Maintaining a healthy mind and body always involves a holistic approach and despite the onslaught of new fad exercises and diets, very often it’s best to stick with wisdom and practices handed down through the ages.
A case in point is Tai Chi. This ancient Chinese practice is “meditation is motion” which involves deep breathing and combined with slow, focused moves.
Originally designed for self-defense, tai chi is a non-competitive, self-paced system of gentle movements and stretching. I am currently doing this for five minutes, every day in a “30 day challenge” which we endorse at the Body Camp’s home base in Ibiza.
Here are some benefits of this ancient practise….
Using tai chi, most people can improve heart health, aerobic capacity, de-stress the body and promote strength. Another factor is reduced blood pressure, due to the slow breathing techniques used.
When all the moves are used and mastered during tai chi, the metabolism improves and so does the circulation. When the metabolism increases, we burn more at rest and the improved circulation can also help the body pump the blood around the system.
Decrease pain and improves flexibility
Tai chi uses all tendons, joints and muscles throughout the entire body in the motion and movements of the practise. Improved flexibility can improve stiffness, soreness and reduce pain within the body.
Maintains bone strength and density – especially for older people!
Tai chi is a great of improving bone density because it’s safe, slow and a very controlled way of moving the body through different planes of motion. It can also increase walking strength.
Promote happy feelings
Tai chi promotes calm and peacefulness. Graceful moments of this practise can induce a mediative state of mind and promote feelings of relaxation and bliss. It’s also a great tool for stress management, anxiety and depression.
Due to the slow nature of the practise, the body has to adapt and simply improve its own posture. The body is taken through a series of movements. This simply promotes the body engaging the core, finding stabilizing muscles not currently used and beginning to switch them on.
By breathing in a controlled way and using slow movements combined with the body, oxygen consumption, lung capacity and overall breathing can increase with the daily practise of tai chi.
Lower stress levels
Whenever you practise tai chi, the graceful movements will focus your thoughts, make you more aware of your breathing, calm you down and create a sense of well being. Its also a complete mood changer. After only a 5 minute session, the mood is definitely better!
Improve decision making capability.
When you get into a daily practise of tai chi, the mood is elevated and therefore you will feel better. The consequence of this…. much improved decision making on a day to day basis.
Due to stress levels reducing and the blood pressure dropping, the continued daily practise of tai chi will help anyone who struggles to sleep at night and help with quieting the mind.
Take up tai chi for 30 days for five minutes a day and feel the benefits for yourself!
Strategic Intervention Health Coach