Tai Chi is described as “poetry in motion” and is a popular pathway to the development of mindfulness. It builds the connection between body, mind and spirit.
I first encountered Tai Chi practice when, as a manager in the public service in the 1980s, I engaged a Tai Chi instructor to conduct training for myself and my staff on a weekly basis. At the time I felt extraordinarily uncoordinated but persisted with the practice in the weekly lessons, only to drop away as pressure of work took over.
In 2014 my wife and I undertook the beginners class in Taoist Tai Chi before going overseas to Europe. I think it certainly helped our fitness and presence of mind. More recently, I returned to the weekly beginners classes but was unable to maintain attendance and learn the full 108 movements owing to work commitments.
The Tai Chi classes provide social support and motivation to master the art of Tai Chi. However, I became discouraged with the classes because I could not keep up owing to my work-induced absences. However, I had really appreciated the benefits of practising Taoist Tai Chi, so I located a training video that takes you through the first 17 moves and now I attempt to use this video to practise Taoist Tai Chi on a daily basis. This video takes you through the steps very slowly with a clear explanation:
The advantage of this video is that the 17 moves take only about 4 minutes and they can be completed in sets of three or more repetitions. The creators of the video also provide a practice video for the highly recommended warm-up exercises.
As with mastery of anything, Taoist Tai Chi requires regular practice, ideally on a daily basis. The more frequently you practise, the greater are the benefits you can experience in terms of physical and mental health and the growth of mindfulness.
Tai Chi is an antidote to the business of life and work. As the Fung Loy Kok Institute of Taoism (FLK) observes:
Taoist Tai Chi® arts offer a powerful opportunity to unplug from our phones, tablets and computers, and reconnect with the world.
There are many health benefits attributed to Tai Chi. The Taoist Tai Chi Society of Australia explains the basis for these benefits as follows:
The significant degree of turning and stretching in each of the movements, combined with the adaptability of the form to suit individual needs, are just some of the factors that contribute to its focus on restoring, improving and maintaining health.
The specific health benefits they identify include:
- improved circulation
- improved balance and posture
- increased strength and flexibility
- reduced stress
- alleviation of the symptoms of illness such as arthritis, high blood pressure and migraine.
Tai Chi, like mindfulness, develops calmness, focus, concentration and clarity.