Chungliang Al Huang said this about tai chi; “Tai chi does not mean oriental wisdom or something exotic. It is the wisdom of your own senses, your own mind and body together as one process.“
It is not uncommon to find people looking for lifehacks on how to live healthier and longer. As a matter of fact, many organizations and private individuals have invested many financial resources into increasing life expectancy. However, all medical research indicates that the best way to increase life expectancy is a lifestyle of good mental health and prime physical condition. That brings me to my point- Tai Chi. It is a gentle exercise you can do to live healthier and longer.
Many know about tai chi as a martial art for defense and offense as portrayed in movies like the master of tai chi, tai chi hero, the man of tai chi, and several others. However, few are actually unaware of the health benefits. There is a lot to enjoy by incorporating it into your lifestyle. Let’s talk about Tai Chi.
What is Tai chi?
Tai chi (also known as Tai Chi Chuan or taiji) originated from ancient Chinese medicine. In recent times, it has gained widespread popularity in many places around the world. Over two hundred and fifty million people are believed to practice tai chi worldwide.
It is an art that exercises the mind, body, and spirit, leaving you in top form to go about your daily activities. Like qigong, it is a useful exercise for the mind and body.
If you are familiar with the concept of qi and qi flow, you may also know that qi has a profound effect on the human body health. Good qi flow around the body promotes total harmony of the inner and outer self, leading to the integration of the mind of the body and mind. On the other hand, bad qi or blocked qi may cause diseases and illnesses.
By practicing tai chi, you can cultivate your qi (or life energy), letting it flow freely and powerfully throughout the body. This promotes good health, endurance, and immunity against diseases. Also, just like any other physical exercise, it keeps you fit and leaves your body healthy.
The exciting part about it is that anybody can learn it, irrespective of physical condition and age. Also, it is relatively easy to understand.
Practicing Tai chi: how does it work.
Tai chi provides relaxation by a body conditioning exercise that employs flowing, rhythmic movements, with carefully prescribed stances and positions. This harmonizes your yin and yang – the yin and yang are opposing elements that make up the universe. By practicing tai chi, you keep these opposing elements in balance.
You can learn it at your local health club, community center, a wellness facility, and martial arts. There are many styles and forms, such as Chen, Yang, Wu, Wo Hao, and Sun. Whichever style you may adopt, the principles of tai chi remain the same. You also stand to gain innumerable health benefits by practicing any one of these styles.
Tai chi works by gentle physical exercises that promote the integration of the mind and the body by unique control of body movements and breathing, which causes increased qi flow, mindfulness, and serenity.
Benefits of Tai Chi
When Tai chi was introduced to the modern world, it was initially seen as a martial art technique for defense and offense. However, it has been discovered to be a lot more than that, as proven by empirical and medical studies. Let’s talk a bit about what you stand to gain by practicing tai chi.
Have you ever wondered why Chinese monks live for an incredibly long time? There is said that a monk that doesn’t live for more than one hundred and fifty years has lived a short life. This is mainly because of a lifelong practice of tai chi, which eliminates bad qi from the body. An excellent physical routine should aim to improve cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength, and flexibility. Tai chi satisfies all these requirements. Hence, it is recommended by many medical experts as regular physical exercise.
Cardio-vascular fitness and strength
We should take care of our hearts and lungs because an adequate supply of oxygen and blood is necessary to keep you healthy and increase immunity against disease. Good cardiovascular health is essential for a healthy life. By continually improving our cardio-vascular fitness, our heart and lung become better equipped to handle strains and stress. This is what tai chi does for you.
In 1996, research involving 126 post-heart attack patients to study Tai chi’s usefulness in improving cardiovascular fitness. In this study, the patients were required to participate in a tai chi class, an aerobic exercise, or a non-exercise support group. It was discovered that the patients subjected to tai chi exercises developed better cardiovascular fitness than other the rest. Also, most of them continued to practice it, even after the study.
In summary, it strengthens your heart, leaving you with energy to deal with the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
It strengthens your body.
Tai chi provides you with the full package. It’s a unique combination of gentle motion, mediation, and breathing that keeps you in superb physical condition. It strengthens your muscles and your joints, keeping them stable and better protected.
You can increase muscles’ strength by practicing it, leading to better cushions around your joints, preventing you from body conditions like rheumatism, fibromyalgia, and osteoarthritis.
How well can you move your body? Tai chi leaves you with sufficient freedom at your joints to move your body any way you want. It has proven effective in recent times for increasing the movability of the body. A notable example is Jim; Jim was a retired fireman who suffered an injury on the job. As a result, he couldn’t lift his hand above his shoulders. After six months of practicing tai chi, he gained sufficient flexibility at his joints. Hence, he was able to move freely.
Tai chi improves your range of motion, allowing you to go about your daily activities without hassle.
It improves your body posture.
Bad posture causes wear and tear on your joints. Besides, it may also reduce lung space, which may affect breathing. This can be corrected with tai chi. By developing a good posture, you can reduce the strain on your joints and provide body balance.
Good mental health
It is a well-known fact that the mind controls the body. Unlike other physical exercises, it cares for the mental state too. Tai chi chuan puts the human mind in a state of relaxation by stimulating the brain to produce dopamine or other opiates. This alleviates stress and keeps you happy.
Moreover, it offers psychological benefits, such as reducing anxiety and depression.
Adopting Tai Chi Chuan to live healthier
It is always a good idea to learn tai chi. There are countless stories of people who have enjoyed a better quality of life by adopting it in their workout routine. You can join them and live healthier.
Sign up at your local work out studio to get started.