I went to Tai Chi for a few classes when I was looking after my mother, but it became difficult to leave her on a regular schedule, but I did practice the moves at home to stay flexible and to help my breathing.
What is Tai Chi?
This is a non-combative martial art that combines breathing techniques with a series of slow movements often replicating the actions of birds and animals. It promotes the flow of vital energy (chi) throughout the body promoting health and calm.
It is also used to aid meditation and there is one technique that I found really demonstrates the gentle power of the art and is a great place to start to focus your mind and body.
Health Benefits of Tai Chi
There is some research into the various benefits of the technique, and certainly for those of us over 65 it has been found to reduce stress, improve posture as well as increasing muscle strength in the muscles in the legs. This may have an impact on balance, flexibility and mobility. This might also help prevent the elderly from falls and improve arthritic conditions. It is a gentle but weight bearing exercise to might also improve bone density.
Although most of the exercises are in the standing position there is also no reason why you cannot complete the arm movements and strengthen your core and shoulder muscles whilst sitting.
Kong Jing to relax and focus your mind.
- If you can sit on a mat on the floor with your legs crossed that is the most effective position. But if like me you have knee problems, sit on a straight- backed chair and cross you legs at the ankles.
- Rub your palms together rapidly to the count of 10 seconds ( there are a number of ways to time that… one one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand or one Mississippi two Mississippi etc)
- Place one palm slightly cupped above the other 15cm apart.
- Keeping your eyes closed, imagine that you have a spongy ball between your palms and gently press them together until you feel some resistance (it is weird at first as you know there is no actual ball between your palms) Do not let your hands touch.
- The feeling is best described as magnetic. If you have ever held a magnet in each hand and moved them together you will begin to feel a slight repelling sensation the closer you get. You might also experience a feeling of warmth or tingling in your fingers.
- Hold that feeling of resistance for five minutes and in subsequent sessions increase until you are holding that position for 15 minutes.
You should find that after a few sessions that you are less stressed and also that you breathing has slowed and your heartbeat dropped slightly as the body relaxes.
I would like to share one more exercise with you which you can use as a warm up before a Tai Chi class or on its own to unwind at the end of the day and boost your energy. If you do have a dry, level spot in the garden on grass, where you can stand barefoot, then that is fantastic.
N.B. It is advisable not to do Tai Chi if you are suffering from any joint injuries especially shoulder and knee.. always check with your doctor or physiotherapist first. However, once you are healed this gentle exercise might prevent further injuries.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with your knees slightly bent.
- Relax your shoulders and upper body and hold your head balanced as if someone had tied a ribbon to the hair on the crown of your head and was pulling it upwards.
- Your hands should be down by your sides, palms facing backwards and slightly apart from your body.
- Breathe naturally and allow you mind to empty.
- Shift all your weight onto your right foot and gently lift your arms up in front of you to shoulder height.
- Keep your palms facing downwards and your fingers pointing to the floor.
- Transfer all your weight to the left foot and in one easy flowing motion, lower your arms down to your sides.
- Bend your wrists to that your hands are parallel to the floor facing forwards.
- Transfer your weight to your right foot, raising your arms again to shoulder height and then transfer all your weight to the left and lower the arms again.
- Repeat this flowing motion in a rhythmic sequence until if becomes effortless and without you thinking about the process.
- Build up the repetitions until you are practicing this every day for 15 minutes.
You should find that after a week or two your muscles, particularly in the shoulders and legs are more toned and that breathing and your circulation are improved.
Here is a video with instructions in English from a Hong Kong teacher to show you the beginning moves.
Here is a directory for classes in the UK and wherever you live you should be able to find a similar directory: http://www.taoist.org/uk/locations/
And to show you that you are never too young to feel the benefits of the discipline…..so cute. Leeds Taekwondo
© Just Food for Health Sally Cronin 1998 – 2018
A little bit about me nutritionally.
A little about me from a nutritional perspective. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago. I qualified as a nutritional therapist and practiced in Ireland and the UK as well as being a consultant for radio. My first centre was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Here are my health books including a men’s health manual and my anti-aging book.
All available in Ebook from: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2
And Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6
Comprehensive guide to the body, and the major organs and the nutrients needed to be healthy 360 pages, A4: http://www.moyhill.com/html/just_food_for_health.html
Thank you for dropping in and if you have any questions fire away.. If you would like to as a private question then my email is email@example.com. I am no longer in practice and only too pleased to help in any way I can. thanks Sally