Welcome to the Order of the Sacred Star! This Pagan/Wiccan group, based in Winnipeg, Canada, is committed to teaching the Craft to all those who wish to learn. Our goal is to provide a complete and fulfulling learning experience. Our public classes are offered through the Winnipeg Pagan Teaching Circle.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Tai Chi: The Benefits and Exercises of Tai Chi

Tai Chi has been described as many things. Some call it the ultimate martial art, claiming it is a powerful fighting form. Others say it is an exercise purely for health. Some refer to it as ‘meditation in motion,’ while others claim it is the physical manifestation of the Tao.

Some people insist that it is only a series of breathing exercises, meant to clear the mind. There are those who claim that Tai Chi is the ultimate route to spiritual enlightenment, and yet others say that it is only a mild way of keeping fit.

The Art of Tai Chi and Its Effects

Tai Chi is widely regarded as an amazing art that affects practitioners on many levels. It certainly is a physical exercise, designed to tone and strengthen the body while simultaneously increasing flexibility. It permits the body’s life force or ‘chi’ to flow freely throughout the body, thereby making it a wonderful method of maintaining health and vitality.

On a more spiritual level, it promotes the calmness of the mind and the balance of emotion. If you allow it to, Tai Chi can even become a spiritual guide, regardless of your religious belief system. It teaches you to use your own internal energies to affect both yourself and the world around you.

Despite all of these benefits, there is something even more powerful about it – anyone can do it. You do not have to have any previous experience in any type of physical activity. You do not even have to be physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually healthy. All you need is a desire to be truly healthy, and a firm belief that Tai Chi can work. Not only must you believe that it can work, but you must believe that it can work for you.

How to Learn Tai Chi

Tai Chi cannot really be learned from a book or video. Books and videos are wonderful resources, but they are not teachers. To effectively learn Tai Chi, you do need the right teacher.

How do you go about finding the right teacher? This question is not one that is readily answered. There are many decent teachers available in most cities, though make sure you check out their credentials. There are inevitably those who claim to be teachers when they’re obviously not. One class does not turn someone into a teacher.

Ask a potential instructor if you can sit in on a few classes before committing. Most decent teachers will allow this. Speak to some of the other students, ask their opinion of the training they have received. Also, it is better if you find an instructor who specializes in Tai Chi.

What Might You Learn Through Tai Chi?

Each instructor teaches Tai Chi with just a little variation. This is inevitable. Some teachers are more inclined to teach the meditative aspects of Tai Chi, others will focus on its strengths as a fighting art. However, at the beginning, there are some basics that you can probably expect. These might include:
  • Warm-up exercises
  • Breathing techniques
  • Chi Kung
  • Tai Chi stances
  • Meditation
  • Extension
  • Tai Chi sort form
  • Pushing hands exercises
Through studying Tai Chi with a qualified instructor and charting your progress, you should be able to thoroughly understand at least the basics of what Tai Chi is and how to perform both the short form and various other techniques. If these techniques are practiced regularly and with dedication, they will guide practitioners to a deepened awareness of self, while encouraging the development of personal creativity.

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