Many Americans are practicing Tai Chi for better health and wellness. As a result, Tai Chi classes are red hot today with young and old alike. Tai Chi is also popular with college students, seniors and those looking for low-impact, but high value exercise.
But, what exactly is Tai Chi? Is it right for you? What kind of benefits would you receive if you take a class or two? Check out the facts about Tai Chi before you sign up for a class. It’s a great form of exercise, but requires dedicated practice and commitment.
Q-What is Tai Chi?
A-Tai Chi is an ancient art, and a gentle, physical exercise, making it popular with seniors and others who are looking for effective but low impact exercise.
Q-Is Tai Chi a form of meditation or martial arts?
A-Tai Chi is often considered meditation-in-motion because it promotes peace and relaxation through a series of gentle movements. But, Tai Chi had its foundations in martial arts long ago.
Q-What is Tai Chi practice like?
A- Tai Chi requires that you study and do a series of postures and movements, very much like yoga.
Q-Is Tai Chi appropriate for older adults?
A-Yes it is. But, you should check with your doctor in advance of any new physical activity or exercise program. Tai Chi is popular today with old and young alike, given its reputation as a low impact, aerobic activity.
Q-What are the different styles within Tai Chi?
A-Too many to list, I’m afraid. But, here are the basics. Within Tai Chi, there are several different styles, such as yang and wu, and variations within each style. Some of these emphasize the movements and martial arts of Tai Chi, while others may focus on health promotion. These variations result in literally hundreds of possible Tai Chi movements and positions. Tai Chi movements and positions are given names, many of which draw from nature and the animal kingdom.
Q-Is Tai Chi like meditation or yoga? Do you have to control your breathing?
A-Tai Chi is a form of meditation, with positions that cue to breathing, the combination of which promote peace, inner calm, and an overall sense of well being. Tai Chi, like other forms of meditation, requires presence of mind and body, and intense concentration. It’s through this focus and breathing that individuals can set aside difficult emotions and thoughts and, instead, live in the moment, in peace and harmony with nature.
Q-How does Chinese philosophy come into play with Tai Chi?
A-In a nutshell, Tai chi brings together ancient Chinese concepts of yin and yang (opposing forces within the body) and qi (a vital energy or life force). Practicing Tai Chi is said to support a healthy balance of yin and yang, and promotes the flow of qi, resulting in inner peace, calm and harmony with nature.
Q-Can I find a Tai Chi class in my area?
A-Probably. Tai Chi classes are offered through community centers, local churches and civic organizations. Some spas and senior centers also offer Tai Chi classes and clinics. Tai Chi classes are usually organized in nondenominational settings, and through local yoga studios. Fitness centers and gyms also offer Tai Chi classes.
Q-Will studying Tai Chi cost me an arm and a leg?
A-Probably not. Of course, studying any form of martial art or healing practice will involve paying for a class or two, but the health benefits you gain over the course of a lifetime are priceless. Classes are usually quite reasonable. Sometimes you can pay as you go. You can also buy books and DVDs online. Check out Tai Chi on uTube or other websites for videos on Tai Chi principles and postures.
Q-Will I get bored in a Tai Chi class?
A-Like any activity, it takes patience and commitment to study Tai Chi and any martial or healing arts. Sometimes Tai Chi takes some getting used to, particularly if you’re not used to engaging in slow, sustained movement or breathing exercises. Talk to your Tai Chi instructor before or after a class to figure out ways to improve your focus and concentration.
Tai Chi Classes
World Tai Chi Day
Patience T’ai Chi Association