What you should know about tai chi

What you should know about tai chi

Want to improve your physical health, but also find some mental peace?

You might be able to find both in tai chi. And before you write it off because you think it’s fast-paced and full of crazy kicks and straining positions, think again.

“It is rhythmic and flowing and relaxed, not forced,” says Steven Mui, a clinician and tai chi instructor at the Aurora Health Center in Fond du Lac, Wis. “Tai chi is one way to move with stress rather than fight against it.”

Often considered a form of active meditation, tai chi consists of a series of gentle, graceful movements without any pause between postures, all while providing physical exercise and stretching without leaving participants winded or exhausted. Although tai chi and yoga share many similarities, yoga involves holding poses for a few breaths, while tai chi involves constant and calm movements.

Not only is tai chi good for your physical and mental well-being, it also reduces stress, improves flexibility, helps you sleep better and can even benefit conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, depression and other disorders. The National Institutes of Health suggests “practicing tai chi may improve balance and stability in older people and those with Parkinson’s, reduce pain from knee osteoarthritis, help people cope with fibromyalgia and back pain and promote quality of life and mood in people with heart failure and cancer.”

Tai chi is wonderfully versatile. You can find health clubs that offer tai chi classes, or you can do it by yourself in your own home.

“It is self-care for personal health and fitness and self-defense for preventing disease and injury,” says Mui.

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Comments

2 Comments

  1. I used to do Tai Chi and benefited immensely. I plan to return to it.
    You may not know, but Tai Chi is a martial art.
    Its philosophy is by being soft, you become strong. Think of the yin-yang symbol; everything contains its opposite. The soft-ness is relaxed breathing, slow movement, mindfullness, and sinking into the earth (while drawing energy from it.) Also you learn to redirect the power of the other person toward your own benefit.
    It helps to have a teacher that understands this, even if your main interest is not about martial art.

    Unexpectedly, the practice of Tai Chi also helped me during be strong during pregnancy, and effective during childbirth.

  2. I would like to learn more about Tai Chi. I feel like I’m under a lot of stress lately and I’ve also been having trouble sleeping. And not to mention I feel achy joints and back pain.

About the Author

Brianna Wunsch
Brianna Wunsch

Brianna Wunsch, health enews contributor, is a public affairs specialist for Advocate Aurora Health with a BA in public affairs from University of Wisconsin - Green Bay. In her free time, Brianna enjoys living an active lifestyle through biking, hiking and working out at the gym, but even more than that, she especially loves spending quality time with her two cats (Arthur and Loki), son and husband.