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Where Do You Stand On Tai Chi?


By now, everyone has either read of the many health benefits of Tai Chi, or seen a class enjoying the moment in the park.

The Medical Dictionary says Tai Chi originated in China as a martial art. Now we know it as a gentle exercise emphasizing breathing, in which a person stands and executes a series of waving postures and movements with each one flowing into the next.

Legend says a Taoist monk was inspired to create it as a martial arts defense strategy, as he watched a snake and a crane do battle. The poses all have whimsical names like “White Crane Spreads Its Wings, Play the Lute or Needle at the Bottom of the Sea.”

For years I was aware of Tai Chi, through friends who always knew what was good first, and through a professor, who not only practiced it, but taught classes and studied the physical effects on the students. I had clung to yoga because it worked so well and always thought I would add Tai Chi. When I actually did, not too long ago, I had to wonder why I had not tried it sooner.

If you are interested in meditation, and love to be outdoors, a class in the park in Tai Chi is sublime.

I was fortunate to find an instructor who was dynamic but not rigid. He teaches online, and all over the world, but lives near my local park. The instructor teaching my class clearly understands how to involve everyone, no matter what their level of physical skills or knowledge of Tai Chi, as he weaves an hour of magic. In each class he has succeeded in pulling the entire group into a ‘moving meditation’ that left everybody relaxed and smiling.

And, of course, along the way we absorbed an hour of outdoor sunlight with Vitamin D, stepped away from our day to day boredom or worries, and improved our strength and balance skills.

The Huffington Post recently focused on Tai Chi as an anti-aging technique, citing a recent study that reported benefits to persons with mild to moderate Parkinson’s disease and fibromyalgia. In addition they reported it appears to help with blood pressure, balance and stress reduction.

Look for the Class that Fits

If you start to look into it you may find beginner and advanced groups, and large and small classes. You may want to sample a few to find the perfect fit.

Whatever the attraction might be for you, I think you will be delighted when you try it.


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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of abg_colegio

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