Tai Chi: Fitness for All Ages
The martial art and healing of Tai Chi has often been referred to as “moving meditation.” People practicing Tai Chi, also known as “players,” learn to emphasize not only slow, deep breathing but rhythmic movements as well. This assists development of a focused and calm mind.
Tai Chi is an enjoyable activity for those of all ages and fitness levels. Each individual can practise the postures and movements in a manner relative to their own level of fitness, energy and state of mind. Each individual starts where they are, and learns at their own pace. It can be beneficial to the fittest athlete, the teenager and everyone in between. You may even find those in wheelchairs as part of a group practising Tai Chi in the park near your home. You could take part even if you don’t think you could be co-ordinated or agile enough. These are all aspects you can learn at your own pace.
Traditional Chinese Medicine states that disease results from weak and impaired flow of qi (pronounced chee) through the meridians. There are fourteen main energy meridians which link internal organs and the entire physical body with the mind and emotional systems. These meridians aren’t visible; however, you can detect them by the energy which moves through them. With the gentle movements of Tai Chi these energy channels are opened, thereby allowing the rhythm of the movements of the muscles, spine and joint to release energy through the body. This flushes out any stagnant qi, replacing it with fresh qi that is newly oxygenated.
The slow pace of Tai Chi provides the effect of performing a body scan to clear any place where there may be tension building up or stored. By releasing the grip of debris in both mind and body, we allow more space for positive aspects such as love and light to enter our lives. Aside from the meridians Tai Chi uses to work the internal organs, it also clears the joints of any potential debris in those areas, such as calcium deposits. This benefit is a result of the different movements requiring the body to rotate to about 95% of its ability. Tai Chi’s health benefits are being quickly discovered in western medicine.
There is a wide range of positive outcomes when using Tai Chi regularly. Some outcomes are the sharpening of mental focus, anxiety reduction and the enhancement of muscle tone. Or you may consider boosting your immune system, lowering high blood pressure, as well as reducing pain resulting from arthritis, rheumatism or fibromyalgia. Consider the assistance it could provide for people with MS, or those suffering for ADD and ADHD.
Tai Chi can change our outlook on the world. Health and life are simple reflections of our mind state. Body and breath move along with the mind. This encourages cleaning out any roadblocks which normally would keep us from moving forward. These roadblocks keep us locked in emotional and psychological patterns that aren’t always healthy. The empowerment of "meditation in motion" can keep us in the train of thought that change itself is a constant in our lives, and new beginnings always follow closures.
Whenever stress and tension start taking their toll on health and well-being, it would be wise to look to those who have attained that level of harmony within the body. Whether one is seeking to find that silence, relaxation and focus of thought, or if what is wanted is a gentle fitness program to increase flexibility and overall general health, Tai Chi would be an excellent place to start.