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What is Tai Chi?

There are many forms of Tai Chi, all of which are movement styles of QiGong. I teach Sun style Tai Chi because it is performed slowly with simple movements which are easy to learn. This style is recommended by the Arthritis Foundation for those who have chronic pain. Performing Tai Chi exercise improves the balance and allows energy (or chi) to flow through the body, relaxing the body and reducing pain. I have had many students who start the class in the seated position, and after several sessions are able to begin practicing in the standing position.

        Tai Chi can improve strength of the major muscle groups, cardiovascular fitness, and posture.  Muscle strength is important to protect the joints of the body, and research shows that weight-bearing exercise, such as Tai Chi, helps to prevent osteoporosis by keeping calcium in the bones. Cardiovascular exercise improves the function of the heart and lungs.  Performing gentle, weight-bearing exercise, such as Tai Chi, circulates the blood and and oxygen to all part of the body without damage to the joints of the body. We gain flexibility through this type of exercise without the soreness and pain that develops from a more strenuous exercise such as running. So many of our problems develop from poor posture from excessive sitting or standing in bad body alignment. Tai Chi is performed with attention to the posture and breath, and as the movements are performed we become more in tune with the body and mind.

        Mind-body exercises, such as Tai Chi, yoga, and QiGong contribute to overall feelings of wellness.  Wellness is not just physical, although we often think if it in those terms. Wellness is spiritual, emotional, physical, intellectual, social, and vocational. People who practice Tai Chi experience all of these dimensions of wellness through this gentle form of movement.  Studies show a reduction of blood pressure and pain with daily practice of this ancient form of exercise. I welcome you to come and try classes, and experience the wellness!

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