Tai Chi means "the highest energy" or "the breath of life". Chi is one of the most important concepts in the Chinese health and longevity systems. Like many ideas that have originated in the orient, it is believed an unseen but life giving, healing and rejuvenating energy flows throw the universe, all around us and within us, including our mind and organs. To tap into that energy we have to slow ourselves right down and free the stressed and cluttered ‘ self ‘ that blocks what would otherwise bring balance and harmony to our mind, body and spirit making us at one with nature and the universe.
When practiced properly, the weaving movements and slow, flowing execution of Tai Chi become a “Moving Meditation” using deep diaphragmatic breathing. relieving stress in this manner one maintains hormonal balance. These unique, choreographed movements are pleasurable and do not damage or injure one’s body as they are not vigorous or forceful in nature. In addition, the breathing techniques create a sense of well-being and mental harmony, further enhancing one’s own Chi energy. All this makes it ideal for older people or people convalescing from illness. All over China and Taiwan you will see surprisingly lithe and supple old folk at dawn and dusk gathering in groups to perform their hypnotically graceful art. The exercises tone and stretch the muscles making it particularly beneficial for conditions such as rheumatism and arthritis. It also relieves insomnia.
At higher levels Tai Chi has the ability to develop Chi Kung or “Energy Meditation“. Known in Shaolin Temples as Kung Fu, it bestows supernormal power enabling feats of strength and resistance to injury.
• If you have the time or inclination to incorporate Tai Chi into your anti-aging regimen it will bring marvelous benefits. Like any " skill" though it takes commitment and practice, so persevere!
• Check out your local health center for Tai Chi classes or inquire around.
• Seek out like-minded people to try it. You can choose to make it a social activity long term – a great benefit in itself.