By Judith Stuartcoale Bonner.
“JUST BREATHE!”, a popular song title, is also the mantra of Tai Chi, an ancient form of Chinese martial arts modernized for our current world. Deep, slow rhythmic breathing activates the immune system and flow of blood in the body stimulating the chi – our vital life energy. This activated flow of chi, according to Chinese medicine, runs along a multitude of energy meridians stimulating the health of bones, organs, muscles and systems in the body. Tai Chi has become a popular “prescription” for a number of illnesses and conditions.
In addition to healthful breathing, Tai Chi has earned a reputation for being Meditation-in-Motion with its slow, gentle flowing movements. This invites the busy brain to relax and move in to a calm state of mind letting go of our 10,000 worries. This reduces stress which is the cause of many health challenges. Those who experience Tai Chi on a regular basis often notice differences in their reactions to people or situations such as being calmer when cut off in traffic, feeling less irritation with family or co-workers, or realizing they are less worried. It is said, “Where the mind goes, the chi follows”. It’s very difficult to do Tai Chi if your mind is on a grocery list. Focus and concentration are necessary.
We are cautioned not to be fooled by the slowness or the gentleness of Tai Chi practice as it demands muscle strength and balance to achieve the flowing motion. Nor should we assume Tai Chi is just for seniors. The benefits, well known by seniors, are healthier hearts, lower body muscle strength which contributes to restored balance and fewer falls, osteo/arthritis relief, and cancer prevention or swifter recovery, to name a few.
The lifted spirit and renewed vigor of their parents has caught the attention of our millennial generation who is looking for peace and an antidote to stress. Google headquarters has been offering Tai Chi to its employees for the last few years.
Come join a wonderful group of Tai Chi-ers at the Jewish Community Center, or contact me for private lessons at 206-660-2150. You and your health are worth it!