Tai Chi – What is it?

Though relatively new to us in the "west", Tai Chi has been around for a very long time.  More and more people all over the world continue to practice it, and you may know someone who does.  So what's it all about?  Why are people paying attention?

We might first wonder about the name itself.  If it appears to be from another part of the world, that's because Tai Chi ("tie chee") was created in China hundreds of years ago for self defense.  Not only was it very effective for fighting, but it also brought balance to the mind and body for those who practiced it.  Better health?  Better life?  Interesting…Why did this happen?

It turns out that when the smooth circular movements of Tai Chi combine with the calm breathing, focused mind and relaxed body, powerful benefits are experienced by the practitioner.  Too good to be true?  Studies support these results, and science can now explain why.

Tai Chi programs are being endorsed by Harvard Medical School, Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, Centers for Disease Control, Arthritis Foundation, Veterans Administration, and more.  Doctors are recommending it to their patients.  Why?  Tai Chi and Qigong can be considered a form of disease prevention, as they promote healing and strengthen the immune system, maximizing the body's natural ability to heal itself.

Sounds good, but wait a minute; what's Qigong?  You guessed it – another Chinese word.  Qigong ("chee gung") is an exercise system that can be considered the grandmother of Tai Chi.  The principles of Qigong were developed thousands of years ago to improve all aspects of health.  Eventually, these principles were used as the foundation of a martial art.  That's right, Tai Chi is a form of Qigong.

So what's the difference?  Tai Chi uses arm movements that have martial application, and it gets more serious about low body technique and control, which develops balance and stability.  Tai Chi classes often include Qigong for added benefit.  Both practices enhance the flow of chi, or life energy, in the body.

The practice of these energy arts can open a whole world of possibility for health, vitality, and peace of mind.  They can help us step into a new version of ourselves, greater than we may have dreamed possible.  If you are interested in creating balance in your body and in your life by learning these methods, contact me about classes:  Elaine Frey – 805-709-0512, [email protected]


Certified by Tai Chi for Health Institute, currently teaching Tai Chi for Health Programs by Dr. Paul Lam and Qigong classes weekly at Hollister Commnity Center