What is Tai Chi          Benefits of Tai Chi             Who can benefit from Tai Chi?           Tai Chi FAQ

What is Tai Chi

A Chinese system of slow meditative physical exercise designed for relaxation and balance and health, an effective means of alleviating stress and anxiety. It has been considered to be a form of 'meditation in motion' which promotes serenity and inner peace.

Tai Chi began in China originally as a martial art called Tai Chi Chuan and comes from the ancient art of Shoalin, practiced in temples all over China. The story goes that a monk was sitting and meditating when he spotted a large bird, a Crane attempting to capture a small snake thinking it was an easy meal. The snake had other ideas though; it squirmed and moved from side to side and up and down and in complicated circles to avoid the Crane's powerful beak. After some time, the Crane gave up and flew away leaving the snake to go on its way. The smooth and fluid movements the monk observed, he incorporated into his martial art training. Later, when he had perfected the fluid motion, he was unbeatable in competition and the other monks asked hi how it was he was so difficult to beat. So good was his form, that they asked him to teach them. The birth of tai Chi Chuan.

In the early 20th century the original Yang Style form was adapted to better suit western physiology and started to be used as a well being and 'medical' style of Tai Chi. combining with different forms of Chi Kung (to build chi strength and bolster the immune system) and Tai Chi to move the life force Chi Kung around the body using the meridians, or power lines of the body (used by acupuncture and acupressure practitioners). Tai Chi forces the Chi around the body, unblocking any locking points along the meridians and giving health giving energy to all parts of the body.

This in turn increases the power of the immune system, energises the body and mind, improves circulation and breath control and builds strength in bones, muscles and internal organs.

Tai Chi seems to be very relaxed and involving little physical effort. Nothing could be further from the truth. As a swan paddles fiercely to seem to glide effortlessly through the waves, so Tai Chi and its internal efforts is deceiving to the casual viewer. Strength and balance and control combine to give Tai Chi a smooth and effortless look. Using circles and a continuous fluid and smooth series of movements, Tai Chi builds balance and grace as well as strength.



Benefits of Tai Chi

Tai Chi can bring many benefits to the old and the young alike. Bringing good health, strong core muscles and a mental peace that dissolves stress and anxiety. Here are a few of the benefits:

  • Improved strength, conditioning, coordination and flexibility
  • Reduced pain and stiffness
  • Better balance and lower risk of falls
  • Enhanced sleep
  • Greater awareness, calmness and overall sense of well being
  • Balance and strength
  • Osteoarthritis and arthritis pain relief
  • Better Sleep
  • Improved immune response
  • Massages the internal organs to give a workout to improve circulation and effectiveness
  • and much more..

Who can benefit from Tai Chi?

Quite literally everyone from the young to the very old. It does not matter if you are fit or have not done physical exercise for some time. As long as you check with your medical practitioner before committing to a course of Tai Chi and Chi Kung, Tai Chi should bring only health benefits, to suit what you need as an individual. Tai Chi is different for everyone and classes should progress at a speed to suit your specific needs.

The gentle and smooth flowing movements in Tai Chi soon builds an inner strength and ushers in a new era of well being to all who learn the form. Classes not only deal with teaching the movements in the form, they also do posture and balance work, making it invaluable for those that have balance and stability issues. For example, as a system for preventing falls and injury, Tai Chi and Chi Kung are excellent. When a person who is liable to falls take up Tai Chi, it can give a newfound freedom from the worry of falling. Giving confidence and a sense coping with moving around in a busy and fast moving world. Even if a person has had a fall, the posture and balance and strengthening work done with Tai Chi can prevent further falls.

There is also evidence that doing Tai Chi and Chi Kung can halt the onset and in some cases reverse the effects of dementia related conditions. Most medical practitioners can see the benefit in doing Tai Chi and Chi Kung and would recommend starting classes to improve health and balance. It also promotes mental clarity and relaxation, excellent for those with sleep issues.

Look up some of the web pages in the Useful links page, which gives several references for particular ailments and chronic disorders.

What do I need to practice Tai Chi?  

Very little required:

Tai Chi can be practiced anywhere, anytime by anybody. All you need is loose fitting trousers, tracksuit bottoms will do, a loose top, either T-Shirt or sweatshirt, comfortable shoes, like daps (Plimsoles) or trainers are ideal, as they support the ankle and give a firm platform to work from. Water to keep hydrated and perhaps a towel if you get hot easily. Otherwise, just bring you. It is unusual for an exercise system to require so little to practice, especially no specialist gear.