“Tai Chi Chuan strengthens the weak, raises the sick, invigorates the debilitated, and encourages the timid"
Tai Chi Grandmaster Cheng Man-Ch’ing
Principles of Tai Chi
Mindfulness Basic to the practice of Tai Chi is an attitude of mindfulness, or awareness of the present moment.
Postural Alignment The practitioner maintains focus on proper, natural standing postural alignment throughout the sequence.
Breath Awareness Natural diaphragmatic breathing patterns are maintained throughout the entire sequence.
Active Relaxation Active relaxation involves being both alert and calm at the same time and promotes the flow of Qi or life force throughout the body.
Slow Integrated Movement Tai Chi facilitates both strength and endurance through slow, relaxed movement.
Weight Separation During transitions and weight shifts, the weight ideally is 100 percent on one foot, keeping the body upright. Commonly referred to as "separating the weight," it contributes to better balance and increased leg strength.
Tai Chi Chuan, (also written "Taiji" or "Taijiquan") or simply Tai Chi, originated in China around the 13th century A.D. as a synthesis of martial arts exercise and sitting meditation.
Tai Chi, is a slow graceful exercise, and is a form of energy cultivation (Qigong.) Tai Chi is based on the perspective that mind and body are not separate; rather, they are different expressions of Qi energy or life force.
Tai Chi, which is based in self defense movements, evolved as a physical activity for integrating mind, body and spirit to function in harmony with the external world. Tai Chi (which means "Supreme Ultimate") cultivates the Middle Way, a peaceful path, rather than cultivating brute force, which inevitably becomes depleted.
Traditional Tai Chi forms incorporate movement patterns based in blocks, kicks and punches. Tai Chi encompasses many styles or forms, each originating from three main branches named after their most famous proponents (Yang, Chen or Wu).
Medical research has found that Tai Chi is a moderate aerobic exercise that enhances immune function, reduces stress and anxiety, and lowers blood pressure. It improves balance, strength, coordination, flexibility, reduces falls, and reduces joint pain in arthritis. The discipline of regular practice is the key to long-term benefits.