As we embark on a new year and hope for a more peaceful, positive, forgiving year, we are all looking for a bit of relaxation that brings about a sense of peace. Tai chi is a great way to find peace, increase flexibility, and improve balance.
What is Tai Chi?
An ancient Chinese movement practice, tai chi embraces mind, body, and spirit. Chi means “life energy.” The practice aims to achieve harmony and cultivate our life energy. Unlike yoga, which consists of holding specific poses, tai chi is more dance-like and incorporates elements of the martial arts form. In fact, there are a variety of styles of tai chi and some people even practice tai chi as a martial art. Tai chi is fairly easy to learn, and participants can make it as low-impact or intense as they choose.
There are 108 moves in tai chi, and individuals are encouraged to move through them slowly in order to slow and deepen the breathing and really focus on the mind-body connection. This is considered movement meditation.
Tai chi is offers numerous benefits to people of all ages. It is great for older adults who are at risk of falling because it can help improve posture and balance. It also builds strength and can help with flexibility. As with any form of exercise, tai chi can boost mood and improve not just physical health, but mental health. In the heart of winter when many people feel isolated and stuck indoor, tai chi can be a great way to bring people out of these feelings. With continued practice, individuals may also see a slew of other benefits, including a strengthened immune system and improved heart health.
How to Practice
There are plenty of resources online to help you get started. Watch videos that take participants through an entire sequence, or study the poses and enact them yourself. You can also look for community resources to practice with a group once it becomes safe to do so.