What is Tai Chi?
Tai Chi was actually developed as a martial art, in China, around 400 years ago and involves a unique combination of Chinese medical theory and fighting skills. Many of the actions have an obvious martial application but it is characterised by slow, flowing movements. This makes it an excellent form of exercise. It is both gentle and powerful, so it is suitable for people of all ages and levels of ability.
According to Chinese medical theory our physical and mental health is determined by the quality of energy (chi) flowing through the body along the meridians. Tai Chi teaches us to open the joints, relax the muscles and align our posture to enhance the flow of chi.
Why Chen Style Tai Chi?
Chen Style Tai Chi differs from many other types by its (optional) use of lower postures and explosive movements (‘fajin’). It is not so sedate as some of the other styles, which adds some interest and excitement, and is very good for strengthening the legs. Chen family Tai Chi is widely accepted to be oldest and original style of Tai Chi and our Association Principal, Chen Yingjun, is the 20th generation, direct descendant of Chen Wangting, who started it all. This is therefore the most authentic Tai Chi at its best!
What is Qi Gong (Chi Gung or Chi Kung)?
Qi Gong means ‘practice of vital energy’. (The different spellings are merely due to different translations.) It involves specific movements and breathing techniques designed to increase both quality and quantity of chi in the body. A Chinese doctor may prescribe specific exercises for the treatment of illness and to aid convalescence. As the term is not so well known in the West, Qi Gong tends to be regarded as an aspect of Tai Chi.
What are the health benefits of Tai Chi?
Tai Chi and Qi Gong are very beneficial to our health. In particular, we can expect improvements to posture, balance, mobility, flexibility and coordination. Much of this is achieved through mindfulness, being fully present and paying full attention to our movement and the alignment of the body. Your teacher will show you how to achieve this and help you to make adjustments.
We also develop softness and relaxation, which relieves stress, calms the mind and enhances the flow of energy around the body. In Chinese medicine this is said to improve vitality and strengthen the immune system.