The gentle and soft internal martial art of Tai Chi can and ought to be performed in a flowing way for all practitioners regardless of age. Nowadays, in East Asia and especially in China, more and more people over 50 years of age are taking up Tai Chi while the younger generations are not that interested in taking up this ancient healing art.
Tai Chi has been practiced for about 3,000 years. New medical studies show that Tai Chi and qi gong (Tai Chi is considered a complete form qigong) benefit the health of people practicing them. Total recuperation from health conditions ranging from the common cold to cancer has been recorded through constant performing of Tai Chi.
Arthritis can also be controlled by practicing Tai Chi. In order to get the best possible benefits from this exercise, you need to learn it from a well-experienced teacher, who has more than a decade of experience and has been trained by a well-known Chinese master with verifiable “lineage”. This will make sure that what you learn is real Tai Chi which will lead to a healthier body, clearer mind, and stable recovery from any health problems you may be currently experiencing.
In English, Tai Chi chuan translates to “paramount optimum fist”. Tai Chi is all about cultivating the spirit, body, mind, and energy. The last is a concept that has no equivalent in the West. The energy referred to is called chi or internal energy. It exists in the body from birth and is derived from the food and air we take in. There is also such a thing as external energy and this is the energy of the universe. When we practice Tai Chi, we build up the chi in our bodies which then leads to the improvement of our health. This is the medical side to Tai Chi practice. Tai Chi also has a martial arts side in which we learn how to utilize external energy for defense.
Although Tai Chi has been practiced for 3,000 years, it actually has been invented 5,000 years ago by a Taoist monk named Chang Seng Feng. His knowledge was allegedly passed by a group of people believed to have been 7 ft tall to the ancient Chinese people. These tall people were called “the children of reflected light” and according to legend they taught the art of Tai Chi to the Chinese. This contributed greatly to the advance of Chinese civilization 3,000 year ago as depicted in silk items and porcelain unearthed by archaeologists.
It was believed that Chang Seng Feng designed Tai Chi based on observations of nature. He was an eyewitness to a fight between a snake and a crane and closely observed the striking and yielding qualities of these two creatures. This is reflected in the way Tai Chi is performed which is an ever changing and slow manner much like the “flow of a river” that leads to greater health and longevity. Who moves fast and quick? Is it the elephant or the tortoise? How long do these animals live? To increase the likelihood of us living long lives, should we not then relax and slow down our lives like these long-living creatures do?
In Tai Chi exercises, we mimic the movements of several animals. We perform a series of postures or movements or postures that flow into each other. These strengthening and stretching exercises each come with poetic names: Fair Lady Weaving the Shuttles, Golden Cock Standing on One Leg, White Crane Spreading Its Wings, etc.
Tai Chi boosts blood flow and is an extremely healthy exercise. It can be used to help heart attack patients recover. Tai Chi includes movement, breathing, stretching of ligaments, tendons, and muscles and internal massage of the organs of the body. It is important to keep a clear mind when practicing and because the exercise is not strenuous (anaerobic) the person can feel energy flowing in the body and can feel energized after proper practice. There is no need to overdo the exercise. The two most important things to consider in Tai Chi are to practice it every day and to take total responsibility for your health.
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