What is Tai Chi?
Tai Chi (also known as Taijiquan and T’ai Chi Ch’uan) is a Chinese martial art that is gaining popularity in the United States, not only for its martial (fighting) aspect, but for its many health benefits and ease of use.
Tai Chi is a complete system of exercise in which the practitioner’s mental focus, breathing, and movements are connected. This focus on whole body coordination and mind-body connection trains the body to move more efficiently and reduces physical stress on the joints and tissues of the body.
Tai Chi consists of exercises equally balanced between yin and yang, which is why it is so effective. For example, Tai chi movements consist of storing chi (energy) and releasing chi. This pattern is useful in increasing the practitioner’s energy stores while releasing old, stagnant energy or it can be thought of in terms of building up energy (storing) for an attack (releasing).
This balancing aspect of the form brings harmony into the practitioner’s everyday life.
One of the many things that Tai Chi teaches us is that moving from a place of relaxation, with softness and awareness, overcomes movement coming from a place of resistance and rigidity. Moving and living in this way is more effective, efficient, and can lead to a longer, healthier life.
Benefits of Tai chi
Tai Chi is an ideal form of exercise for all aspects of health care. Its benefits can include:
- Increased strength
- Increased body-mind awareness
- Increase in circulation
- Improved coordination
- Improved body awareness
- Enhanced flexibility
- Increased energy
- Improved ability to move body as a whole unit
- Stress reduction and relaxation
- Decreased pain, especially in joints
- Tai Chi may also help improve posture, boost the immune system, and increase bone density.
If you are new to the martial arts, Tai Chi may seem like a graceful dance when you first see it. Indeed, those who practice move with a fluidity seldom seen in other exercise. You may not feel very graceful when you begin, but after some practice in our supportive environment, you will start to move with ease as you feel the benefits. Tai Chi is, among other things, a moving meditation. As you begin to grasp the form, you will feel the mind and body settle into a relaxed state as you move. And it keeps getting better with time. Every martial art form is a lifetime of study and each individual can set an intention for his/her practice. It’s a wonderful thing when a student has an “aha” moment while practicing and when students walk out of class at ease, focused, smiling, and ready for the day.
Classes are held at Nadine’s Dance Center, 63A Rogers St, in downtown Gloucester, MA or outside when weather permits.
Intermediate/Advanced Class meets Sundays at 9:30 AM
Beginner/Intermediate Class meets Thursdays at 10:45
Private and semi-private classes also offered
Please contact me to sign up for classes.
Absorb what is useful, discard what is not, add what is uniquely your own. – Bruce Lee