Attenuation of Age Decline
Considerable published research in science journals now reveals that tai chi chuan improves overall physiological functioning and has been found to attenuate the age decline.
Meditation In Movement
Mindfulness practice normally involves following the sensations of breathing, noticing when the mind wanders off, noticing without analyzing where it went, and then immediately, nonjudgmentally, returning your attention to the object of focus—the breathing sensations. Although formal sitting meditation is the primary way of practicing mindfulness, it is far from being the only way. Tai chi is often viewed as a form of meditation in movement.
Benefits of Daily Practice
- Reduces mental and physiological stress
- Increases psychological and physical resilience
- Improves wellbeing
If you have seen tai chi practiced, you probably think of it as nothing more than a choreographed set of slow motion exercise, which is how most people practice it. Yet, for those lucky enough to learn it with the energy-building intricacies, as I did from T.T. Liang and William C.C. Chen, it becomes an extraordinary form of attentional training.
Internal Energy Training
The generation of internal energy (chi) necessitates that the mind be very focused on this internal training, as opposed to just going through the motions of an external set of choreographed postures. When practiced daily with full attention to this internal energy, numerous benefits, such as enhanced awareness, mindfulness, and focus, improve all areas of life.
The reduction in mental and physical stress experienced by those who practice every day improves sleep quality, contributing to improvements in health and wellbeing.
Optimization of Psychological Flexibility
Tai chi chuan is about learning how to relax in order to optimize efficiency of movement. Especially in Western culture, we learn to carry a lot of tension in the upper body. Not only is this very unhealthy, it blocks the natural energy, resulting in the inefficient use of muscle strength. When someone untrained in tai chi is attacked, physically or verbally, instinctively, the person tenses up. This results in slowing of body and mind. A tai chi adept will remain relaxed and alert mentally and physically during a physical or verbal attack, which allows for the availability of enormous internal energy, speed, and psychological flexibility.
Through the practice of tai chi, you will learn to relax the upper body while walking and in every activity. You will also learn how to breathe diaphragmatically and to control the rate and rhythm of your breathing.
Still another benefit of tai chi chuan is that you will learn good body mechanics. This means leaning how to pull, push, lift, reach, bend over, and move without injury.
Tai chi chuan is an extraordinary form of attentional training, a wonderful adjunct to sitting meditation practice, and the daily practice goes a long way in enhancing mental and physical health.
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