As the world’s population ages, exercise has become increasingly important as a tool to prevent and manage the chronic illnesses that are affecting larger portions of society. Tai Chi (also known as Shadow Boxing) has evolved from its original ancient Chinese form of self-defense to a modern-day, gentle form of exercise and stretching.
It is often referred to as “meditation in motion” requiring concentration and accompanied by deep breathing. It consists of graceful, flowing movements and postures that transition smoothly into each other without pause.
About Tai Chi
Tai Chi is grounded in the ancient Chinese philosophy of Taoism. This philosophy emphasizes the natural balance in all things and encourages spiritual and physical harmony with nature. It surrounds the relationship of perpetual balance between the two opposing but complementary elements of yin and yang. The effectiveness of the Tai Chi exercises is believed to lie in the perfect balance between yin and yang.
There are varying styles of Tai Chi based on its different principles and methods. While some styles focus on the healthful aspects, others are more concerned with the traditional martial arts aspects of Tai Chi.
Benefits of Tai Chi
- It is considered safe for all fitness levels and ages, due to the fact that it is low impact with minimal stress on muscles and joints.
- Taichi has been shown to reduce joint pain.
- Taichi requires no specialized equipment and is therefore an inexpensive form of exercise.
- It may be done anywhere and at any time, whether alone or as part of a group.
- Tai Chi improves your mood and helps to a decrease anxiety, depression and stress.
- A regular practice of Tai Chi movements improves muscle definition and strength with consequent increases in stamina and energy.
- Persons who practice this form of exercise experience improvements in their agility, balance and flexibility.
- Taichi is shown to increase aerobic capacity of the maximum amount of oxygen the body is able to use during physical activity.
- It is believed that Tai Chi can contribute to a better quality of sleep, leaving practitioners feeling more rested and rejuvenated.
- Taichi has been said to help lower blood pressure and as such aids overall heart health.
- The immune system is boosted by the practice of Tai Chi, making those who practice it benefit from greater general wellness.
Tai Chi is practiced worldwide by as many as 300 million people. It is considered as an effective approach to maintaining health and improving the quality of daily life.