Learn about the natural health benefits of Tai Chi & find an Tai Chi practitioner/clinic in Auckland, Hamilton, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin to assist you further within New Zealand.
Fact: Tai Chi Chuan translates as ‘supreme ultimate boxing’.
Founded: Chinese Taoist Master, Zhang Sanfeng, is controversially attributed with the creation of the original 13 Movements of Tai Chi Chuan.
Therapy Type: Movement
Tai chi is an ancient Chinese discipline, which incorporates movement, breathing and meditation. It originated as a martial art, developed from qigong, however it is now commonly used to aid general and wellbeing.
In this way, Tai chi is based on the same principles as other forms of traditional Chinese medicine, which maintains that good health is dependent on a healthy flow of energy, qi, throughout the body. Tai chi exercises are thought to remove blockages in the flow of energy, restoring balance and promoting healing and vitality. Tai Chi aims to reduce stress and improve flexibility and strength, through slow, controlled, graceful movements, referred to as ‘forms’ or ‘sets’. In addition a client’s circulation of vital life force, chi, or qi is supported through these series of movements, thus boosting the individuals health and welfare. The nature and basis of these movements are developed from martial arts, but it is thought that they could also be from the innate and flowing movements of birds and animals.
Yin and Yang is the principle used within the practice of Tai Chi as the foundation of Tai Chi movements are centered around opposites, such as hot and cold, light and dark, the left and right movements of Tai Chi are created to harmonize Ying and Yang. Through scientific study it has been shown that Tai Chi can be more successful in lowering blood pressure and heart rate than everyday aerobic exercise.
Tai Chi may benefit the following physical and mental conditions:
It is possible to learn Tai chi from books and videos, however most people gain more value from a Tai chi instructor and their personal feedback, either in a class setting or in a one to one therapy session. You should wear clothing that is comfortable to move around in. Tai chi can be done in shoes or bare feet.
A Tai Chi session usually begins with meditation, this is to relax the mind. To begin to encourage blood circulation some warm-up exercises are then carried out, prior to the therapist teaching you about your ‘dantain’; which is an area beneath the navel, in the lower abdomen. The therapist needs you to concentrate upon this area, as it is your center of gravity. Deep diaphragm breathing, as opposed to shallow chest breathing, is a key characteristic of tai chi. With each movement, the therapist will enable you to coordinate your breathing.
After the warm-up, your master or instructor will teach a series of gentle, fluid motions that create ‘form’ when done together. Forms reflect the natural world and have names like ‘Crane Spreads Its Wings’ and ‘Grasping the Bird's Tail’. Perfecting the art requires patience, focus and unity of mind, body and spirit. Practice is therefore essential. A Tai Chi routine can take from 10 minutes to up to an hour for the more advanced. Tai Chi can be a great way to start the day, or to release tension at the end of a busy day, whichever you choose Tai chi is a safe low-impact exercise and can be adapted according to your current physical ability. Many people have experienced the benefits of improved health, greater strength, emotional balancing and spiritual peace.
Always consult your GP prior to starting any exercise programme, this is important especially if you suffer with any serious medical condition.
Most people find Tai Chi deeply relaxing and enjoy the tension it releases throughout the body. It is also extremely safe and effective when carried out by a qualified instructor. It is wise to carry out some research and select a member of, or accredited by, an association or professional body such as The Massage Association of New Zealand (MNZ). Instructors are obligated to a code of ethics and procedure that determines the therapy is carried out in a suitable and safe environment. These regulations also guarantee a specialist who has undergone certifiable training and receives professional upskilling.
The Wellness Directory provides a ready-made referral list of certified Practitioners within your region. We fully encourage you to do some independent research by checking out individual credentials, i.e. experience, training, qualifications, relevant client feedback and so forth.
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