There are many physical, mental, emotional and even spiritual benefits tied to the practice of Tai Chi. Tai Chi has made a long journey from a combat art to a meditative movement art tied closely to health and longevity. Along with a few beginning lessons, here is what you need to know in order to determine if Tai Chi is right for you.
Our bodies are meant to make certain mechanical movements that over time become impeded or even painful as we make convenient adjustments that are not necessarily in our best long term interests. By moving with mindful intention combined with deep breathing, Tai Chi practitioners simply move in a way our bodies are supposed to, offsetting many orthopedic ailments such as arthritis. By performing these movements in a series, an aerobic benefit is derived. As the practitioner becomes more proficient, they are able to move while under oxygen debt and gain anaerobically. This powerful movement can then build strength.
The practice of Tai Chi will also give a cognitive benefit that is very similar to the practice of a musical instrument, speaking a second language or being a habitual reader. The best thing one can do for their mind is to learn and stay curious. As with any skill that requires intention and mindfulness, the movements of Tai Chi teach the brain to integrate knowledge. These previously unexplored neural pathways essentially strengthen the brain, making all learning easier and helping the practitioner to feel more aware and alert.
All life is suffering right? Well, perhaps not all life, but we all hurt sometime. We may feel unaccepted or feel guilt for not being accepting. Everything from simple driving aggression to the traumatic grief of losing a loved one can cause emotional pain. This can compound to the point that we struggle in our busy grief to just take our next step. Tai Chi allows one to slow down, take a deep breath and focus on the current posture more so than the form as a whole. This focus on the here and now allows the practitioner to meditate while moving. The benefit is very similar to the emotional benefit of a good nights sleep. A busy mind becomes more focused and suffering becomes examined.
The spiritual benefit of Tai Chi is due in large part to how close meditation can blend with personal prayer. Just to be clear, Tai Chi may have originated in the East, but is not indicative of any particular belief system any more than a push up is. It is very simply a tool one uses to test oneself. However, this tool’s mindfulness easily leads to a meditative state that augments the practitioners personal spiritual beliefs. Tai Chi can strengthen your walk in more than one way.
The single greatest benefit of Tai Chi is that it just helps you to feel good. Enjoy this beautiful day.