What is Tai Chi? Part I

Tai Chi is a slow motion exercise that promotes mind and body health.  It is gentle and relaxing.  In fact, Tai Chi strengthens your mind and body through the power of Relaxation. Sounds simple, right?

There’s a lot more to it and practitioners of the art have spent lifetimes developing their technique and meditation practices.

Tai chi is a slow motion and low impact exercise that promotes health, mind, body and mental relaxation. It is practiced as an effective exercise for health through a series of flowing, graceful and gentle postures and movements.

The gentle flowing movements contain inner power that can strengthen the body, improve mental relaxation and mobilize joints and muscles. It is especially suitable as a therapy for arthritis because of the slow and gentle movements.

Here are some of the benefits:

  • Tai chi improves balance, strength, and flexibility and lowers the risk of falls. A study from the Oregon Research Institute found that tai chi improves balance and reduces frequency of falls and risks of falling among older people.
  • Tai chi also reduces pain, stiffness, and stress and improves sleep quality.
  • Researchers from Tufts University School of Medicine noted that patients over 65 years of age with knee osteoarthritis who practiced a 60-minute tai chi class, twice a week for 12 weeks showed a significant decrease in joint pain and stiffness compared with those in the control group.
  • They also found the patients in the tai chi group had improved physical function, self-efficacy, depression, and health status.
  • Both the Oregon and UCLA researchers reported that tai chi helped improve sleep quality in older adults.
  • Other UCLA studies also suggested that tai chi helps people reduce high blood pressure and tension headaches.
  • For people who carry extra weight and have a hard time doing exercises without pain, tai chi can be a gentle and safe way to get moving. A one-hour tai chi exercise can burn about 292 calories. By practicing tai chi and making wiser food choices, people can start burning calories and losing weight.

In this sequence, we’ll be learning more about what Tai Chi is as well as the health benefits of Tai Chi. If you’re a Maryville local thinking of taking classes, we offer Tai Chi instruction and classes several days a week, just take a look at our class schedule n the site.

How to Find an Excellent Tai Chi Instructor in the USA – Part IIIa

This third post in our series on finding the best Tai Chi instructor you can covers some great questions to ask your prospective teacher to see if he or she is qualified to teach you the best quality Tai Chi classes.

Real Tai Chi has so many great health benefits including helping with blood pressure, stress relief, balance, arthritis, range of motion, and much more. So be patient as you do a little homework in picking the best teacher. Keep in mind that certified Tai Chi instructors can mean different things to different people.

At Clear Silat’s Tai Chi local school here in Maryville, TN our instructors have over 8 years experience each in the art at least.

Here are some questions for you, the Tai Chi student, to ask your potential or current instructor:

  • Basics of Chinese Medicine including Yin and Yang theory
  • Chi Kung including an understanding of what Chi is and what it is not
  • Knowledge of sources of  Chi. Chi is very explainable in Western medical and physics terms and the actual meaning and application of Chi Energy would make complete sense to any Western medical doctor, physicist, biologist, chemist, engineer etc etc… If it sounds like a bunch of metaphysical hokum, that would be a potential red flag.
  • An understanding of Chi Blockages and how to remove them using Tai Chi.  This includes understanding the difference between Excess and Stagnant Chi and knowing how to restore proper balance and flow in the body using Tai Chi.
  • The Meridians and pressure points as used in Acupuncture and how Tai Chi stimulates proper flow of Chi through them
  • The 3 Treasures Li, Chi and Jing
  • The 3 Powers Heaven, Earth and Man

We’ll continue this post with more questions you should ask your Tai Chi instructor to assess their experience and learn more about Tai Chi.


Richard Clear (Posted to site by Sarah Vose)