A very common sight in the parks of China and Hong Kong is people practising the graceful routines of T’ai chi. It is becoming increasingly popular in western countries as well, as a wholistic means of engendering body awareness and reducing stress and anxiety. The slow, continous movements of T’ai chi have their roots in the martial arts but the aggressive, tactical aspects of karate or kung fu were removed by Taoist monks and replaced by a greater contemplation of the flow of energy though the body and self expression. Many of the movements, of which there are more than 100, are derived from the behaviour of animals and birds and are identified by names such as ‘the birds beak’ and ‘the stalk cools its wings’. It is always recommended that T’ai chi be practised in the open air and that the movements be properly taught by an experienced instructor.
Its meditative, relaxing aspects are well understood, but T’ai chi is also beneficial for posture, breathing control and circulation. As a preventive therapy it works on the principle of balancing the yin and the yang forces in the body, calming the mind and promoting good health.
Tags: General health
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