What is Tai Chi (pronounced “tie chee”) It is an ancient Chinese form of exercise

What is Tai Chi, and how can it help me?

What is Tai Chi? Sifu Michael Paler in Beijing, China 2014

What is Tai Chi (pronounced “tie chee”) it’s an ancient Chinese form of exercise that is still being practiced by millions of people all over the world. Anyone at any age can do Tai Chi.  It’s never too late to learn.

Unlike many other exercises and workout fads that come and go, Tai Chi actually works and has withstood the test of time.

For health benefits, Tai Chi has been tested and proven to help heal and rehabilitate many ailments such as: heart disease, balance, flexibility, arthritis, depression, anxiety, joint problems, and injuries  just to name a few.  These benefits have been reported by the Harvard Medical School, the Mayo Clinic, and many other reputable international health organizations.

Originating in China as a martial art in about the 12th century, Tai Chi is known as The Supreme Ultimate Fist.  The founder of Yang Tai Chi, Yang Lu Chan, was called “Yang the Unbeatable” and was appointed to teach China’s Imperial Guard this martial art’s superior fighting techniques.

Although Tai Chi wasn’t initially created for health purposes, ordinary villagers and town people in China began to witness that these groups of Tai Chi martial artists were all healthier and living longer than the average person. Today Tai Chi is revered around the world for both its health and martial achievements.

A person practicing Tai Chi moves their body with intention, using slow and relaxed movements.  Scientific studies now reveal that the combination of form, breathing, and meditation techniques allows for many benefits including massaging the internal organs through a combination of breath and movement; allowing for the exchange of gases in the lungs through a relaxed body and  breath work; and aiding the digestive system to work more efficiently through learning to sink and relax the pressure downward.  Tai Chi can also increase grey matter in the brain, which boosts awareness and calmness.

The ancient martial artists who lived well into their late 90s and 100s enjoyed all of these benefits.  Because they actually looked and felt younger and more lucid as they aged, it wasn’t long before Tai Chi became the most sought after exercise to do in China. And yet, people also began to realize that the many health benefits could not be attained without the martial concepts.  This is the essence and paradox of Tai Chi — that you cannot attain the health without also cultivating the martial art.  Such is the balance and harmony of yin and yang.

Tai Chi is very easy to learn and quickly becomes more than a workout.  Because of the depth to this art, it becomes a way of life for many.  You eventually realize that Tai Chi has permeated every area of your life.  The way you stand and move, how you do ordinary chores, and even in the way you think, you become more aware and more relaxed in everything you do.