Tai Chi is a series of techniques related to Chinese traditional medicine, that focuses on the mind, breathing and physical movement.
Originally, Tai Chi is a full contact martial art, be it armed or unarmed. In modern times, however, it is considered more of a physical-spiritual practice used to better ones physical and mental quality of life. It is very beneficial for one’s health, and it is considered a technique of meditation in movement.
Yang Chengfu, spread throughout the whole of China Tai Chi Chuan. He was the grandson of the creator of the Yang style (Yang Lu Chan), a man with a gentle, tranquil and simple character. From 1928 onwards, Chengfu’s style spread and became popular due to the change in the martial nature of Tai Chi, favoring a more therapeutic focus. Yang Chengfu introduced into the Yang style a long structure, which means that the hands move a greater distance.
Chengfu made constant emphasis in his core principles, making them the formula for the correct practice. Each of his ten core ideas is linked to a practical result and when all are represented in a precise manner, the result is the expression of strength and balance present in every Tai Chi style. The ten principles are:
Keep your head up and relaxed.
Keep your chest back and your back straight.
Loosen the waist.
Separate the full from the empty (distribute your weight).
Relax your shoulders and elbows.
Apply Yi and not strength.
Coordinate your upper body and your lower body.
Harmony in the interior and exterior.
Uninterrupted flow (let the movement flow continuously).
Keep still while moving.
The essential parts of the tai Chi workout are represented in one or several so called forms, which consist of clearly determined sequences that follow one another in a continuous flowing movement.
The fundamental principle of tai Chi is softness: the practitioner must move in a natural, relaxed, loosened and flowing manner. In Tai Chi there are no sequences of strength, speed or hardening, on the contrary, it demands that the movements are made with as little strain as possible on the body.
When working out, the body must be relaxed. This relaxation comes from the expression of what is known as the Yin force. A force that is geared towards the movements with a specific purpose that coordinate the body and that are not bound by any inhibitory tensions.
The practice of Tai Chi is recommended for any age or gender due to the benefits it brings both to the body and mind. In general terms we can classify said benefits in two major groups: the control of energy and the physical improvement.
In the first case, and following Chinese philosophy, the vital energy or Chi is a key element in our wellbeing. The fact that it flows in the correct manner through the body’s meridians is the reason we feel well, or on the other hand if the flow is incorrect we become ill.
Hence, and with the principles of this belief, the continuous practice of Tai Chi would be fundamental to locate and channel in the correct manner the vital energy of our body. With this, we would reach perfect harmony between our physical and our mental planes as well as with the rest of the universe, as our energy is channeled outwards and can influence our surroundings.
Leaving to one side the traditional Chinese beliefs with regards to vital energies, what there can be no doubt about is that, being a martial art, Tai Chi has some very obvious benefits on a physical level, in both the short and long term. Some of these benefits are:
Memory. When you practice Tai Chi you have to learn several series of movements called Forms, this activates your memory allowing you to not forget the most important things in your daily life.
Betterment of your physical balance. You work different muscles which will reinforce your balance, this way you will be less likely to fall and your life will improve.
Increase in vitality. With the breathing techniques, you will learn to breathe in a manner that your body will be filled with energy. There is a saying that mentions: “From the correct breathing comes sensibility and vitality”.
Discipline. In order to perform Tai Chi correctly one is required to have concentration, order and reflexes, making you a more disciplined individual.
Better Attitude. Tai Chi helps to balance emotions, allowing you to learn to enjoy life more, which makes you more tolerant with any inconveniences you encounter; this will make you have a more positive attitude.
Remember, your wellbeing is in your hands. If you want to know more about Tai Chi classes and its benefits do not hesitate to contact us!