Are you a stressed professional or parent looking for a way to reduce stress and anxiety in your life? Tai chi is an excellent way of helping someone relax after a stressful day at work. Tai chi helps the mind and the body, by integrating free flowing forms that encourage both mental and physical health. It is a skilled practice, but there are many movements and techniques that even a beginner can adopt into their daily exercise regime. Despite the fact that it is technically a form of martial arts, tai chi will introduce you to a more enlightened mindset, helping you enter a state of relaxation.
Origins of Tai Chi
Tai Chi is based on the principle of opposites; the balance of the universe is kept in check using this idea. For example, there would be no concept of good without first referring to what is evil. If no evil existed, everything would be neutral. Therefore, good and evil are both opposing aspects of the same dualism.
Tai Chi operates using this principle of opposites, because it consists of exercises that are balanced between yin and yang. Yin and yang are forms of energy that are polar opposites. Without the yin, the scales would tip, and there would be no balance. The same applies to the yang. According to this philosophy, chaos would ensue if the balance between polar opposites is disrupted. An analogy of this principle is the idea of life and death. Life is seen as the ‘good’ principles, death is seen as the ‘evil’. However, if there was no death, we would not appreciate the wonder of new life, and this would disrupt the balance between the two. While death is not a pleasant thing to think of, it causes us to achieve more and appreciate our days on earth.
There are five tai chi styles, each of which were developed at different stages throughout history. Yang and Chen are the two main styles, and the three others are best described as derivatives of Yang and Chen. The three secondary styles are known as Wu, Hao, and Sun.
Martial arts in general has existed for thousands of years, and Tai Chi is really just a variation based on Qigong , as well as ancient martial arts techniques. Qigong is a series of low-impact exercises that are mostly concerned with strengthening muscles and boosting circulation. It is also a spiritual philosophy rooted in Chinese Taoism.
As such, Tai Chi is best understood as a mix of martial arts, low-impact exercise, and mental outlook. Chen is the oldest style, and it was developed by Chen Wangting in the 1670s. It is known for its eclectic mix of movements: slow and soft, mixed with hard and fast. If you’re interested in the Chen style, be prepared to learn how to do explosive movements like jumping kicks, making fists, and high-impact stomping. Chen is seen as a more difficult style than others, so it is probably not the first one you should jump into as a beginner.
Yang is the most popular style of Tai Chi. It uses a lot of slow, steady movements, and is a lot easier for beginners to learn.
Mental and Emotional Benefits of Tai Chi
The mental and emotional benefits of Tai Chi include promoting mindfulness, encouraging psychic balance, and reducing stress and anxiety. The fast-moving pace of modern life means that we can often become overwhelmed by the circumstances in our life. Practicing Tai Chi is a way of taking care of our mental and emotional health. Not only this, but it is also great for our physical health. Tai Chi can help to improve our overall physical and mental health and wellbeing. The physical enactment of Tai Chi movements strengthen our internal organs, boosts circulation, and improves our immune system. These physical benefits can have positive mental and emotional repercussions, because our body is an intricate system, and physical symptoms are often signs of underlying emotional stress.
Getting Started with Tai Chi
Getting started with Tai Chi involves some research and consideration. As a beginner, the best way to begin is to try to find some classes taught by a professional. If this isn’t feasible where you live, or your schedule is too busy, the first thing you should do is decide what style you want to try out. Yang is probably the best one to start with, as the movements are a lot easier than Chen. It is also more geared towards relaxation due to its emphasis on lyrical movement.