An eastern form exercise, tai chi is also a form of awareness which works wonders for your physical and mental health. Traditionally, tai chi is form of Chinese martial art which is also used for personal defence training. A gentle form of exercise, tai chi can be done by people of all age groups. Tai chi should be done only under the supervision of an expert or an instructor. There are multiple ways in which tai chi can be taught but you should chose the way which suits you the most.
Here’s all you need to know about the basics of tai chi and its health benefits:
1. Always warm-up before tai chi
Just like doing any other exercise, warming up is an essential part of tai chi as well. Doing some shoulder and neck rolls and stretching exercises are crucial before tai chi to avoid cramps and injuries.
2. You must practice with an expert initially to avoid injury
Like any other form of exercise, you need to know the basics of tai chi right, to gain maximum benefits from it. It is recommended to take tai chi classes for a few months before you start following instructional videos available on the internet.
3. Focus on both mental and physical wellness while doing tai chi
Tai chi is all about finding a balance between yin and yang, action and rest and emptiness and immersion. You must try bringing a balance between these forces internally and externally. It will be difficult in the beginning. But that’s what tai chi is all about. It will make you learn the art of creating a balance quite naturally.
4. Tai chi improves flexibility, strength and balance
Tai chi works wonders for people suffering from joint pain. Not only does it ease the stiffness in joints, but also improves balances and reduces chances of falling. It is beneficial for cardiovascular health and conditions of the bone.
Tai chi is a form of a resistance exercise that can help in burning as much as 180 calories in a matter of half an hour.
Tai chi is also great for mental health as it acts as a stress buster. It improves sleep reduces depression and anxiousness.
5. Follow the form of tai chi that suits you the most
Wu, hao, yang and chen are some of the most common styles of tai chi. There is quite a significant difference in the way you are required to hold your body, manage the movement, its speed and intensity.
For instance, when doing yang, you need to do movements that are larger in frame. It involves a steady tempo with knees that should be slightly bent all the time.
Chen, on the other hand is one of the oldest tai chi exercise. It is physically more challenging and is hence good for young practitioners of tai chi. It requires a lot of internal power while doing the punching, kicking and jumping. While other movements are to be done comparatively softly in chen.
6. Stop doing tai chi the moment you feel uneasy or dizzy
Do not push your body to do tai chi if it is making you feel uncomfortable. Tai chi is all about feeling comfortable, natural and flowy. It is not supposed to strain your body in any way.
Forms of tai chi involve a lot of movements, and can be both short and long
One form of tai chi will usually involve more than one movement, which you will learn over a period of few weeks. They can be slow or fast and you must learn one form properly before moving on to the next.
7. You can do repetitions of the same form differently every time
You can try one particular form differently with every repetition, by focusing on different alignments every time. Another way of being different in repetitions is shifting attention and energy flow to different parts of the body. You can stress more on your feet or hands, or on the alignment of knees.
8. Practice tai chi in a place with moderate weather
Neither too hot nor too cold nor too windy would work for tai chi. Traditional Chinese medicine suggests that these conditions will adversely affect your health.
9. Always wear comfortable clothes and footwear while doing tai chi
Make sure that your clothes and shoes are comfortable enough so that they do not interfere with motion while doing tai chi. Your shoes should be flexible enough, with a good grip, so that they cope up with the moves. Avoid wearing running shoes because they push your body forward.
10. Tai chi isn’t just for seniors
Many people assume that tai chi as a form of exercise is meant only for the elderly. Many tai chi exercises are slow in pace and do not challenge your fitness levels to that extent. But all exercises of tai chi are not the same. Some of them involve kicks, punches and other difficult moves.
11. Check with your doctor before doing tai chi in case you are suffering from any medical condition
People with arthritis, osteoporosis or pregnant women should consult their doctors before taking up tai chi.