What is Qi Gong and Tai Chi?

by | Jun 1, 2013 | Mindful About Fitness | 0 comments

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Regular practice of Qi Gong and Tai Chi awakens and then enhances and unites The Three Treasures that exist inside everyone, the mind (Jing), body (Chi), and spirit (Shen). Our busy lives can interfere with the natural awareness and unity of The Three Treasures.

Qi Gong combines breathing, focused attention, and simple fixed postures to circulate the body’s internal energy (Chi) for increased health, well-being, and mental calmness. Tai Chi also promotes health, well-being, and mental calmness, and is performed as a moving form.

Tai Chi is a centuries old discipline for health, relaxation, meditation, self-defense, and self-cultivation. Tai Chi is a pathway for achieving balance between the individual and the world. Tai Chi is a walking meditation performed as a form and there is something serene and appealing about the slow movements.

A growing body of scientific research shows that Tai Chi and Qi Gong improve health and well-being in many ways that include the following.

  1. Reducing stress
  2. Increasing flexibility and endurance
  3. Increasing lower body strength
  4. Acting as an aerobic activity
  5. Improving balance
  6. Increasing breath volume
  7. Increasing immunity to viruses such as shingles
  8. Improving rheumatologic diseases such as arthritis
  9. Increasing focus and benefiting cognition
  10.  Lowering blood pressure
  11.  Preventing heart disease
  12.  Helping digestive problems
  13.  Relieving pain

Tai Chi is an internal training style that cultivates bodily inner energy (Chi) and moves it outward. Tai Chi is the opposite of western styles of training that focus on the outside of the body, such as weight lifting, karate, and running, which are incomplete in terms of Tai Chi philosophy. Tai Chi actually means “supreme ultimate fist” and many people do not know that Tai Chi first developed as a martial art over 2000 years ago and now has many applications for health and well-being.

Tai Chi emphasizes inner calm rather than strength. Unbelievable as it seems, martial artists who understand the strength of inner calmness are feared fighters. The reason is that Tai Chi teaches one to channel the inner energy outward. Attend a Master’s demonstration or see the Shaolin Monks show to see amazing skills requiring Chi cultivation and movement.

Tai Chi movements take place in circular patterns that represent yin and yang principles. Yin and yang are fundamental to Tai Chi and stand for balance in life, something hard for Westerners to achieve. The Chinese believe that life and the world occur in circular patterns, such as day and night, good fortune and bad fortune, and the rain and sunshine. Yin and yang circular patterns are inevitable and we need both for lifelong harmony. For example, while Westerners tend to get upset over any setback, calling it bad luck or blaming someone, people understanding yin and yang know that we must have the good and the bad for a balanced life. The physical world embraces the same natural principles, such as day and night. If you wait, the day turns into night and then night back into day. It is natural and the light always emerges. Trying to control the inevitable nature of yin and yang is pointless and leads to anxiety. One example of the yin and yang is the Internet. The Internet is convenient and allows one to find information quickly. But there is another side. Overuse of technology contributes to anxiety, stress, and separateness from others. Another example is when people build homes by the water. The water is beautiful and serene, but can quickly turn destructive in a storm. Convenience comes with an inconvenience. Convenience is the yang and inconvenience is the yin.

Practicing the Tai Chi form’s circular patterns stimulate the yin and yang. The hardest part of practicing Tai Chi is clearing the mind! Achieving serenity during Tai Chi practice requires focus to take the mind away from all the little things that we must do each day. Tai Chi breathing is similar to meditative breathing where the breath is deep and moves slowly through the nose all the way down into the stomach, then slowly returning through the nose. Correct breathing is essential for cultivating inner energy.

Tai Chi takes time to learn but small benefits are immediately feasible. Tai Chi facilitates a calm strength in the body through the coordination of hands, feet, head, and breathing.

Tai Chi principles have had many practical uses, such as the development of the calendar to predict lunar and solar eclipses. Acupuncture applies Tai Chi principles to healing. Tai Chi is a defense system with powerful martial applications, studied through the Chen style.

We can all benefit from creating balance and calm strength in ourselves. Four styles of Tai Chi are available, Yang, Chen, Wu, and Sun.

© 2013 Immortal Pathways Health & Wellness, LLC

For more information contact

 Sifu John Jamison, CRT  @ 727-366-3125

www.ImmortalPathways.com

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