Tai Chi is a physical-spiritual practice, but at the same time it’s also a meditation technique. It’s martial art, but also a way of life. People call it “meditation in motion,” and has many followers because there are many people who have found huge benefits for their physical and mental health in it.
“Smooth runs the water where the brook is deep.”
This martial art basically consists of learning and practicing a series of movements or “shapes.” You adopt certain poses and then move harmoniously to others, until you finish a sequence. The shapes have poetic names like “the white crane spreads its wings,” or “parting the wild horse’s mane.” It does a lot for you, and we’ll talk about a few of the benefits now.
1. Tai Chi gives you life’s energy
Tai Chi is closely related to the philosophy of Taoism. That’s why it talks about energy as “Qi,” or “Chi.” It’s part of life’s energy. According to traditional Chinese medicine, this energy is meant to flow freely through your body and the right pathways. If that doesn’t happen, that’s pain and illness show up because your Qi is blocked.
Tai Chi’s movements are designed to activate that energy flow and free any blockages. You’ll feel it first in your muscles, respiratory system, and circulatory system. That’s how it protects your body from illness.
2. Your mind calms down with Tai Chi
As we mentioned earlier, Tai Chi is also a relaxation technique. The poses are designed to relax tense muscles. It uses breathing techniques that foster a state of peace and calm in you.
Mental balance is one of Tai Chi’s goals. It helps balance your emotions, and that’s how it helps give you a more positive attitude towards life. People who do Tai Chi every day are less likely to go have anxiety.
3. Your arms and legs get stronger
You do basically all of poses in Tai Chi standing up. Your joints are the basis of the entire practice of this unique martial art. Your extremities receive more oxygen and your muscles tone up. Your arms and legs will get much stronger. It also keeps you from losing muscle mass, which starts to speed up after 40.
4. It improves respiratory and cardiovascular functioning
Doing any kind of exercise is an excellent way to strengthen your respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Tai Chi is no exception. But it has the added benefit of being a gentle, progressive exercise, combining both dynamic and static movement.
Research has shown that your heart rate goes down while you do Tai Chi, but circulation goes up. The deep breathing will increase your lung capacity as well.
5. It helps with migraines, muscle pain, and insomnia
Muscle pain often comes from bad posture or built-up tension. The poses you use in Tai Chi help improve your posture in daily life and relax your muscles. Hence less muscle pain and fewer migraines, among other things.
The emphasis on physical and mental balance makes Tai Chi an ideal practice for anyone with insomnia. It helps you channel your anxiety so that it doesn’t turn into persistent anxiety and trouble sleeping.
6. Tai Chi loosens your joints and protects you from falls
As we mentioned earlier, your joints play a huge role in Tai Chi. The movements will stretch and loosen your elbows, knees, hips, and your hands. Your joints will get more flexible and stronger.
The movements change as your strength increases. They also take a wide range of body movement. Together, these aspects translate into a reduced risk of falls and injuries. Your body gets stronger and this improves your balance.
7. It helps your brain work better and lowers high blood pressure
It also seems that Tai Chi improves your memory due to the extra oxygen it sends to your brain. On top of that, it will improve your concentration and mental sharpness, since the movement sequences require both. In fact, research has shown that people with hypertension will see improvement if they do Tai Chi.
As you can see, Tai Chi is a practice with huge potential. You can practice it no matter how old you are or where you are. We especially recommend it for people who want to get into meditation, but are looking for something more dynamic than yoga or other relaxation methods.