Tai chi (pronounced “tie chee”) is a mind-body practice that originated in China as a martial art. A person practicing Tai Chi moves their body slowly and gently while breathing deeply and cultivating a meditative mind state.
Tai Chi is believed to help the flow of vital energy, or qi (pronounced “chee”) throughout the body. Additionally, it helps balance yin and yang, two opposing forces that, according to traditional Chinese philosophy, drive life and the universe itself.
With regular practice, Tai Chi brings a wide range of mental and psychological benefits, helping you calm your emotions, find more mental clarity and focus, and become more mindful in how you interact with others.
Tai Chi also brings great benefits to the physical body, including the tendons, joints, spine, connective tissue and internal organs. Tai Chi can:
- Improve circulation
- Aid detoxification and elimination
- Improve balance and posture
- Increase strength and flexibility
- Reduce physical symptoms of stress and anxiety
Although not a substitute for proper medical treatment, Tai Chi can help to improve the health and quality of life of people dealing with health conditions such as poor circulation, high blood pressure, back pain, joint immobility, digestive disorders, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and fibromyalgia.
Tai Chi is also a gentle, low impact exercise solution for the elderly or those with physical disabilities. It can improve balance and coordination, aerobic capacity and can even provide proven benefits for those with arthritis and diabetes.
How Can I Learn Tai Chi?
Tai Chi is learned by doing. While videos and books are good learning aids, they can’t replace a trained instructor who can offer support, ensure your form is correct, and help you avoid injury.