Why Do Tai Chi?
When people ask me why do tai chi, or what is tai chi good for, I tell them that an easier question to ask would be what is it not good for? Because tai chi offers so many benefits for so many reasons, it would take volumes to answer that question completely.
In this article, we will take a look at some of the main reasons why you should do tai chi.
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Do tai chi for your mind
Tai chi was created as a system of self defense (martial art) during a time in rural China when each village had the responsibility to protect itself and its inhabitants from attack by bandits and criminals.
At the same time, the creator of this “internal” martial art, General Chen Wangting (1580 – 1660), also embedded within the framework of defensive and offensive movements the principles of classical medicine and philosophy.
It is a well known fact that tai chi, and all martial arts for that matter, dictate a way of life sometimes referred to as the “warrior code”. This involves strict rules of conduct that must be maintained to become an upright citizen in society. Honesty, humility, forthrightness, honor, and respect for all life are some of the traits that are at the top of this list.
Through years of rigorous training to develop the highest level of skill and understanding, you will cultivate self discipline, self control, and a true sense of confidence in yourself. These character traits bring inner peace and contentment. From this, you learn to remain calm in every situation, which is extremely valuable for your health.
Do tai chi for your body
Tai chi has very specific rules governing how you should stand, breathe, relax, and move during basic training, solo form practice, and partner training methods. These training methods cultivate posture that is in perfect alignment with gravity, teach us silk reeling (spiral whole body movement), and develop naturally strong flow of chi (vital energy) and blood.
The main key in tai chi training, whether for your health or for martial art, is the natural circulation of your vital energy (chi) with no blockages. Put simply, when your chi is blocked because of tension (stress), your health declines. Reestablish the natural chi flow and you will regain your health.
When you enjoy natural chi circulation with no blockages, this affects every aspect of your health. This strengthens your immune system, builds a healthy heart, and develops strength, flexibility, and endurance, and allows you to live a long healthy life.
Do tai chi for your spirit
We must remember that first and foremost, tai chis is a martial art. And nothing is quite the same for building your spirit than a martial art!
When you are engaged in the practice of tai chi or any martial art, your full intention in focused on exactly what you are doing in each and every moment.
During your training, you are not only concentrating completely on every tiny gesture, turn of your waist, extending of your arms and legs, where your eyes are focused, your breathing, etc., but also imagining that you are defending yourself from opponents all around you, and how you must respond to these attacks very quickly and precisely, because your life may depend on it!
This training will surely build you spirit quickly out of necessity!
Grandmaster Wang had an expression he liked to recite regarding the spirit of martial art:
“Outside complete calm. Inside like water boiling up.”
This means your spirit is fully awake and prepared for whatever comes towards you, but your outer appearance is perfectly relaxed and composed. This feeling is very important when practicing tai chi
Do tai chi for stress reduction
Life in our modern world can be extremely stressful. We all have worries and fears and things don’t always go as we would like them to. Add to that the increase in cost of living and other factors, and there is no doubt this can cause stress.
We need something to occupy our mind and body daily to balance and overcome these stress causing factors – something that both relaxes our mind and exercises our body.
Tai chi does this in many ways. It reverses the physical tension that builds up during the day and gives our brain a temporary vacation from worrying all the time. Try it – you will find this is true in so many ways!
Do tai chi for better balance
The movements and postures in the tai chi forms cultivate balance constantly like nothing else I know of. Changing from one posture to the next, stepping in every possible direction, shifting and rotating your hips in various directions all demand your full attention and intention on your balance. Special to the practice of tai chi are the slow, deliberate stepping patterns. You will surely feel better balance almost immediately!
Do tai chi to reverse the aging process
The major factor here is your alignment with gravity every moment during your tai chi practice. By aligning yourself perfectly with gravity, you are removing all unnecessary stress on joints, muscles, and your spine.
Do tai chi for longevity
The Nature of tai chi movements exercises your body in its most comfortable and gentle way. The saying “no pain no gain” is not in our tai chi curriculum!
More reasons to do tai chi
Here is a great follow up article giving even more reasons why do tai chi as your main health and fitness exercise.