Other tips that can help you be ready for your tai chi workout. Make sure you don’t bring any worries to your workout place. Try to be free of negative thoughts. You have to concentrate on your workout.
Like other exercise routines also make sure you start with a warm up and why not this can include some meditation. Sometimes we don’t take the time during the day to focus on us and have positive thoughts. Ask yourself what do you want? What makes you happy? How lucky you are to be living. Breathe while doing this. In Tai Chi, breathing is an important to do during the exercises.
Once you have finished with what I have mentioned you are ready to start exercising the different forms Tai Chi offers. Try to do them as smoothly as possible, without stopping. Make sure your exercises are done one after the other, fluently. This will help you build your internal energy.
Beginners can begin with movements of short form. Repeat the form and concentrate on what you want to accomplish with practicing the form. In some cases you might focus on body alignments when doing the form, like keeping your shoulders dropped or your knees correctly aligned. Other times you might focus on the energy flow to your hands and to your feet. You can do forms like Wu Short Form, which can be done in 3 minutes or with a slower pace up to 20 minutes by implementing the following movements:
- Raise Hands
- Play the Lute
- Grasp Sparrow´s Tail
- Single Whip
- Diagonal Flying and Hold Ball
- Yin Release and Shoulder Stroke
- Elbow Strike and Wrist Strike
- White Crane Spreads Wings
- Brush Knee and Twist Step
- Needle at Sea Bottom
- Fan Through the Back
- Turn and Chop with Back of Fist
- Parry and Punch
- Close Up and Step Forward
- Tiger and Leopard Spring to Mountain
You can close your workout by returning to a neutral standing position. In this process you intend to store your energy. Once you have stored all the energy let it re circulate and re energize your body. Try to focus on positive energy and use it all throughout your day. Tai Chi is not only an exercise routine but also a way of living. A philosophy that encourages you to treat all life events in a calm and smooth manner. Don’t hesitate give it a try, read about it, get informed and make Tai Chi part of your life.