Don’t let these simple and relaxing exercises fool you. Tai Chi Moves have more benefits than you may think.
Tai Chi Moves: Origins and Philosophy
Practitioners of Tai Chi assert that its principles apply to a student’s lifestyle. Tai Chi, when translated, means ‘boundless fist.’ However, it has a broad philosophical meaning.
Practitioners say that it represents opposing forces, or Yin and Yang. The Chinese have perceived life in terms of opposites since time immemorial. It has shaped philosophical schools like Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, Legalism. Traditional Chinese medicine and Feng Shui.
The spiritual is the essence of Tai Chi, applied through the metabolic (‘ching’), qi (breath energy), and ‘Shen'( spiritual energy). Tai Chi balances a person’s spirituality with his physical abilities. The two elements are co-dependent.
Therefore, Tai Chi doesn’t focus exclusively on either. While spirituality is the principle and guiding force of this form of meditation, the martial in this Martial Art is the external skill.
Proponents of Tai Chi divide practice methods into three levels of attainment, with the highest being the Great Attainment, the lowest, the Lesser Attainment, and the middle level the Level of Sincerity. A practitioner is internally hard but meets his opponent with softness.
Tai Chi Moves: Why have the Chinese been practicing Tai Chi for centuries?
Those of us who practice Tai Chi already know about its benefits, so we present a few that may surprise you. They are apparent to any practitioner.
1. Not Constrained By Age
First of all, Tai Chi is a ‘soft,’ gentle martial art. Anyone, young, old, and in any physical condition can practice it.
Tai Chi has benefits for upper and lower body strength. It also develops flexibility. The advantages are particularly significant for older adults.
A study showed that it benefits seniors. Adults over 70 practiced Tai Chi three times a week. They also took a battery of physical endurance tests after three months. Their balance and muscular strength had improved after that time.
Indeed, Tai Chi improves a person’s aerobic capacity. Individuals who practice it consistently are better able to complete rigorous exercises than those who are sedentary.
Furthermore, Tai Chi’s benefits for physical strength means that it can treat musculoskeletal disorders like Fibromyalgia. Studies prove that it has more benefits than aerobics.
4. Improves Respiratory Conditions such as Asthma
Also, Tai Chi focuses on proper breathing, making it an ideal exercise form for those who have Asthma or other respiratory conditions. Research proves that it enhances pulmonary function.
Tai Chi develops a person’s walking speed, which decreases as a person ages. This exercise suits older adults who pace slowly. Research shows that those who practice it walk significantly faster than those who don’t because it promotes musculoskeletal flexibility.
6. Joint Health
Exercises can be repetitive movements that don’t strengthen the bones or other parts of the body. Tai Chi, which emphasizes proper posture for developing strength, promotes joint health.
7. Relieves Stress
Another benefit Tai Chi provides its practitioners is stress relief. A review of several studies shows that Tai Chi is a viable treatment for mental disorders when accompanied by other treatments.
How Tai Chi Moves Train The Brain
With stress relief and improving cognition in mind, we take a look at how Tai Chi exercises our mental faculties.
1. It enlarges the brain
First of all, Tai Chi makes your brain bigger. Researchers from the Fudan University in China and the University of South Florida studied seniors who practiced Tai Chi. They found it slows down the aging of the brain and improves cognition.
The Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness also researched seniors and came up with similar results.
2. It keeps you alert
Also, the concentration needed for Tai Chi keeps your mind awake. It helps you retain more information and stay focused. You’ ll also be able to make quicker decisions.
The Massachusetts General Hospital found that people who meditated had thicker cortical walls in the brain than those who didn’t. They could focus attentively on tasks.
Tai Chi improves neuroplasticity and organizes the neural pathways in the brain. It also makes you emotionally stable.
The University of Wisconsin found that people who meditated in the way Tai Chi develop gamma wave activity in the brain. The gamma waves prevent them from being stuck in ruminating thought patterns.
7 Simple Tai Chi Moves To Help You Stay Calm and Focused
Another name for Tai Chi is Meditation in Motion. You can practice it almost anywhere. Here are a few simple Tai Chi workouts that still your mind.
1. Standing Meditation Technique
First of all is the Standing Meditation Technique, which will ground and center you. It will help your mind be still even as you move.
a. Stand with your feet a shoulder ‘s width apart. Your toes should point straight ahead, and your knees should bend.
b. Tuck your hips slightly forward. Relax your shoulders and hold up your head.
c. Breathe in and out slowly and deeply. Keep your eyes closed. Think about your feet and how they connect with the Earth.
d. As you meditate, think about how your feet pull away from the earth.
2. Breathing Exercises
Breathing well is an integral aspect of Tai Chi. It helps concentration and meditation. You should focus on the giving and taking of energy as you do.
As you inhale, you should think about taking life energy into your body. Release that energy when you exhale. Use this straight forward technique as you practice different Tai Chi moves.
a. Buddha’s Breath
Inhale, extending your abdomen and filling it with air. Contract your stomach as you exhale, and expel the air from the base of your lungs.
Inhale for a slow count of eight and exhale for another count of sixteen. Imagine your Qi energy flowing through you. Use your mind to guide the flow.
b. Daoist’s Breath
This exercise is the opposite of Buddha ‘s Breath. Contract your abdominal muscles as you inhale. Relax your torso and lungs as you exhale.
3. Awareness Exercises
There are Tai Chi exercises that enable you to calm your mind and be aware of everything around you.
a. The Accordion
Clear your mind, concentrating on your palms.
Let your breath flow smoothly and don’t use force. You create a light trance.
Touch your palms with your fingers pointing upwards. Feel the energy flowing through your Palm Chakras, at the centers of your palms.
Move your hands and align your chakras. Bring them together slowly using as little effort as you can. You will compress the air like an accordion.
You should feel a warm sensation at your chakra points. Move your hands back and forth. Repeat this vertically, horizontally, and diagonally.
b. Making the Point
This exercise involves using your finger to direct your Qi energy. Point it at the palm of your hand. Keep that hand perpendicular to the floor; your fingers should point upward.
Put your fingertip about 8 inches from your palm and swab it, moving it close and far as you do. You may feel a tickling or cooling sensation.
c. Extending Qi (energy)
This exercise builds up your qi and helps your awareness. Note that it can be intense and cause qi to leak out of your eyes.
Inhale quickly through your nostrils, keeping your eyes half-closed as you exhale. Once you can sense your energy, use your mind to move it out of your body. Expand it to your comfort zone.
Allow it to drift out as you exhale and hold it as you inhale. Move it outwards in increments of about six inches, beginning at an inch from your skin.
d. Blending Qi
This exercise allows you to sense your qi and focus too.
Stand, keeping your feet a shoulder’s width apart. Bend your knees slightly and hand your arms from your sides.
Shift your weight to the balls of your feet and be aware of the front of your body. Concentrate on the energy channels that pass along your legs and torso.
Shift your weight to your heels after about a minute. Now become aware of the back of your body. Do this to the right and left of your body as well.
Repeat the first three steps, using just your mind to shift your feet back and forth. Feel the Qi flowing along it.
In all, Tai Chi moves can help you maintain concentration on your tasks. Try some of these beneficial exercises and clear your mind.
By Michelle L.
This content was originally published here.