Tai Chi is an exercise for people of all ages and all levels of fitness. The movements of Tai Chi are non-strenuous, relaxed, slow moving, soft, and flowing.
It has often been described as moving meditation, as it relieves stress and improves concentration. It is the gentleness and slowness of Tai Chi that makes it so applicable to everyone as a form of exercise.
When you watch Tai Chi being performed, it looks effortless but this comes from a considerable amount of practice.
When practiced for health and fitness, the slow-motion movements of tai chi provide three basic benefits:
- Tai chi improves physical movement.
- Tai chi calms and releases stress from the nerves and mind.
- Tai chi develops chi, or life-force energy.
Practicing 15-30 minutes a day can have dramatic health benefits. The gentle, low-impact movements are far less damaging then high-impact exercise/sports. So tai chi can be practiced by virtually anyone regardless of their age or current state of health.
A Tai Chi class might include these parts:
Warm-up. Easy motions, such as shoulder circles, turning the head from side to side, or rocking back and forth, help you to loosen your muscles and joints and focus on your breath and body.
Instruction and practice of tai chi forms. Short forms — forms are sets of movements — may include a dozen or fewer movements; long forms may include hundreds. Different styles require smaller or larger movements. A short form with smaller, slower movements is usually recommended at the beginning, especially if you’re older or not in good condition.
Qigong (or chi kung). Translated as “breath work” or “energy work,” this consists of a few minutes of gentle breathing sometimes combined with movement. The idea is to help relax the mind and mobilise the body’s energy. Qigong may be practiced standing, sitting, or lying down.Free Introduction Class