Healing with Tai Chi

Tai Chi Group     

   Tai chi is a mind-body practice that originated in China as a martial art in about the 12th century A.D.  Over time, people began to use tai chi for health purposes, and many different styles and variations developed.  Presently, tai chi is regarded in China as one of the best overall forms of exercise.  This martial art is especially popular with the elderly population because it is generally slower than other forms of exercise and can be practiced without too much physical exertion. The low velocity, low impact movements can be performed by older individuals experiencing joint degeneration, muscle atrophy, poor balance, and low stamina.
        The ancient art of tai chi uses slow, circular movements to exercise the body, mind, and consciousness.  These moves are performed gently and at a uniform speed, with one movement flowing into the next.  In addition to movement, tai chi involves two other important elements, breathing and meditation – a self-directed practice for relaxing the body and calming the mind.   In tai chi practice, it is considered important to concentrate, put aside distracting thoughts, and breathe in a deep, relaxed, and focused manner.
        There are many proven health benefits of tai chi training.  For instance, performing a tai chi routine increases the strength and flexibility of muscles and ligaments by the slow shifting of weight from one side of the body to the other.  Tai chi also has the effect of inducing deep relaxation in the body. You may find yourself yawning and taking spontaneous deep breaths that release a great deal of physical tension during your practice.  Less tension in the body conserves energy and provides a sense of well being and ease in your life.  Finally, the movements of tai chi help to make the body far more agile and coordinated.  In turn, this makes your reflexes sharper and quicker, helping you in all aspects of your life.
        Although tai chi is a relatively safe practice, if performed improperly it could lead to minor injuries, such as sore muscles or sprains.  Accordingly, before beginning a tai chi routine, you should speak to an instructor or purchase an instructional DVD to learn the movements.  Also, you should consult your health care provider to ensure that you are healthy enough to practice tai chi.

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