Tai Chi falls easily into at least four major categories:  martial arts, meditation, medicine, and exercise.   Much like the art form itself, Tai Chi  flows naturally in and out of these different domains, depending on the needs and intentions of the practioner.

Tai Chi is a respected, ancient Chinese martial art and exercise, and yet it is also considered  a “moving meditation”, designed to relax the mind and body… achieve health and tranquility.

Its form is that of soft, slow, circular dance-like movements which flow easily from one posture to another.   The words “tai chi” mean “big energy” or perhaps more correctly, “the supreme ultimate”, referring to the  smooth flow of energy throughout all of the universe.  The movements of Tai Chi bring this flow into natural balance….promoting mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

In addition to its history as a form of martial art, and its usefulness as a safe, easy exercise, Tai Chi is also medicinal in nature.    

The practice of Tai Chi is well documented as effective in lowering high blood pressure, reducing the risk of falling, and relieving the chronic pain of arthritis and immune-deficiency diseases.   Tai Chi is a way to invoke “the healer within” and encourage individuals to become independent of pharmaceutical  solutions to health challenges.  Some say that Tai Chi is the “best health insurance you can buy”, insuring that you will stay healthy the natural way. 

With Tai Chi, the student can learn to activate “the healer within” and produce the natural medicine within the body.  This medicine is often referred to as “the good feeling” and is a combination of the flow of chi (energy)  more fully through the body, along with the release of more endorphins into the system.   

The Chinese believe that Tai Chi exercises actually massage and invigorate internal organs like the heart and liver, as well as muscles, joints, and tendons.

Based on the observation of nature, the elegant flow of the Tai Chi movements, when practiced regularly, physically strengthen and tone the body while encouraging flexibility and limberness.

The best thing about Tai Chi is that anyone can do it, regardless of physical limitations or fitness level.    Tai Chi is modifiable to the individual’s comfort level.  

Thus, it can be practiced by persons of all ages and is beneficial to all parts of the body.  Depending upon which style is practiced it generally takes from 5 to 10 minutes to complete a set, during which time, every joint has been gently opened, every ligament stretched, and every muscle toned.    It is highly efficient as a form of exercise and very simple to practice once it is learned.   No special equipment, surroundings, or clothing is needed.   Tai Chi can be done anywhere, but is especially wonderful when practiced out of doors in nature.

In addition to strengthening the body, Tai Chi promotes a unique quieting of the mind.  When the mind, body, and spirit are all in alignment with one another, as they are in the practice of this ancient art, a deep peace of mind is available to the practitioner.   This results in a dramatic reduction of stress for the individual.   Tai Chi is a natural tranquilizer, an “inner vacation”.

Tai Chi is sometimes called “the middle way”, meaning that in the practice of Tai Chi, an elegant balance is found between what appear to be extreme opposites.   These opposites, in the Chinese tradition, work in harmony, complementary to one another as they work together to promote an experience of the wholeness of life.

Whether you are interested in Tai Chi for martial arts, medicine, meditation, or exercise, one thing is certain:  if you practice, you will benefit.