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Tai Chi

What is Tai Chi?

Tai means sublime, great, supreme. Chi means extreme, ultimate, or whatever. Chuan means palm, boxing, or fist. More precisely, the two words “Tai” and “chimean “Supreme Ultimate”, representing the “Cosmos” with the operating principles of yin and yang.

Pinyin taijiquan, Wade-Giles Romanization, Tai Chi Chuan, (Chinese: ” supreme ultimate fist “), t’ai chi Ch’uan, also called Tai Chi, or Chinese boxing, the distinctive, and ancient Chinese practice or attack and defensive form. Tai Chi is famous all over the world.

Tai Chi Chuan (also called Taijiquan) is an ancient form of Chinese exercise originally developed as a martial art. Tai Chi is an art that embraces the mind, body, and soul – Beginning in ancient China, Tai Chi is one of the most effective exercises for mental and physical health.

Although an art with a depth of knowledge and expertise, it can be easy to learn and soon offers health benefits. For many, it continues as a lifelong journey.

The Tai Chi symbol is also called the yin yang symbol, which is a manifestation of balanced Chi energy.

Tai Chi moves

There are many styles of Tai Chi that typically share a common foundation, but can vary in appearance and training methods. Some of these styles include:

  • Chen
  • Yang
  • Wu
  • Sun

When you start practicing Tai Chi, you will see that it is not about every move, but more about fluid movements. In fact, there are 108 movements that are all in motion, which is why Tai Chi is called “moving meditation”.

Health benefits of Tai Chi

The importance of Tai Chi covers everything from mental, physical, and emotional benefits to spiritual and healing benefits. Although not a complete list, the following are some of the more well-known mental and physical benefits of Tai Chi.

It is a safe and effective form of physical fitness for beginners.

If you are new to exercise or just new to this form of fitness, low, slow-impact movements are gentle and safe on your body and aid increase flexibility and posture.

It helps to deal with stress-related anxiety.

It aids manage stress-related anxiety by combining stretching and relaxation benefits. You will learn how to move slowly through movement and relax while breathing.

This can help improve your mood.

Researchers have found that Tai Chi can be effective in relieving depression symptoms, anxiety, and mood disorders.

You will sleep better.

Practicing Tai Chi on a regular basis can help you relax your sleep cycle.

It’s adaptable.

Tai Chi is both soft and gentle, which makes it easy to adapt to many fitness levels and health conditions.

You will sit up straight.

Through the slow and deliberate flow of tricks, Tai Chi practice helps to improve posture and body alignment.

This eases the pain.

Joining Tai Chi can improve the symptoms that result from fibromyalgia. A 2018 study found that Tai Chi offered more pain relief than other exercises recommended for people with fibromyalgia.

Promotes weight loss.

Practicing Tai Chi regularly can help you lose weight. One study looked at weight changes in a group of adults who practiced Tai Chi five times a week for 45 minutes. At the end of 12 weeks, these adults lost a few pounds without making any additional lifestyle changes.

Improves cognition in older adults.

Tai Chi can improve cognition in older adults with cognitive impairment. In particular, Tai Chi can help improve memory and executive working skills, such as concentration and complex tasks.

Reduces risk of falling in older adults.

Tai Chi can help improve balance and motor function and reduce the fear of falling in old age. It can also reduce the actual fall after 8 weeks of practice, and significantly reduce the fall after 16 weeks of practice. Because fear of falling can reduce freedom and quality of life, and this decline can lead to serious complications, Tai Chi may offer the added benefit of improving the quality of life and general well-being of older adults.

Improves COPD symptoms.

Tai Chi Chronic Obstruction can improve some of the symptoms of pulmonary disease (COPD). In one study, people with COPD practiced Tai Chi for 12 weeks. At the end of the study, they reported an improvement in their ability to exercise and an overall improvement in their quality of life.

Improves balance and strength in people with Parkinson’s.

