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About Tai Chi and Its Benefit

Tai Chi, or “moving contemplation,” is a moderate, agile, and loose arrangement of developments that joins high impact exercise, adaptability, adjust, and weight-bearing activity with profound breathing and reflection. Yoga goes back to twelfth century China and it is trusted that the Taoist minister Chang San-Feng built up the practice as a military artistic expression. It is said that the developments were gotten from watching a snake and a crane in fight. Chang San-Feng trusted that these animals were the ones most ready to conquer a more grounded rival.

Tai chi is based on the theory that your mind, body, and spirit must be in balance. Chinese philosophy holds that all of us and everything in the universe contain elements of “yin and yang.” Yin has the qualities of water — stillness, coolness, and femininity. Yang has the qualities of fire — brightness, activity, and masculinity. To maintain health, these inner forces must remain balanced so that your life energy, called qi (pronounced “chee”), can flow freely in your body.

The main elements of tai chi are movement, breathing, and meditation. Here’s how these practices can benefit health:

# Fitness and flexibility. Because tai chi is a weight-bearing form of exercise and will use all your major muscle groups, it improves strength and endurance. Its movements also enhance balance, agility, coordination, and flexibility.

# Heart and respiratory health. Tai chi is an aerobic form of exercise, which means your heart works harder and increases the flow of oxygen in your blood. Aerobic exercise has been shown to benefit your heart and may lower your cholesterol. Tai chi breathing exercises increase your lung capacity and improve circulation of oxygen.

# Mental health. Research shows that meditative aspects of tai chi can help relieve stress, improve concentration, and lower blood pressure and reduce your heart rate.

# Overall well-being. Tai chi may improve your digestion and your immune system, and help you sleep better. People who practice tai chi regularly often report an overall feeling of improved wellness. Results of two randomized controlled trials found that older adults who participated in a 16-week or 6-month tai chi program reported greater psychological well-being, life satisfaction, and perceptions about their health than a control group not participating in tai chi.

If you want to learn tai chi, taking a class is a good option. Talk to your doctor first if you have any significant health problems. Tai chi is very safe and can be adapted to most any health issue, so discuss any condition with your teacher before you begin. One note of caution is that the practice of tai chi is not regulated in the United States, so be sure to ask about your teacher’s experience and qualifications.