What is Tai Chi?
Tai Chi is a recreational fitness system of flowing movements designed to exercise and develop the body and mind in unison. Literally translated, it means "great ultimate" art form. The movements are performed at a slow and dream-like pace, with deep concentration and natural diaphragmatic breathing to transport one into a state of tranquil relaxation.
What is Qigong?
Qigong is a holistic exercise health system of coordinated gentle body movements, integrating breathing, focus and posture. Literally translated, it means “life energy cultivation”. The movements are repetitive and graceful, creating a sensation of “tingling” which relates to energy flow, effective in releasing stress and increasing vitality.
Why Exercise Tai Chi and Qigong?
Tai Chi and Qigong offer great benefits for our body and mind by increasing our stamina and energy levels, flexibility of movement, mental concentration, relaxation, balance and memory skills.
They both improve our health and fitness levels as well as longevity.
Although relatively unknown to the outside world until recently, due to the traditional Chinese protective attitude towards cultural arts, these exercise systems have been practised by the Chinese for more than 700 years. They are appreciated as the supreme health exercise systems ever developed and highly regarded as the psychological and physio-therapeutical part of Chinese medicine.
"Chi" ( Energy) Circulation
The single most important and profound concept in Chinese health system is the circulation of "Chi". Simply translated it means “life energy work” or “energy cultivation”. “Chi” circulates through all living beings. "Chi" not only maintains life and health, it governs almost all activity in the body:
- It activates the life force and the growth, metabolism, regeneration and repair of body.
- It has a warming effect, regulating body temperature and keeping the organs in an active capacity.
- It guards against invasion of the body by diseases.
- It enhances and regulates the circulation of blood, body fluids, saliva etc.
Tai Chi and Qigong are recommended by Chinese medical experts to regulate and improve the flow of "Chi" precisely for the same reasons that acupuncture therapies are used. The smooth flow of this energy within our bodies results in good health, but when the flow is hindered, we become ill.
The flowing movements of Tai Chi and Qigong can greatly improve this energy circulation.
Moving Meditation - Key To Mental Health
In its normal state, the mind is a constant source of mental activity, a never-ending network of thought associations. In the endless sea of thoughts the mind gets no rest. Even in sleep, unfinished business during the day is played out in dreams. All these, coupled with the hectic pace of life and the unceasing demands at our work place, result in great mental stress.
It has been said that more that 50% of illnesses treated by modern doctors can be attributed to psychosomatic disorders or, directly or indirectly, to stress. Mental stress can also cause physical illnesses such as cardiovascular problems and high blood pressure.
Tai Chi's flowing movements and energy meditation have a therapeutic effect of slowing down the pace and refreshing the mind and the body. When performing Tai Chi, the mind visualises each and every movement while the body gives physical expression to that mental image. For example, in the movement called “Grasping the bird's tail”, the mind visualises an open left palm supporting a delicate little bird, while the right palm strokes its head, runs down its back to its tail. As the bird flies away, the body rotates to follow its flight.
The active participation of the mind with the body movements creates a sense of softness and sensitivity, resulting in a very pleasant flowing meditation. This, in essence, exercises the central nervous system and improves mental relaxation.
Yang Tai Chi Levels 1 and 2
Enjoy this video of Senior Master Chin Min leading a group of participants through levels 1 and 2 of Yang Style Tai Chi at our popular park lesson in Malvern. This relaxing and enjoyable routine is one of the many routines that we can teach you to help improve your health and fitness.
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Updated: 2 February 2022