Tai Chi, the form of relaxing exercise for mind and body was developed in ancient China, first as a form of self defense before it evolved into a way of health and wellness. I recently took out a library DVD and experienced it for the first time. Let me say, in this over-booked, over-stressed and plugged in age, it was definitely an “old-fashioned” yet modern form of exercise and relaxation I will consider doing way more often.

Tai Chi’s gentle flowing movements treat the body to a very relaxing “work out.” Even if you don’t consider yourself graceful, you may find Tai Chi makes you feel more graceful with its smooth calm rhythm and repeated moves. It is also low impact, so just about everyone can do it.

Benefits of Tai Chi include:

  • Developing strength, balance and flexibility.
  • Soothing to the mind and the body.
  • Can reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Can be done inside or outside, and with no equipment.
  • Can be added to any exercise program.

Some people have called Tai Chi a moving mediation if done without distractions and focus only on your movements and your breath. It’s easy to try because you can purchase a DVD, view videos online, or join a class at a local gym or martial arts program.

There are five main styles: the Yang, Wu, Chen, Hao and combination styles.  The Wu style is said to be better for beginners due to the taller posture that doesn’t rely on leg bending and transfer of body weight. However, any style of Tai Chi can be started by anyone with no experience and can be learned easily with practice.

The inner sense of peace and calm that come from after a Tai Chi session is what most people love the most. There’s no set amount of Tai Chi that is for everyone but many people do enjoy 2 or 3 times a week for a minimum of 30-60 minutes. I found I was feeling quite tranquil after just 15 minutes and didn’t make it through a full 30, but I’ll keep trying.

Practicing Tai Chi regularly can increase your balance, your flexibility and range of motion in joints and of course calm a stressed mind. Adding this gentle form of exercise is certainly worth a try to see if you reap all the benefits and feel a new sense of calm and serenity!