Bangkok, Thailand - FEbruary 13 2016: Unidentified group of people practice Tai Chi Chuan in a park

Tai Chi Chuan is an Ancient Path To Stress Free Living. Tai Chi means “the supreme ultimate” and Chuan means, “fist”. So Tai Chi Chuan is actually a martial art despite it’s reputation for being a gentle meditative exercise.

Power of Tai Chi Chuan

When I began practising Tai Chi in 1991 the thing that struck me about it was its power or at least the promise of its energy. What I went on to witness and discover was that there was nothing mystical or particularly esoteric about the power of tai chi it was just a case of doing this, after tai chi’s unique set of principles and simply watching what arose within me. When I practice my form (sequence of moves) it’s never precisely the same but it’s always beneficial.

When practiced as a martial art Tai Chi is both powerful and effective. But this takes plenty of practise to glimpse especially once you learn that in Tai Chi, the major focus is to utilize the energy of their mind in unison with the energy of the body to release pressure in whatever way you want.

Benefits of Tai Chi Chuan

The benefits of Tai Chi are immense and include enhanced co-ordination, circulation, posture, balance and well-being. Because tai chi is practiced slowly and with a relaxed focus the nervous system gets calmer and so do you. This meditative effect gives you a clearer view emotionally and in today’s fast and hectic world this can just be a massive resource. Actually the stress relieving characteristics are among the main reasons why people begin Tai Chi because it gives them a calm mind and real sense of physical emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

Tai Chi started quite a long time ago so it has had time to develop and evolve into what we see now. This slow process of change that has occurred to tai chi over the centuries is reflected in how tai chi is practiced i.e. in a meditative pace with no hurry to finish it is complicated and engrossing movements. The softness and flow of tai chi allow you to relax (you just can not help it!) But it’s a rejuvenating kind of comfort. At the conclusion of a Tai Chi course folks are buzzing with Qi (life-force), since the practice boosts your energy to flow and tension and blockages just appear to dissolve away. It all sounds very blissful and beautiful, which it is but you do need to put a little effort in to get the results.

It’s tough to get your head around that something so elegant and graceful can be used for self defence also, but then again there’s an old Chinese saying that’the best fighters never struggle’ i.e. if you’ve got no enemies internally or externally then there isn’t any need for conflict. The philosophy behind Tai Chi (Taoism) is really useful too and includes the concept that when you fight force with force any conflict will get worse. It educates yielding and flexibility to overcome any circumstance. This can diffuse a situation leaving room for discussion and dialogue. When you take something like that in your everyday life then you’ve gained a distinct advantage. Yielding promotes listening and when you listen you obtain more information and it’s easier to see where somebody is coming from. In the office such a strategy would create less stress for everybody!

Impacts on brain frequency

Part of the physiological aspect of tai chi contains the impact it has on our mind, our circulatory system and our joints. Recent neurological research has found that tai chi practice encourages the mind to perform more efficiently. This is partly because of the brain getting more oxygenated blood (as the breathing technique in tai chi improves lung capacity and elasticity) but also because the meditative, calming effect of tai chi changes the brains frequency from beta (active ordinary waking waves) to alpha (receptive between awake and sleep waves that are related to improved capacity to learn and recall ).

The lymphatic system is partially responsible for detoxifying the blood and is stimulated by the gentle muscle work in tai chi. The soft relaxed movements of Tai Chi massage the lymph nodes enhancing their function and boosting the immune system. The joints of the body tend to be where aches and pains first creep in so maintaining healthy joints that are active is important at any age. Because the load bearing joints of the body are stored in strong alignment throughout Tai Chi and are not abused nor heavily impacted upon, their health and function is protected whilst the blood circulation in and around the joints is increased.