You’ve probably seen people practice Tai Chi at a park: it’s a
smooth, slow routine that is generally practiced outdoors in large
groups of people.
In fact, Tai Chi Ch’uan (Taijiquan) is a Chinese martial art, considered as a popular sport in the Popular Republic of China. Every morning, thousands of people gather in parks to practice it.
More than just peace of mind
Until now, many people believed its benefits were simply spiritual. But as its creators in China claim, Tai Chi optimizes several body functions, like bone health, cardio respiratory fitness, physical fitness, equilibrium, falls prevention, and mental health. This was shown by a recent study performed at the Arizona State University, and published in the American Journal of Health Promotion,.
The same effects were found in the Qigong, a series of martial arts that increase flow or balance.
Join Tai Chi!
In your neighborhood or city you might find groups who practice Tai Chi. Usually these classes are free or at very affordable costs. Furthermore, you don’t need to buy anything; you only need to wear comfortable, lose clothes to practice it.
To begin, the principle of this martial art is smoothness. Movements most be done in a natural, relaxed, fluid way, only contracting the muscles used for each specific movement. At the same time, take a deep breath.
10 Fundamental Principles
Master Yang Chengu, considered the most important Tai Chi teacher, wrote the 10 main rules that summarize the physical and spiritual position a practitioner must have.
1. Keep your head straight, in a relaxed manner.
2. Keep the chest back and straighten the back.
3. Release the lower back and loosen your waist.
4. Distribute your weight properly. Learn to differentiate between “solid” (body weight) and “empty” (the weight relies on the other body part, which allows performing certain movements).
5. Drop the shoulders and elbows, without straining your joints.
6. Use Yi instead of physical strength. Yin force is used to coordinate movements without tension.
7. Upper and lower coordination. Hands, legs, and waist must be on the same side, united in one flowing movement.
8. Harmony between interior and exterior.
9. Uninterrumpted energy flow.
10. Staying still during motion.
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