In a randomized, controlled trial of 195 participants, regular practice of Tai Chi reduced the number of falls in people with Parkinson’s disease. Tai Chi can also help you increase your leg strength and overall balance.

Safe for people with heart disease.

Tai Chi is a safe form of moderate exercise that you can try if you have heart disease. After a heart attack, regular Tai Chi exercises can help you.

  • lose weight
  • increase physical activity
  • improve your quality of life
Reduces pain from arthritis

15 participants in a short-scale 2010 study with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) practiced Tai Chi for 12 weeks. At the end of the study, participants reported less pain and better mobility and balance.

Tai Chi has also been found to be so effective in treating knee  osteoarthritis (OA) .

Some Tai Chi movements that you should incorporate into your daily life as a beginner

Tai Chi Steps to Warm Up

You can do several warm-up exercises before you start exercising. Warming up allows you to breathe on your focus, intentions, and track before your basic Tai Chi moves. These warm-ups include:

Head rolls: 

Slowly place your head in a circle in one direction, then the other, taking a deep breath.

Simple stretch: 
  • When you breathe in, slowly bring both hands up, and imagine two balloons are lifting your wrist.
  • Bend your palms so that your fingers point upwards. Bring them to your chest, gently pushing your chin back.
  • Exhale, push both hands out in front of you, and then press your hands below slowly. Simultaneously, slowly bring your head towards your chest.
  • Bring your left hand up and see at your palm. Your right hand should be below your hip, the palm facing the ground.
  • Move your left hand to the left; turn your head to the left, and keep your eyes on your palm. Now come back to face front. Turn the palms so that your right palm immediately faces you and your left hand is down near the left hip. Turn right, looking at the right palm.
Shoulder rolls:

Gradually turn your shoulders forward and then backward.

Stretch Spine
  • Hand in front, as if you are carrying a large beach ball. Take a breath.
  • Exhaling, press one hand upwards as if your palm is pressing against the ceiling, fingers pointing inwards. At the same time, keep the other hand down on your side. Then change hands.
Spine Turn
  • Hand in front, as if you are carrying a large beach ball. Lift left hand upward.
  • With slightly bent at the knees, gently bend your waist to the left. Then place the right hand up and turn to the right. Keep your back straight and supple.
Knee stretching:
  • With palm side up, make loose fists, resting at the sides of the hips.
  • Stretch out one foot (like kicking but slowly). At the same time, gently punch out with the opposite fist, turning it palm down. Bring your arm and leg back and repeat on the other side.
  • With fists next to hips as above, bend your knees slightly and move forward with one foot.
  • Move your weight to the front leg, and as your body moves forward, punch out with the opposing fist. Bring your foot back and turn to the other side.
Hip rolls:

Stand with legs shoulder-width apart, hands on hips, and circling your hips as if you’re hula hopping.

Then try these Tai Chi movements for beginners

Move 1: Warrior & Scholar
  1. Keep your feet together and rest your hands around you.
  2. Breathing while bending your knees and sinking down, the left-hand flat and the right handballed in the fist.
  3. To continue breathing, cover your right fist with your left hand and hold it up.
  4. Come to the right foot position.
  5. Exhale, release and sink down.
Move 2:  Brush the Knee 
  1. Start with a T-stance.
  2. Lift one hand up, palm facing forward.
  3. The palm is facing downwards, the opposite hand is in front of the body.
  4. When you bring one foot forward, bend your body at the waist and push your upper hand forward while keeping the opposite hand down.
  5. Starting to finish, rotate your arms back to the starting position.
  6. Push with the upper hand and breathe in the back circle.
Move 3: Part the Horse Mane
  1. Place both hands on top of each other in the middle with space, palms facing each other as if you are lifting a ball.
  2. Move your weight in the same direction as the upper hand. So if your right hand is up, move your weight to your right foot.
  3. Bring the opposite leg forward, and when you move your weight to the next leg, move the lower hand forward as if you were throwing a Frisbee.
  4. The other hand should come back up and down so that it “rest on the big dog’s head.”

 

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