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10 reasons to try Tai Chi

10 reasons to try Tai Chi

Many today are seeking ways to cultivate greater health and wholeness.   There is particular interest in those wellness practices which afford a more holistic experience and benefit.   People not only want a good cardiac workout or to gain strength.  People also want to foster stress reduction, mental concentration, and an interior state of calm among other holistic health goals.

Tim Glover, Chief Mission and Ministry Officer for Saint Thomas Health, is an experienced Tai Chi practitioner and instructor.  Believing in the benefits of treating all parts of a person, Glover has found Tai Chi beneficial in exercising his body and mind at the same time.  Here are just some of the health benefits he has personally experienced as a practitioner of Tai Chi:

  • Stamina and vitality
  • Flexibility and range of motion
  • Strengthening of core muscle systems
  • Coordination and balance
  • Deep perception, hand/eye coordination
  • Relaxation, stress reduction, and sleep
  • Increase mental clarity and concentration
  • Respiratory functioning fostered by diaphragmatic breathing
  • Social support as tai chi is often practiced in community with others
  • Emotional sense of well-being

Tai Chi’s graceful beauty and poetic movement makes it hard to believe that its application is for martial purposes.  Yet, Tai Chi is rooted in a traditional Chinese approach to wellness and health known as Qigong (Chee-Gong).    Though it is informed by a very specific philosophical system and world view historically, there is much research demonstrating its benefits for overall health and wellness.  Though there are many different styles and forms that one can learn, all share the common features of being very “user friendly”:  one follows one’s own pace, level of comfort and ability.  It is learned and practiced in a slow, gentle, and focused manner.

As with any health and wholeness practice, consulting with one’s physician is always advisable before beginning a new activity.  It is also good to connect with a good instructor and a group with which to practice (a simple online search can provide good resources for the area you live in as well as books, DVDs, and other media resources).

If you would like to consult a physician before beginning a new exercise program, but don’t have a primary care physician, call 1-800-DOCTORS for a free physician referral. 

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