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What are the Tai Chi Basics?

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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 16 January 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Tai chi chaun, or tai chi, is a type of meditative exercise meant to reduce stress and focus the mind while improving strength and flexibility. There are many books, videos and classes that cover how to perform tai chi moves. Learning or reviewing tai chi basics can help a novice or even an experienced practitioner retain focus when practicing this form of exercise.

One of the most important tai chi basics involves the breath. Like many meditative forms of movement, breathing in tai chi is a source of focus and relaxation, as opposed to simply a way to move air in and out of the lungs. Breathing is typically slow and done in conjunction with movements. When breathing, air should be sucked in deep into the bottom of the torso, to a spot just below the navel. Some experts recommend focusing on the breath for a minute or two before beginning other movements.

Tai chi basics also include the concept of the body as one unit. If both arms and one leg need to move to perform an exercise, all of these body parts should move at once. The upper and lower body should not be separate in movements, and practitioners are often told to move as smoothly as possible. Movements should be done in a gliding motion, never jerky or overly fast.

Other important tai chi basics include the alignment of the body. Generally, the body should be held relaxed and upright. Care should be taken to make sure that the spine is straight and the tailbone tucked under rather than sticking out behind. Proper alignment is important to anyone learning tai chi basics, as it ensures that movements will be performed correctly. Although standing with the spine totally straight may feel uncomfortable at first, this will most likely feel more natural with additional practice.

Possibly the most vital tai chi basics involve the mind, rather than the body. In tai chi, the mind leads all movement and all steps. Each movement is made deliberately, but without physical force. Mastery of the moves of tai chi is often easier for many people than a true understanding of the mental exercise involved. Remember, meditation is like any other form of exercise: endurance comes only through repeated practice sessions.

Tai chi is a wonderful low -mpact exercise for those looking to reduce stress or unable to take part in higher impact exercise regimes. Many community centers and senior centers offer classes in tai chi basics as well as courses for more advanced practitioners. In some areas, tai chi groups meet in beautiful outdoor locations, such as parks, sea cliffs, or overlooking beautiful views to help inspire practitioners.

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