In simple terms, Tai Chi is a form of martial art with its origin in China. The Western world understands martial arts as kicking, fighting, punching, and body contact. In contrast, Tai Chi emphasizes the body’s rhythmic, slow, and meditative movements, focusing on enhanced inner calm, relaxation, and peace. Let us now consider what Tai Chi is and how it can benefit you.
What is Tai Chi?
Some records put the origin of Tai Chi at about 2,500 years on Chinese soil, which is believed to have stemmed from Chinese medicine. It is an ancient Chinese martial art form that has been practiced for centuries. It is a low-impact exercise that is known for its health benefits, both physical and mental. Tai Chi is a version of moving meditation that combines gentle physical movements with deep breathing and relaxation. It is a gentle, slow-paced exercise that people of all backgrounds, ages, and fitness levels can practice.
In modern times, when you notice people gracefully moving in nearly every Chinese park and throughout most of the Western world, you should know that they are actually practicing tai chi. Tai Chi is also reckoned as a descendant of Quigong, another ancient discipline of Chinese origin.
Tai Chi benefits come from the series of meditative and slow body movements designed originally for self-defense and promoting inner peace. The subtle movements draw from internal energy, and attackers are effortlessly floored even before the onlookers or the attacker himself realizes what happened. A person with fully developed Tai Chi skills can use very little energy to neutralize several pounds of force from the attacker.
Philosophy of Tai Chi
Fire, air, sky, water, and earth are the five elements on which the Indian system of Ayurveda is based. Likewise, Tai Chi reckons water, fire, metal, earth, and wood as the five elements providing intrinsic energy to the body. Both these systems regard that perfect harmony between the five elements ushers in good health.
What are Tai Chi Benefits?
There are several benefits that Tai Chi promises, but the highlights are:
– The Chinese people believe that tai chi brings several health benefits, including increased flexibility, stronger tendons and muscles, and helps in the treatment of arthritis, high blood pressure, heart diseases, cancer, depression, skin diseases, digestive disorders, and many more illnesses. However, scientific evidence supporting these claims is lean.
Tai Chi Benefits For Mental Health
The mental benefits of Tai Chi are numerous. Practicing Tai Chi can help reduce stress and anxiety, improve mental clarity and focus, and increase feelings of peace and relaxation. It can also help to improve mood, reduce depression, and increase self-confidence.
Tai Chi can help to reduce stress and anxiety by providing a calming and soothing environment. The slow and gentle movements of Tai Chi help to relax the body and mind, allowing the practitioner to become more aware of their thoughts and feelings. This awareness can help to reduce stress and anxiety by allowing the practitioner to recognize and address their stressors in a more mindful way.
Tai Chi can also help to increase feelings of peace and relaxation. The slow and gentle movements of Tai Chi help to relax the body and mind, allowing the practitioner to become more aware of their thoughts and feelings. This awareness can help to reduce stress and anxiety, allowing the practitioner to become more relaxed and at peace.
Finally, Tai Chi can help to improve mood, reduce depression, and increase self-confidence. The slow and gentle movements of Tai Chi help to relax the body and mind, allowing the practitioner to become more aware of their thoughts and feelings. This awareness can help reduce stress and anxiety, allowing practitioners to become more positive and confident in their daily lives. Overall, Tai Chi is an excellent form of exercise that can provide numerous mental benefits. It can help to improve focus and mental clarity, reduce stress and anxiety, and increase feelings of peace and relaxation. It can also help to improve mood, reduce depression, and increase self-confidence. For these reasons, Tai Chi is an excellent form of exercise for anyone looking to improve their mental health.
Tai Chi Benefits For Managing Conditions
The following are some of the conditions in which Tai Chi can be helpful
- Reducing depression, anxiety, and stress
- Improving moods
- Increasing stamina and energy
- Improving agility, balance, and flexibility
- Improving muscle definition and strength
Like in most other forms of physical exercises, practicing Tai Chi solely with the help of tutorials or videos is not advised. Similarly, caution is also advised in choosing the right teacher, warming up before the start of a session, cooling off, modifying movements with care, and avoiding a competitive attitude.
See: What is Lifestyle Medicine?
There have been no known adverse side effects from practicing Tai Chi though the positive side effects are plenty.
Science and research
According to nccih.nih.gov, Tai Chi appeared safe for practice, and a review supported by this body has noted this practice as unlikely to lead to serious injury. However, minor pains and aches could be associated with it. In the same report, pregnant women have been advised to talk to their doctor before embarking on tai chi and similar programs. In another report from Harvard magazine, about 3 million people are said to be practicing Tai chi in the US alone