FAQ’s about Tai Chi
What is Tai Chi?
Tai Chi is a low-impact, slow-motion, mind-body exercise that combines breath control, meditation, and movements to stretch and strengthen muscles. The practice dates back thousands of years. Originally developed for self-defense, Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese tradition that has evolved into a graceful form of exercise that today is known for stress reduction and aiding with a variety of other health conditions. It is a noncompetitive, self-paced system of gentle physical exercise and stretching. Each posture flows into the next without pause, ensuring that your body is in constant motion. Often referred to as meditation in motion, tai chi involves a series of moves performed while standing in a slow, focused manner accompanied by deep breathing- by doing so, it promotes serenity through gentle, flowing movements.
Do I need to know how to do Tai Chi to take the class?
No. Tai Chi is easy to learn although it takes some time become fluid and graceful. Our instructors teach so that all participants can learn the moves and can modify as needed. Tai Chi creates a mind-body connection that is very satisfying. The moves may seem daunting at first but they are broken down so that they can be learned little by little. Before you know it, you are moving effortlessly and flowing gracefully. People typically attend Tai Chi classes several times a week to learn the postures. Classes last an hour. Body posture and deep breathing are key elements of correct Tai Chi. Regular, ongoing tai chi sessions confer the most benefit.
What does Tai Chi look like?
As you do Tai Chi, you move fluidly through a series of motions. The motions are named for animal actions, such as "white crane spreads its wings," or for martial arts moves. As you move, you breathe deeply and naturally, focusing your attention on an area just below the navel. In the practice and theory of tai chi, this area is the body's storage point for energy, or chi.
What are the Health benefits of Tai Chi?
The health benefits of Tai Chi are proven. Practicing Tai Chi improves strength, coordination, mobility, balance and flexibility. No matter your ability, you can learn and benefit from Tai Chi. On the physical side, tai chi supports or improves balance, coordination, flexibility, muscle strength, and stamina. On the mental side, tai chi helps relieve stress, improves body awareness and, when done in a group setting, reduces social isolation. Tai Chi can be gentle or vigorous, depending on the style you practice (there are several different types).
Here are the Top 10 from Health Fitness Revolution and author of the book ReSYNC Your Life Samir Becic:
- Balance: Tai Chi movements are steady and slow, shifting from one side to the other with coordinating upper body movements. Theses movements help the core regain balance and reduces the risk of falling in elderly.·
- Strength and Endurance: Research shows that individuals who practiced Tai Chi at least 3 times a week on the regular, had higher strength and performance level.
- Flexibility: In tai chi the range of movements helps improve one’s flexibility as well.
- Posture: helps one maintain a good posture from constant practice of Tai Chi
- Chronic Illness prevention: helps in the treatment chronic illnesses like heart disease, blood pressure, arthritis, digestive disorders, depression and a few others.
- Improves coordination: helps with hand eye coordination as well as upper and lower body coordination with the slow rhythmic movements involved.
- Regulates the respiratory system: Breathing is one of the three parts of Tai Chi. The deep breathing helps treat respiratory alignments such as asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema.
- Aerobic Capacity: helps improve one’s aerobic capacity- researchers say that Tai Chi is a form of aerobic exercise as well.
- Stress: The mellow rhythmic movements and breathing helps distract from a hectic lifestyle. The breathing coordination along with the hand eye movement is proven to promote calmness.
Can Tai Chi help ease chronic pain?
Some solid research shows that Tai Chi can benefit people with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, tension headache, and other ongoing, painful conditions. In one trial, for example, 66 people with fibromyalgia were randomized into two groups: one group took tai chi classes twice a week, the other group attended wellness education and stretching sessions twice a week. After 12 weeks, those in the Tai Chi group reported less pain, fewer depression symptoms, and better sleep than the control group. The results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
An Introduction to our Tai Chi instructors:
Marti Fisher is certified as a Tai Chi instructor through the Tai Chi Health Institute. She teaches a gentle Sun form of Tai Chi with proven benefits for arthritis and fall prevention although this class is good for everyone.
Lani Li was born and raised in China where she learned and practiced Tai Chi. She also was a member of a Chinese dance group. She moved to America, is married to an American, and lives here in Cape Coral. Lani loves to share her extensive knowledge of Tai Chi with others.
Tai Chi is effective in improving strength, balance, flexibility and coordination but the main objective is to have fun and enjoy creating the mind-body connection. It is easy to learn, and as you attend more classes you will develop a graceful continuous flow of the movements taught in a gentle and attentive manner so all participants learn and benefit. We hope you’ll try and enjoy Tai Chi. See Lina's photo's below.
On-line references used to compile this FAQ Overview:
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