Contributing Writer for Wake Up World
We live in a world where many people would rather opt for a pharmaceutical treatment, or even cosmetic or prosthetic surgery, than to live a life of healthful disease prevention. Even those who do physical exercise are so often focused on running hard and lifting heavy that they can barely walk by the time they're 50.
Yet, there are many simple, low impact physical practices that are healthful and positively energetic which help us to maintain strength of mind and body; and when we make them part of our lifestyle, we generally find that we don't have those health problems arise.The Benefits of Tai Chi
"Tai Chi is a health technology evolved over thousands of years of research in China, and are now growing in popularity worldwide. They are used in hospitals, businesses, prisons, schools and other institutions. They have been shown in research to reduce anxiety, depression and chronic pain conditions. They boost the immune system, improve respiratory function, burn calories, dramatically improve balance, provide cardiovascular benefit, provide powerful stress management tools, slow aspects of the aging process and lift spirits." ~ Source
Tai Chi is a powerful ancient practice that keeps the body healthy and strong, and yet most anyone can do it, regardless of existing physical conditions or limitations. There really is no other practice quite like it; it is unlike anything and yet compliments everything.
The long forms of Tai Chi cleanse your whole energy field. It is an exercise in grounding to the Earth, and in doing so it increases your negative ion charge. It does not increase your negativity of course, but increases the grounded negative charge within your energetic being. When we are grounded, the harmful energies (positively charged ionization, which creates anti-oxidation in the body) that hinder us and others do not connect with us, just like grounding helps to prevent against electrical charges/shocks. It is quite simple and yet tremendously profound. (Learn more here.)
Although known as the gentlest of the martial arts, in Tai Chi (for example, the Wu form of Tai Chi that I practice) there are also movements that involve stomping the feet and numerous movements involving brushing the knee, toes, arms, hands and head, both literally and energetically.
Learning the long form of Tai Chi is extremely rewarding, and is so because it is challenging. Tai Chi is healthful, it is meditative and medicating, strengthening and relaxing. It feels like 'home'.
The most fundamental benefit of Tai Chi, though, is that it helps to integrate the mind, spirit and body. Perhaps that sounds too esoteric, but it's true. From a physical perspective, learning complicated yet flowing movements enables us to develop a new intimacy with our bodies, and to later move in more refined manners. However the power of Tai Chi to develop the power of the mind and spirit is found in heighten intuitive awareness.
As a long time practitioner, it really is amazing how many layers there are to Tai Chi. I like to compare it to a deep well where the deeper you go, the more layers and substance you find.
One of the many wonderful concepts in Tai Chi is the old saying, 'Tai Chi makes the weak strong and the strong gentle.' I would add that Tai Chi makes the strong and the gentle alike intuitively intelligent. As you refine the postures, the timing, and the flow of your movements, your brain literally grows. Dendrites or the connections between synapses in the brain grow and expand and new connections are made within the brain. This results in expanded awareness (consciousness) as well as improved memory and thinking. (Learn more here.)