What is Tai Chi?
When you think of Tai Chi you most likely think of it as meditative movements done as exercise rather than hand-to-hand combat that it was intended for! In the 1500 years that Tai Chi has been about it has moved away from being for defence towards being a means of physical exercise.
Tai Chi is often called “meditation in motion”. It is a series of choreographed slow soft flowing movements that have a participant always in a state of motion from the start to the end of a sequence. Each movement has its own name within the choreographed sequence of movements. These movements also corresponds with either the inhalation or exhalation of a deep, gentle breath.
This coordination of movement and breath is believed to free the flow of “chi, a life-force energy that when blocked, can cause stress and illness. By improving the link between a person’s mind and body, Tai Chi re-establishes the yin and yang of a person bringing back natural harmony.
There are five major styles of Tai Chi and many variants, each named after the different families in China that developed them. The styles are Chen, Yang, Wu, Wu Hao and Sun. The differences between these styles are the different paces, stances, and movements employed in them. However they all still have the same basic principles underlying them.
We teach several of Dr Paul Lam's Tai Chi for Health programs. All forms of Tai Chi are good for your health, but what we particularly like about Dr Lam's programs is he has made Tai Chi accessible to all. In his forms, he has removed the lower stances and high kicks that some forms have. He has developed forms that are quick to pick up and not as complex as some. It uses smooth gentle flowing movements designed to improve agility. His Tai Chi for Arthritas program uses Sun Style tai chi, with gentle postures and high stances that make it suitable for all. Other programs are made up different styles and mixtures of these specifically for a health reason and to be suitable for practice by all.