Tai Chi – Meditation in Motion
You’ve probably seen Asian men and women performing graceful movements with their hands and legs in slow motion. And you probably marveled at how elegant their exercise was.
This type of exercise is called tai chi and is an ancient Chinese form of exercise, but has become popular all over the world as a way to relieve stress and become more relaxed.
Although tai chi can actually be classified as a martial art, it is more often thought of as a method to harmonize the yin and yang, the passive and active principles in a person’s body, thus acting like meditation.
The flowing and deliberate series of movements are carefully prescribed according to the style of tai chi being followed, but each teacher has his or her own version. There are five classical styles, but today many hybrid styles and offshoots of the classical styles have become popular.
When doing tai chi, a person needs to focus on relaxing the body and concentrating attention as if in meditation. Movements flow from one posture into the next without pause, so a person’s body is in constant motion.
Because tai chi is low impact, minimal stress is put on muscles and joints. It is, therefore, generally safe for people of all ages and fitness levels. In addition, it can be performed anywhere – indoors and outdoors – alone or with a group.
Many studies have reported tangible benefits for people who practice tai chi, but longer studies are needed to confirm the best results. In addition, it is important to take the long view – tai chi should be practiced long-term to get the most benefit.