Lifestyle » Vol. 4

Tai Chi Chuan

Gentle Exercise for the Body and Soul
By Linnea Sheldon

The ancient practice of Tai Chi Chuan has been gaining popularity in the Western world as a great way to reduce stress and improve health. Originally developed as an internal martial art in China in the 1820s, it is most popularly practiced as a means to good health.

Roy Moy is a Tai Chi Chuan instructor who began studying the martial arts in 1980. His study of Tai Chi began in 1999. He explains that the slow and graceful movements are sometimes thought of as a form of meditation. “These slow movements of Tai Chi slow down the body’s neurological speed, enabling the practitioner to train his or her awareness to notice subtle change and become conscious on deeper and deeper levels.”

Moy said this awareness allows the internal organs, muscles, fluids and nerves to function better. “Practicing Tai Chi’s range of movements will give support to the body, massage the internal organs, stretch lengthwise the muscles and ligaments, laterally twist the soft tissues, circulate the fluids in the body, increase energy flow, increase breathing capacity, establish and stabilize bio-mechanical alignments of the body.”

Tai Chi Chuan was originally used as a method to overcome a stronger, larger force. Today it is done for a variety of practical reasons including stress reduction, improved health, longevity, and stamina. It still remains China’s national health exercise and is practiced everyday by millions of people across the globe.

The therapeutic movements are considered a “heal yourself” form of Chinese medicine that helps you feel good and stay healthy and strong. The combination of mind and body wellness helps to build immunity. Because it is low impact, it can be practiced by just about everyone.

Moy explained that the only requirement is to practice, ideally 15 to 30 minutes most days of the week. “Done with a calm mind, moving the body in slow motion you begin to focus on the ability to consciously feel different parts of the inside and outside of the body to connect and move them in a relaxed but structurally efficient manner,” he explained. “Moving slowly allows you to deliberately access how your mind, body, and energy work. It gives you time to sense and understand what you are experiencing as you do the Tai Chi form.”

Tai Chi Chuan is taught locally at Tai Chi studios, as well as at community centers and fitness centers. For more information on Tai Chi Chuan, try www.energyarts.com; locally, try the Mantis Kung Fu Tai Chi institute, online at www.mantistaichi.com.

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