Discover These Benefits of Tai Chi Chuan - Start Learning Today

What are the benefits of Tai Chi Chuan? My goodness where do I start? Because the Tai Chi benefits in terms of health and mental wellbeing are broad in scope and all encompassing in nature.

OK well let's start at the start and focus just on the health benefits of Tai Chi for a moment, and to be honest, that's why most folks first get interested in Tai Chi ... they want something that will benefit their health in a way that will carry them into their elder years.

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Over on the What is Tai Chi Chuan? page, I outlined how Tai Chi is a choreographed sequence of movements characterized by its emphasis on relaxation, slowness, coordination, and mindfulness. Right there you should start getting the picture of the benefits of Tai Chi.

But let's go into a few more details.

There are four basic things that I focus on when I first start teaching Tai Chi to a new student:

  1. Foundation strength,
  2. Relaxation and looseness,
  3. Coordination,
  4. Breathing.
Tai Chi Chuan provides an astoundingly effective “antidote” to the artifice of the modern world by re-harmonizing the mind-body unity and re-attuning us with nature. And in doing so, Tai Chi helps us recapture some of the natural vitality of youth.

Foundational strength is about making sure that you are standing on your feet properly (i.e. weight into the center of the feet with your stance proportioned correctly) with the ability to sink down into the low stances of Tai Chi. This means that you have to get the muscles in your legs, through into and including the hips and waist, a lot stronger.

Benefits:
Greater stability,
Boosted metabolism (i.e. better muscle size/tone),
Improved mobility,
Improved bone density,
Less chance of falls.

Relaxed looseness, referred to as Song in Mandarin, is one of the most important and well known characteristics of Tai Chi. Most people are laden down by a lifetime's worth of stress and poor postural habits. The result is that too many of our muscles are almost permanently tensed up, especially in the upper back, shoulders, and neck areas. Tai Chi is about letting go of that unnecessary muscle tension and use only enough "structural tension" to maintain the Tai Chi postures. Meaning that we learn to become aware of our bodies so much that we can learn to engage only what is required to fulfill the movement at hand, everything else is completely relaxed.

Benefits:
Reduced stress,
Improved sleep,
Lower blood pressure
Less chance of heart disease,
Enhanced immunity with less chance of illness,
Improved flexibility and movement range in joints.

It is quite shocking sometimes to see how uncoordinated people get as they get older. The saying "use it or loose it" is strikingly obvious as we mature. The sophisticated nature of Tai Chi postures and Tai Chi movements demands that you develop an advanced level of coordination. The ability to link the body together and be consciously aware of how parts of your body move as an integrated whole is part and parcel of learning Tai Chi.

Benefits:
Better balance,
Improved brain function,
Less chance of falls,
Better mobility.

Now if this all wasn't enough benefits to get you motivated to start learning Tai Chi today then you have to look at all the benefits of Tai Chi breathing. Most people only use a fraction of their lung capacity when they breathe, predominantly they breathe only into the upper chest. With Tai Chi breathing we deliberately engaged the diaphragm trying to extend it into the lower abdomen (thus it is commonly called "abdominal breathing"). We then learn how to coordinate this deep breathing with our movements.

Benefits:
Improved cardio fitness,
Enhanced circulation,
Greater detoxification,
Better oxygenation.

These are just the basic health benefits of Tai Chi. Isn't it any wonder why Tai Chi is fast growing in popularity across the world!

The further you train in Tai Chi the more you are encouraged to use more mindful awareness as you practice, what is traditionally called Yi or intent. This means you quiet the mind down and only focus on your breathing, your movement, and the intent of the movement. This is where Tai Chi becomes what's referred to as a "moving meditation" and it's where you start getting benefits like improved mental clarity and awareness.

Furthermore, the simple act of having to become coordinated in the body likewise brings our mind together. The Tai Chi view of an individual is of mind body as one, thus the state of the body is linked to the state of the mind and vice versa.

So, as we find wholeness in the body, we discover wholeness in the mind.

There is also benefit to mental states by the intent of attuning to natural rhythms. The Taoist view is that when our mind becomes separated from nature all manner of mental and emotional aberrations occur, which can then go on to cause sickness and ill-health.

Through the naturalness of Tai Chi postures, Tai Chi movement and Tai Chi breathing, our mental structures and processes are “massaged” back into natural states … what Lao Tzu in the Tao Te Ching has referred to as Tzu Jan (Ziran in pinyin).

Then also on a spiritual level, and linking back to the Taoist roots of Tai Chi, we have the goal of becoming an Integral Being. Taoism doesn’t necessarily have aspirations of “going somewhere else” in terms of a “Heaven”, or wanting to be anything other than you truly are ... it is much more about becoming whole and complete in each now moment.

The bare truth is that, through socialization, most of us have become deconditioned away from our natural state of being. By forming our mind to suit the artifice of modern living we become disjointed in our thought-patterns.

Tai Chi Chuan provides an astoundingly effective “antidote” to the artifice of the modern world by re-harmonizing the mind-body unity and re-attuning us with nature. And in doing so, Tai Chi helps us recapture some of the natural vitality of youth.

And this is a key point, when we have achieved the Taoist ideal of being Tzu Jan or “self-so”, there is no way we can separate the wholesomeness of the being. We can’t say, “Well there’s the mind, and there’s the body, and there’s our emotions over there in that corner.” Everything is together at the same time, in unity.

So in answering the question,"What are the benefits of Tai Chi Chuan?" yes we can break the benefits down into Tai Chi for physical health and Tai Chi for peace of mind etc. However, the ultimate benefit of learning and practicing Tai Chi Chuan is to simply create of oneself a healthy, harmonious, and whole being.

Do you want to get all the benefits of Tai Chi? Go now to the Learn Tai Chi Online page.

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How has Tai Chi Chuan benefited you the most?

Tai Chi has so many great benefits. How has Tai Chi Chuan benefited you or improved your life the most?

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