Tai Chi is a form of Qigong meditation that is as beautiful as it is old. With stress, massive changes in lifestyle, and new habits that have emerged over the last 18 months, the practice remains as relevant today as it did when first practiced nearly 2,500 years ago. Whether a Peloton enthusiast, hardcore yogi, active runner or none of the above, the benefits of this practice to the mind and body are many.
Here are four reasons to try.
1. It’s Not a Fad.
Tai Chi is an exercise system that began as a martial art several thousand years ago. Rooted in Chinese medicine and the philosophy of balance between yin and yang, it was formalized around 1670 by Chen Wangting. Today, there are several prevalent styles, and it’s evolved into a practice commonly used to alleviate stress and anxiety through breath and movement.
2. Countless Health Benefits
We combat any number of health issues on a daily basis, with the average American adult living in a continuous state of stress. Tai Chi is not meant to raise your heart rate or designed to burn calories, but the slow, deliberate moves relieve and heal an extensive list of ailments. In Tai Chi, the movements are never forced, the muscles are never tense, the connective tissues are not stretched and the joints are not overextended. Harvard University did a study on the effects of Tai Chi, only to conclude that it is “the perfect activity for the rest of your life.”
3. Meditation in Motion
Many of us have tried, repeatedly, to develop a meditation practice that probably involves sitting on a pillow and closing our eyes. And for many of us, it never gets past those first few minutes. There are some for whom sitting still just doesn’t work. That’s ok. Tai Chi is often described as meditation in motion: through the graceful, continual movement, your mind settles into a rhythm and naturally clears the clutter. By focusing the mind on the movement of your body, calm and clarity come naturally.
4. No Hidden Fees
There are so many workouts or activities that can require monetary investment. Whether it’s spin shoes for a cycle class, trendy workout clothes, or a costly gym membership, it can feel like there are too many roadblocks before actually reaping the benefits of exercise. Tai Chi is often practiced in a group, and classes are often given in inexpensive community centers or cultural clubs. It can also be practiced alone at home, where you can use online videos to get started. Loose, comfy clothing, your body, and mind are all that are needed.