About Tai Chi

Tai Chi, at the first glance, looks like a ballet in slow motion.  It consists of a sequence of forms involving every part of the body and is performed in a highly stylized yet natural manner.  In its purist form, Tai Chi is a smooth and beautiful combination of eloquent, fluid and balanced movements, yet it can be quite physical and is often used for self defense.

Originating from the roots of classical Chinese culture, Tai Chi has evolved in three directions.  With its origin and heritage in Taoism, it is a way to spiritual perfection; with its practical use, it is a way to protect one- self or really fight; with its health caring effects, it is a way to strengthen self healing energy (Qi) and prevent and treat diseases.

Because it requires natural and deep breathing, and smooth rhythmic and balanced movements, Tai Chi exercises can increase the elasticity of the lung tissues and improve bones, muscles and joints.  Therefore, regular exercises of Tai Chi are believed to be helpful in preventing and treating illness, strengthening the constitution, keeping people fit, slowing down the pace of life and prolonging life as well.  In addition, the concentration of the mind is beneficial to the biochemical profile of the brain and nervous system, and the flow of the internal self healing energy that is useful for the delivery of oxygen and nutrition to the tissues.

Tai Chi, as an exercise and as an art of self defense as well, reflects a way of life, a philosophy.  The standing posture and the movements manifest a personality of straightforwardness and integrity, serenity and dignity.  They indicate a person of mental balance and emotional stability as well as physical well being.  The attention on suppleness and resilience suggest a friendly disposition and absence of aggressiveness.

In short Tai Chi intends to develop a conscientious, friendly, wholesome person, a person at peace with themselves and the world.

 

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© 2016 Craig M Miller

Photos: Tiana Schmitt, Colin Miller