Updated: Dec 26, 2020
Tai Chi is a low-impact exercise that is gentle on the joints and perfect for all ages.
It is a fitness regimen that is proven to reduce stress and anxiety.
It is a meditative form of exercise that calms the spirit and promotes brain health.
If you want to benefit from an exercise that is rooted in thousands of years of tradition and backed by modern medicine, then Tai Chi is the answer!
Here are 5 Tips to get you started with a home practice. These will be very helpful for making sure you gain all the benefits of tai chi and are able to practice it all the way into old age.
Tip #1: Tai Chi can be easy and fun to learn
Although there are many styles of tai chi, TaijiFit is a type of class perfect for beginners. You don’t have to learn any complex routines or sequences. You just follow along and do what you see. You don’t have to get it perfect or get it “right.” It’s all about getting into the flow. You can watch my FREE video classes online here:
Tip #2: Tai Chi can transform your body
From Harvard Health, “This gentle form of exercise can help maintain strength, flexibility, and balance, and could be the perfect activity for the rest of your life.”
Tai Chi has greatly improved my balance and knee pain. It helps me stay active while helping me relax. I have learned through tai chi how to reduce tension in my shoulders and neck and you can do the same.
Tip #3: Tai Chi can transform your mind and emotions
A systematic review was conducted by Wang WC, et al titled “The effect of Tai Chi on psychosocial well-being: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials.” The review concluded that “Tai Chi appears to be associated with improvements in psychological well-being including reduced stress, anxiety, depression and mood disturbance, and increased self-esteem.”
In this face-paced world, it is very helpful to balance high level and intense activities with restorative and relaxing practices.
Tip #4: Tai Chi can heal you spiritually
Spirit is defined by people in many different ways. In Chinese Medicine Spirit or “Shen” is considered to work directly with the mind.
To me, spirit is about connection. When I get into the flow, I often feel connected with the universe, with nature, with other beings, and with the “mystery” of life. Whatever you believe to be spirit, Tai Chi can help you connect with it which brings happiness, joy, and peace.
Tip #5: Do Tai Chi Everyday
We gain the greatest benefits of Tai Chi when we cultivate a daily practice. It doesn’t have to be long. Just 7 minutes per day can get you into a state of flow, improve balance, strengthen your body, improve mental cognition, and bring inner peace.
Also, if you haven’t already, join our free Facebook™ group called "Begin with Breath Tai Chi and Therapy" to start learning tai chi and yoga the fun and easy way while building strength, flexibility, and balance. Just tap the link below to request to join...
So, what is Tai Chi?
Tai Chi is a form of Chinese martial arts that is widely practiced around the world. In the modern use of the term, Tai Chi is referred to as a specific type of meditative movement that is used for health and wellness and is often compared to yoga.
While yoga focuses on holding postures for extended periods of time and achieving a peaceful state of mind, Tai Chi is more rhythmic in its movement, a sort of slow and fluid dance-like exercise that and aims to calm the mind and remove stress.
Tai Chi by the Numbers
The popularity of Tai Chi grew rapidly in the 20th century, when practitioners heavily promoted the health benefits of the art. Medical studies supported it as an alternative exercise with numerous mental and physical health benefits, helping the practice to spread.
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine states that 2.3 million to 3 million people practice Tai Chi in the United States alone. Worldwide the number is around 250 million. In China, you will typically see people practicing Tai Chi in parks on a regular basis.
Tai Chi is also one of the most popular forms of martial arts, along with Karate and Tae Kwon Do.
Schools of Tai Chi
There are five traditional schools of Tai Chi which teach a slightly different style of the art. These are the Yang, Chen, Wu (Hao), Wu, and Sun styles. These five schools are actually named after he families who developed them. They influenced all the various forms of Tai Chi as we know it today.
TaijiFit (Tai Chi Fit)
An even more modern style of Tai Chi is called TaijiFit (Tai Chi Fit). This is the style of Tai Chi that I currently teach. TaijiFIt was developed by David-Dorian Ross (DDR), a master Tai Chi Instructor who has won eight U.S. gold medals, a world silver medal and two world bronze medals —the highest awards ever given to an American for international tai chi performance.
Here is what DDR has to say about TaijiFit:
“TaijiFit is a mind/body “exercise” that combines the best of traditional Taiji (Tai Chi) with modern Western fitness. It’s a workout appropriate for any age or fitness level – and has you experiencing the FLOW of Taiji whether it’s your first class or 100th.”
To learn more about TaijiFit, see my post “The 7 Components of MindBody Wellness”
The greatest part about TaijiFit is that you don’t have to “learn” anything or memorize complex routines. You simply follow along with the instructor who will guide you into a state of “flow.”
Check out this 7 minute video to experience Taijifit and what its like to get into the flow:
What is Flow?
Have you ever found yourself so immersed in a task that you completely lose track of time?
You look up from your task to discover that hours have passed in what seems like just a matter of moments.
Your focus was so intense that the world around you faded away and all that mattered was the task in front of you.
These are just some examples of flow. Flow is a quality of movement and also a state of mind.
From a movement perspective, motion is continuous, harmonious, and synergistic which allows it to appear graceful and smooth. The experience can be very enjoyable and meditative.
From a psychological perspective, the mind becomes fully present and the person tends to lose track of time. This also happens with mindfulness and meditation practice. To learn more about these topics, check out my other post “The 7 Components of MindBody Wellness”
In his book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi writes:
I developed a theory of optimal experience based on the concept of flow — the state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience itself is so enjoyable that people will do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.
Czickszentmihaly states that if the task is too easy or too difficult, flow cannot occur. Both skill level and challenge level must be matched and high; if skill and challenge are low and matched, then apathy results.
Although Czickszentmihaly describes what may be partially true of what people experience in the “zone,” it may not be the whole picture. People who practice Tai Chi can achieve a high level of flow with a relatively low level of skill.
This is good news for beginners of tai chi. You can learn to get into the flow and enjoy the many benefits of tai chi with very little experience. I have people experience flow in their very first class! There are many ways to practice but I have found that Taijifit is the quickest and easiest way to get into a flow state.
So, if you haven’t already, join our free Facebook™ group called "Begin with Breath Tai Chi and Therapy" to start learning tai chi and yoga the fun and easy way while building strength, flexibility, and balance. Just tap the link below to request to join...
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