Tai Chi To Reduce Stress & Increase Energy
Tai Chi is another natural therapy that has its origins in traditional Chinese medicine, in that it aims to ensure a balanced flow of qi (life energy) through the body's meridians. It is believed that an imbalance in qi causes illness, and t'ai chi is practised as a form of preventative therapy to prevent this.
Tai Chi is a non-combative martial art that uses various forms (slow movements) for self-defence as well as mental clarity. Yang is the style most commonly practised in the West, which takes the form of a rhythmic series of movements performed slowly and linked into one long, flowing exercise. It can take anything from 5-10 minutes (24 movements) to 20-40 minutes (108 movements), and the sequences have interesting symbolic names, e.g. "snake creeps down to water" and "stork cools its wings". The result is a very relaxing therapy that calms breathing and brings body and mind together to balance qi. It is not surprising that tai chi is sometimes described as "meditation in motion". Tai Chi should ideally be practised outside so the universe qi can combine with the body's qi.
The best way to learn t’ai chi is to attend classes, as some of the sequences are quite complicated and need to be learnt correctly. Sessions are very calm and slow, and it is a therapy good for all ages assuming there is no medical condition preventing it. Daily practice is ideal to achieve any noticeable benefit, weekly at a minimum. With consistent practice, people will be able to feel the internal energy (qi), convert it to internal force (jing), and use it to generate more internal energy. This process greatly enhances tai chi development, leading to a more balanced mental state and improved fitness, agility and balance.
There is much more to t’ai chi than one can see, and it’s difficult to describe concisely. It’s aesthetically pleasing (to watch as well as do), and enjoyable to practice. It can be meditative and a fundamental exercise for all parts of the body and the mind. It can engender tranquillity and clarity of thought. T’ai chi can be many things for different people and regular practice will bring improved health and well-being.
Examples of the benefits of t’ai chi are:
- Relief of stress, anxiety, tension, fatigue, and generally calming the mind.
- Improved muscular strength, which helps support and protect the joints.
- Improved flexibility, which helps people move more easily and in turn encourages better circulation and healing.
- Helping with conditions of old age, as it is gentle enough to be practiced at any age.
- Enhancing mental and physical control, thereby improving balance and preventing falls.
- Improved fitness, essential for normal function of major organs such as the heart, lungs, and muscles.
- Increased vitality and energy.