With over 300 million practitioners, Tai Chi is one of the most popular forms of exercise in the world. Originating in China with roots in martial arts, Qigong and traditional Chinese medicine, it has been growing in popularity in the United States. Tai Chi for Health's soft flowing movements and internal focus share some of the mind-body principles of Yoga, but without the need to get down on the floor or hold long uncomfortable poses. Don't let the gentle moves fool you; thirty minutes of tai chi burns the same number of calories as thirty minutes of brisk walking. Tai Chi for Health does not involve any sort of religious practice. Students can fit the internal mind-body focus achieved through Tai Chi to whatever spirituality they choose or concentrate solely on the physical fitness aspects of the instruction. Here is a link to more information... Brief History of Tai Chi.
Qi (pronounced chee) is a Chinese word that loosely translates to the energy or life force in all living things. Qigong refers to the practice of cultivating or optimizing that energy or life force within our mind and body through posture, movement, breath and mindfullness. Tai Chi incorporates the use of ancient Qigong techniques in order to create health and wellbeing through safe and enjoyable exercise. Qigong is the special healing ingredient of how Tai Chi works and is why it is often referred to as "moving meditation" or "moving medication".
If you have anxiety about participating in group fitness classes, Tai Chi just might be what you are looking for. Tai Chi's slow, non-linear, low-impact movements make it different from most other forms of exercise. While it might take some adjustment to slow down and settle into its rhythm, it creates an opportunity to gently and progressively challenge the mind and body while relieving stress. Tai Chi for Health is a safe and effective way to build strength, balance and stamina all while having fun in a non-judgemental environment. It is suitable for all fitness levels, can be practiced standing or seated in a chair. Once learned, this healing exercise can be practiced almost anywhere without any need for expensive or cumbersome equipment, special attire or facilities.
A few of the benefits to practicing Tai Chi for Health include; increased strength, stamina and confidence, improved balance and stability for fall prevention, mental focus and stress relief. Referred to by Harvard Medical School as "medication in motion," Tai Chi provides research supported healing and support for those with chronic health conditions such as arthritis, cancer, COPD, migraine headaches, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases. Tai Chi for Health can be a safe and effective exercise to be implemented with doctor or therapist approval for recovery from surgery, stroke, chemotherapy and other medical interventions. For more info see... Tai Chi Studies.
Participating in a group Tai Chi class is critical for the beginner and also beneficial for the more advanced student. It is important to have ongoing feedback from a certified instructor to help you learn correct technique and form so you will be safe while achieving the maximum health benefits . The discipline and motivation provided by group classes can be invaluable. Students also quickly become aware of the synergy created in a group Tai Chi class and enjoy the social support of a community of friends with similar healthy goals and lifestyles.
My favorite answer to this question is another question... what's your hurry? Many people are in a hurry to come to class, learn a Tai Chi form (sequence of movements) and move on. But learning Tai Chi is a journey not a destination. One of the core principles is learning to relax, breath and be present or mindful in the moment. The honest answer is... it takes a lifetime to master Tai Chi and its principles. Our classes run 7 weeks and in that time you will be introduced to beginning Tai Chi principles and a form which you can practice and build on in additional sessions and throughout your life. Many students choose to repeat these classes because with each repetition they deepen their understanding of Tai Chi all while enjoying healthy exercise with friends.
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Laozi