Tai chi

Tai chi is one form of Chinese medicine that is fast gaining in popularity due to the many health benefits that can be gained by people of all ages. Tai chi is often described as yoga combined with meditation and although it originally derived from martial arts, it is a slow and graceful form of exercise and is wonderful therapy.

What exactly is tai chi?

The form is practiced by making a series of slow, graceful, continual, fluid movements, where muscles, the joints and breathing are all in unison. The movements have a sedative effect on the central nervous system which in turn has a stimulating effect on other parts of the body. It is known as a calming technique which de stresses the body and mind and when practiced properly in the correct form the Qi energy is increased dramatically.

Many people who practice this form of Chinese therapy report that they feel energised, with a tingling in the fingers and toes and a warm feeling encompassing the entire body. The benefits to the practice of tai chi are numerous and are especially good for those who have problems with motor control, posture and balance.

Is tai chi hard to learn?

There are a variety of schools and many different practices of tai chi, the Peking style of tai chi is a more modern style and a shorter one with about 24 postures or poses in total. It is a system of tai chi that combines styles from other forms and is a form which can be practiced in a very short length of time, another popular form of tai chi is the yang style although this takes a little longer to complete in its entirety as it is taken from the long and short sub styles.

All forms of tai chi rely on a series of separate moves or postures which are linked together into one long continual slow and fluid movement. The separate posture aren’t that hard to learn but as the practice relies on continuity and fluidity, then it is worth practicing one or two postures and getting the correct form before moving onto another set of postures.

The long form comprises of over 128 postures or movements and some of these can be quite complex and are only recommended for the expert or those with a lot of time on their hands to devote to the practice. However many of the postures are repeated throughout the practice and as such don’t have to be learnt again. To achieve correct form and to gain maximum benefit from the practice of tai chi you should practice at least two or three times and week or every day if possible.