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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