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Tai Chi an explanation

An Explanation of the benefits of Tai Chi

TAI CHI CHUAN AND QIGONG
TAI CHI CHUANTai Chi translates as ‘Grand, or Supreme, Ultimate’ and the Chinese called it this for good reason as they believe it to be the ‘ultimate exercise’ due to it’s unique ability to unite the body and mind unlike other exercise systems. Its origin in China was between 1200 and 1400 CE (AD) when a Taoist monk called Chang San-Feng combined his traditional medicine knowledge and the skills of the Shaolin warrior monks to create a gentle flowing series of exercises that corrects irregularities in posture and breathing, whilst invigorating and rejuvenating the body in the process.It is noted for its ability to increase the circulation of vital energy known as Qi that flows around the body and services the vital organs via the ‘meridian system’. Qi, pronounced ‘chee’, is the basic energy of the universe that is in everything including all life. In the Western world it is called ‘bio-electricity within human and other animal life. When Qi flow is blocked or restricted, imbalance and disharmony arise within the body and illness results.The Tai Chi and Qigong exercise systems serve to unblock such obstructions and restore the smooth flow of energy so that the body can re-balance itself. Many of the movements also serve to ‘massage’ the internal organs by either compression or relaxation of the body cavities or by stretching and relaxing the muscles covering an organ.
QIGONG

 Qi means energy and Gong is exercise or skill so a translation of Qigong would be ‘exercise and energy training with time and effort’. It is widely used in Chinese Hospitals as a non-invasive method of treatment. Much of each session comprises Qigong exercises. Some of the exercises are around 4000 years old. As with Tai Chi many of the exercises are allied to meditation to calm the mind as well as the body. The meditation element is to focus on breathing and movement of the body and limbs which calms the mind, reducing stress and lowering blood pressure.
All ages from children through to pensioners will benefit from regular practice, although many children prefer something more expressive and vigorous. The exercises can be as dynamic or soft as you wish and as your own body will dictate what and how much you are able to do. The Instructor in any class will be able to tailor exercises depending on any specific health problems or physical restrictions which exist. Tai chi can be practiced alongside other disciplines such as Aerobics, Yoga, Circuit Training or Martial Arts. It acts to enhance your knowledge of how the body works and moves which can only improve your ability in the other exercise systems.
TAI CHI CHUAN

 Tai Chi Chuan is a flowing sequence of moves which is usually performed slowly for the benefit of improving health and calming the mind. It is often called ‘meditation in movement’. Practice increases flexibility and balance whilst relaxing and energising both body and mind.
KEY HEALTH BENEFITS

 The health benefits include improving posture, breathing, coordination and balance. When you combine the above benefits with the meditative aspect of Tai Chi Chuan you have a therapy that acts positively on the following: ME. MS. Lung and Heart conditions, Arthritis, Osteoporosis, Lymphoedema, Parkinson’s disease, Diabetes, back problems and stress related illness.
In China many people can be seen performing Tai Chi in the parks, particularly in the morning. It is becoming increasingly recognised by Western Medicine and Health Agencies as producing significant benefits to health. 
Written by Ian V. Begbie.