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T'ai Chi Ch'uan


T'ai Chi Ch'uan is an internal martial art that originated in China sometime in the 16th Century. It has been practised by successive generations as a means of self defence, health improvement and inner cultivation. There are many styles and forms.
 
Benefits
 
Tai Chi is often described as "meditation in motion". There's growing evidence that this mind-body practice has value in treating or preventing many health problems that are characteristic of our current lifestyle such as Alzheimer's disease, Arthritis, Atherosclerosis, Asthma, some kinds of cancer, Type 2 diabetes, obesity, etc.
 
Studies have shown that Tai Chi addresses the key components of fitness: muscle strength, flexibility, balance (thus reducing falls), and to a lesser degree, aerobic conditioning.
 
The gentle movements in Tai Chi, combined with breathing and a relaxed mind and body seem to bring benefits to the body for a healthy living:
  • Releasing toxins
  • Strengthening the immune system
  • Improving Posture
  • Improving the quality of blood
  • Increasing digestion and assimilation of food
  • Making the heart stronger
Some of the emotional benefits of Tai Chi are:
  • Clarity of mind
  • Emotional stability
  • Gaining new perspective in stressful situations
  • Reduce tension
  • Increase self-awareness
  • Reduce negative emotions
  • Happy Attitude
It appears that the benefits of Tai Chi are more effective if the practice begins before one develops a chronic illness or functional limitation. Best of all, the regular practice of Tai Chi has cumulative effects in the body, mind and spirit. 
 
Getting Started
 
You can get started even if you aren't in top shape or the best of health!
  • Stop thinking Tai Chi is not for you and don't be intimidated by the "choreography" of Tai Chi.
  • Check with your GP if you have a medical condition. Given the excellent safety record of Tai Chi, chances are that you'll be encouraged by your GP to try it.
  • Enroll in a class. The benefits begin even before doing Tai Chi by socialising and making new friends with people who share the same thing: either a passion or curiosity for Tai Chi.
  • Find a good instructor. There's no licensing for Tai Chi instructors so you have to rely on recommendations from friends, clinicians and of course your own judgement. I encourage you to try my classes and decide if they are a good fit for you.
  • Dress comfortably so you won't restrict your range of motion. Practice barefoot or dress comfortable shoes. You'll need shoes that don't slip and provide good balance.
  • Measure your progress. Keep track of any positive physical and psichological changes. There are testimonials from people claiming their flexibility and balance improved substantially after attending a few classes.
More Info
 
Check the Articles page for an essay I wrote discussing the development of Tai Chi, its various styles and methods from early history to present day.
 
Click here for information about classes.