We’ve all seen the images on the television screen: a group of people, usually in a park or outdoors somewhere, moving in unison in a beautiful, slow, rhythmic, dance-like pattern. They each have a calm, serene look on their face and, instinctively, we think “I want to do that!”
The initial appeal of Tai Chi (a.k.a. Tai Chi Chuan or Taijiquan) is the grace and beauty that one experiences simply through observing it. The second appeal is that it actually looks do-able. And it is! Tai Chi is recommended for all ages because of its slow, rounded, gentle movements. Though it is actually a martial art, few teachers choose to focus on this aspect, preferring instead to highlight the health benefits… of which there are many.
The history of Tai Chi, like so many things Chinese, is steeped in myth, mystery and legend. Some believe its origins began with a man named Chang San Feng in the 13th century after he witnessed a battle between a snake and a crane. In awe of the soft, spiraling movements the snake used to evade capture, Chang was inspired to create a form of defense using those same principles.
Tai Chi is looked upon kindly by health practitioners of all kinds. Much research has been performed on the benefits of Tai Chi and the results are nearly always favorable. Some known benefits include improved flexibility, balance control, cardiovascular fitness, reduced blood pressure, and pain control. Tai chi has been known to reduce the risk of falls in the elderly and to reduce the symptoms of Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder. Patients with Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Fibromyalgia have been shown to benefit from this ancient art form. Known as a “moving meditation” Tai Chi is also known as an exercise that improves one’s sense of well-being and may be used for certain forms of depression.
So, “Why Tai Chi”? Considering the information we have on the benefits of the art, and knowing what we know about the preventative qualities of any form of exercise, the question really becomes “Why not Tai Chi?”
No related posts.