Tai Chi/Qi Gong   

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  Qi gong. This practice generally combines meditation, relaxation, physical movement and breathing exercises to restore and maintain balance. Qi gong (CHEE-gung) is part of traditional Chinese medicine. Qigong practices can be classified as martial, medical, or spiritual. All styles have three things in common: they all involve a posture, (whether moving or stationary), breathing techniques, and mental focus. Some practices increase the Qi; others circulate it, use it to cleanse and heal the body, store it, or emit Qi to help heal others. Practices vary from the soft internal styles such as Tai Chi; to the external, vigorous styles such as Kung Fu. However, the slow gentle movements of most Qigong forms can be easily adapted, even for the physically challenged and can be practiced by all age groups. The gentle, rhythmic movements of Qigong reduce stress, build stamina, increase vitality, and enhance the immune system. It has also been found to improve cardiovascular, respiratory, circulatory, lymphatic and digestive functions..

 

Tai chi: Originally developed for self-defense, Some may focus on health maintenance, while others focus on the martial arts aspect of tai chi. Tai chi has evolved into a graceful form of exercise that's now used for stress reduction and a variety of other health conditions. Often described as meditation in motion, tai chi promotes serenity through gentle, flowing movements. also called tai chi chuan, is a noncompetitive, self-paced system of gentle physical exercise and stretching. Each posture flows into the next without pause, ensuring that your body is in constant motion helps reduce stress and anxiety. And it also helps increase flexibility and balance, Although tai chi is generally safe, women who are pregnant or people with joint problems, back pain, fractures, severe osteoporosis or a hernia should consult their health care provider before trying tai chi. Modification or avoidance of certain postures may be recommended.

 When learned correctly and performed regularly, tai chi can be a positive part of an overall approach to improving your health. The benefits of tai chi include:

  •          Decreased stress and anxiety

  •          Increased aerobic capacity

  •          Increased energy and stamina

  •          Increased flexibility, balance and agility

  •          Increased muscle strength and definition

Some evidence indicates that tai chi also may help:

  •          Enhance quality of sleep

  •          Enhance the immune system

  •          Lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure

  •          Improve joint pain

  •          Improve symptoms of congestive heart failure

  •          Improve overall well-being in older adults

  •          Reduce risk of falls in older adults

 Get started with tai chi

Although you can rent or buy videos and books about tai chi, consider seeking guidance from our qualified tai chi instructor to gain the full benefits and learn proper techniques. A good tai chi instructor can teach you specific positions and how to regulate your breathing. An instructor can also teach you how to practice tai chi safely, especially if you have injuries, chronic conditions, or balance or coordination problems. Although tai chi is slow and gentle, with virtually no negative side effects, it's possible to get injured if you don't know how to do tai chi properly. Eventually you may feel confident enough to do tai chi on your own. But if you like the social element, consider sticking with group tai chi classes. While you may get some benefit from a 12-week tai chi class, you may enjoy greater benefits if you continue tai chi for the long term and become more skilled. You may find it helpful to practice tai chi in the same place and at the same time every day to develop a routine. But if your schedule is erratic, do tai chi whenever you have a few minutes. You can even practice the soothing mind-body concepts of tai chi without performing the actual movements when you are in a stressful situation, such as a traffic jam or a tense work meeting, for instance.