What is Tai Chi?
Tai Chi is an ancient martial art literally translated as “Supreme Ultimate Force” which became popular in China due to its natural proactive health benefits. It was promoted through the country as a health regime which would help people maintain their mental, physical and energetic health, even through the elderly years. It provides multiple health & physical benefits to a range of people from those with recovering health to those who are physically active already.
At first glance, you might suspect that the slow nature is only valid for those recovering from surgeries and in need of safe exercises during this recovery period. However, on closer examination, the slow nature results in deeper programming of our muscles for improved biomechanics including better posture and balance while truly engaging the smaller muscles of our body which allows us to achieve true body strength. Even the tai chi moves themselves when done correctly and slowly are the best forms of muscle engagement for strength and stability.
Firstly, it engages the small muscles of our bodies as much as the large ones which we use consciously. Secondly, the tai chi moves engage our bodies in eccentric muscle contractions which athletes training for strength and endurance understand as a necessary part of improved performance. Only, we all need to engage our bodies fully with eccentric muscle strengthening to reduce or eliminate low back issues and other physical challenges that appear due to long hours sitting at a desk, repetitive physical work or our natural aging process.
As a martial art, what makes it a “supreme-ultimate” is the use of yin / yang energies simultaneously which means implementing both forceful and yielding energies in every move. While learning how to engage our vital energy starts from the very first day of tai chi practice, it takes a lot of training, conditioning and practice to master the use of our body, leading from our core and the balance of yin / yang energies.
Finally, tai chi is known as a moving meditation due to the focus and calm of mind achieved from breathing into movements and engaging our personal qi, our body’s intrinsic energy.
To get started, take a look at our tai chi programs for beginners. Supplement these fun, physical and social programs with some background knowledge and interesting insights found in our various blog postings.