Meditation Techniques: Tai chi, short for T’ai chi ch’üan and also known as “shadowboxing,” is an internal Chinese martial art practised for self-defence, health benefits, and meditation. Tai chi has practitioners all over the world.
It is a current popular trend in the world of fitness and has a host of benefits both psychological and physical in nature. Practising Tai Chi accurately can contribute to a calm and tranquil mind, as well as help in mastering the concepts of balance, alignment, and rhythm of movement. There are many simple relaxation techniques for stress management, and Tai Chi is one of the best of them.
Origin and History of Tai Chi
Tai chi originates from ancient Chinese movement systems associated with health, philosophy, and flexibility of the body. In the words of Tao Tsu, a sage who lived in the sixth century, it is all about achieving flexibility and balance.” he who stands on tiptoe is not steady. He who strides cannot maintain the pace.”. Monks who were in need of exercise, as their days comprised solely of meditation, practised the earliest forms of Tai chi.
Practising Tai Chi
Tai chi is a gentle series of physical exercises and stretches. Each posture flows seamlessly into the next, keeping your body in constant motion.
It is based on a system of imitating the movements of animals to help exercise the body. The movements of a variety of animals (tiger, deer, bear, ape, and birds) are imitated to exercise the joints of the body.
There are a variety of ‘postures’ such as push, pull, split and elbow strike and ‘attitudes’ like advance, retreat, look left, gaze right, etc. These movements are performed slowly and gracefully with smooth and even transitions between them. Tai Chi seeks to foster the circulation of ‘Chi’ within the body, to enhance health and vitality. Tai chi has martial as well as meditative benefits. Tai Chi, which is currently in vogue, is practised largely for its meditative benefits.
In a two-person exercise called ‘push-hands’, Tai Chi principles are developed in terms of being sensitive to and responsive to another person’s ‘chi’ or vital energy. It is also an opportunity to employ some of the martial aspects of Tai Chi in a kind of slow-tempo combat. Long-time practitioners of Tai Chi who are so inclined can become very adept at martial arts.
Benefits of Tai Chi
Practising Tai Chi on a regular basis is reputed to bring a variety of benefits to the various systems of the body. Tai chi’s flowing movements benefit the muscular and circulatory systems. Tai Chi is considered an effective cure for a range of health problems from breathing-related disorders, to digestive and nervous disorders.
Because the Tai Chi movements have their origins in the martial arts, practising them does have some martial applications. Tai Chi is a moderate cardiovascular training exercise, which also has a significant effect on lung function.
- People in varying states of health can practice Tai Chi.
- It has been shown as particularly beneficial in the case of people with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.
- Tai Chi helps to regulate the immune system.
- Tai Chi helps postural alignment and helps reduces spinal degeneration.
- Tai Chi is a weight-bearing exercise, which raises the possibility of benefits for maintaining bone density.
Alternative to Tai Chi:
15 minutes a day spent on Qigong can make you happier, healthier, and live a longer life. For the full story, visit the Qigong practice page.
Shaolin Qigong is a closely guarded, jealously guarded secret. Shaolin Qigong is far less difficult to learn than Tai Chi and far less demanding than Yoga. It also provides all of the advantages of meditation. And it improves happiness, health, and longevity in less than 15 minutes per day.
Qigong requires almost no athletic ability, can be done almost anywhere, and does not require any expensive supplements, pills, or exercise gadgets.
Qigong has been proven to:
- Maintain blood pressure stability
- Reduce the number of strokes and deaths.
- Improves cancer and drug treatment; alleviates senile symptoms; improves memory, insomnia, vertigo, headaches, and cholesterol levels
- Reduces stress and promotes relaxation, similar to a mild tranquillizer.
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