Tai Chi

Overview

What Is Tai Chi?

Tai Chi (pronounced "tie jee") is considered both a martial art and a health art in that its practice helps you attain a greater sense of resiliency and self-empowerment, both physically and emotionally. Literally translated as the "Supreme Ultimate," Tai Chi recognizes the supreme potential (Tai) we're all born with — to be able to overcome the ultimate challenges (Chi) we face in life.

Often performed very slowly and gracefully — like the flowing water of a river meandering through a forest — the methodical movements of each Tai Chi form heighten your awareness of how you feel both physically and emotionally as you execute a variety of precision martial arts techniques such as punching, blocking and kicking.

Tai Chi's intense precision also provides an aerobic workout equivalent to a brisk walk — strengthening the body as it focuses the mind.

Why Practice Tai Chi?

Benefits of Tai Chi

Studies show that Tai Chi can improve leg strength, flexibility and range of motion and reduce falls in seniors by up to 45 percent. In addition to these evidence-based benefits, the practice of Tai Chi provides such health advantages as:

  • Building bone strength
  • Increasing joint stability
  • Improving cardiovascular health
  • Boosting immunity
  • Enhancing emotional well-being

Tai Chi can also help improve the balance of people with neurological problems such as Parkinson's disease. All of which makes the practice of this ancient Chinese art a part of Aurora's holistic approach to integrative medicine.

Principles of Tai Chi

Originally created as a fighting art, Tai Chi and the principles behind its practice also support you in achieving your personal goals no matter how emotionally and physically challenging.

The four simple yet profoundly powerful principles of Tai Chi are:

  1. Properly position your body for the situation you’re faced with — form facilitates function. Think of this as a martial artist’s ready position no matter what position you need to assume.
  2. Use deep breathing to counteract the “fight or flight response” and facilitate a more “relaxed and ready” state of being necessary to face and embrace the challenge at hand.
  3. Relax the muscles you don’t need when you assume a more properly positioned body for the activity you’re engaged in. Your newfound relaxed-ready state facilitates your ability to use the relaxed-flexibility of your extremities to execute any technique with greater efficiency and power.
  4. Stay focused on the present moment with your properly positioned body, deep breathing and a relaxed state of readiness. This is the most important principle. Don’t let negative self-talk dissuade you from your intended goal or increase your emotional stress/physical tension. Within the present moment, practice acceptance of the challenge, gratitude for the opportunity to overcome the challenge and you’ll be able to realize your supreme potential.

The good news is you don’t have to learn an entire Tai Chi form to learn the basic principles of practice. But learning a Tai Chi form is recommended as it allows you to experience such benefits as strengthening the body, improving joint stability, improving balance and enhancing mindfulness.

What to Expect

Aurora offers instruction in the practice of Tai Chi exercises through a course called “Tai Chi Fundamentals.” The course trains participants in the fundamental movements of Tai Chi and Qigong and is open to the public.  

Cost for the eight-week class is $60.00.

To enroll in this course or another Tai Chi class, visit the Aurora Health Care Classes & Events page and search for "Tai Chi."

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