There are many articles promoting health benefit of Tai Chi practice. I would like to add the following points from my own experience.
1. There is minimum barrier in Tai Chi training.
From movement point of view, Tai Chi practice usually is done in a slower and relaxed manner. It is a kind of anaerobic exercise which is contrast to fitness based aerobic exercises. You can train in either young or old age, strong or weak physical condition or as a recovery of a major illness. As long as you can move around, you can practice Tai Chi. Regular Tai Chi exercise will bring you more energy.
2. Focusing on right posture.
Lots of illnesses are result of bad posture. Right Tai Chi training focuses on correct posture especially one’s spine. The following Guiding Principles from the Classics put a strong emphasis on this:
- An intangible energy lifts the crown of the head (虚灵顶劲)
- Contain the chest and Pull up the back (含胸拔背)
- Sink the shoulders and drop the elbows (沉肩坠肘)
- Keep the tail bone centred and straight (尾闾中正)
Following those principles in your regular practice, you will prevent or improve neck or lower back related problems.
3. Awareness leads to prevention.
Tai Chi training starts from “Knowing Yourself”. Standing Meditation (站桩) and Forms (套路) are designed for that purpose. Over the time, you should be more aware of your movement and posture. So it will be less chance of you holding bad postures over a period of time thus less injury or sickness.
4. Controlling your mind is the best way of stress relief.
These days stress is possibly the number one cause of health issues. Besides movement, Tai Chi puts a strong emphasis on mind. Here are some of the Guiding Principles from the Classics:
- Seek stillness in movement (动中求静)
- Movement and stillness are united (动静合一)
- Use mind intent not strength (用意不用力)
So during your practice, it’s important to free your mind of daily dealings such as work, home, money and etc. You will feel refreshed after training. In advance stage, Tai Chi can become a way of life. It will change your perspective towards material and put more importance of achieving inner peace.
Remember “Long Term Health” requires long term effort. It is more than just fitness. So take good care of yourself.