We explore the ideas of eastern philosophy, health practices and Taoism to provide clarity about our tai chi exercises.
What is Tai Chi?
Tai chi, literally “supreme ultimate,” is an internal Chinese martial art practised for both its health benefits and defense training. Traditional practitioners hold that the two aspects of health and martial arts make up the art’s yin and yang.
We explore the ideas of eastern philosophy, health practices and Taoism (“dow-ism”) to provide more information and clarity about the exercises. Learning about these concepts helps us understand why tai chi developed as it did and how it can be applied not only to class practice but also to our everyday activities.
Origins and Current Practice
Originally conceived as a martial art, it is typically practised for a variety of other personal reasons: greater health and longevity, competitive wrestling in the form of pushing hands, and demonstrations and competitions. As a result, a multitude of training forms exist, both traditional and modern, with differing emphases. Some training forms of tai chi are especially known for being practised with relatively slow movements.
Tai Chi for Health
An unhealthy, or otherwise uncomfortable person, may find it difficult to meditate to a state of calmness or to use tai chi as a martial art. Tai chi’s health training, therefore, concentrates on relieving the physical effects of stress on the body and mind.
Tai chi is recommended to older people for its physical and psychological benefits.
A 2015 review found that tai chi could be performed by those with chronic medical conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart failure, and osteoarthritis without negative effects and found favorable effects on functional exercise capacity.
Meditation in Tai Chi
The focus and calmness cultivated by the meditative aspect of tai chi are seen as necessary in maintaining optimum health (in the sense of relieving stress and maintaining homeostasis) and in the application of the form as a soft style martial art.
Learn more about our classes and what you can expect when you start your journey in tai chi.
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