It’s well-documented that exercise is great for stress relief. Getting active not only distracts you, but physically calms you down as well. Tai Chi, a Chinese martial art that has been practiced for millennia, is renowned for its meditative nature and ability to reduce stress while promoting strength, flexibility, and balance. This Monday, consider introducing yourself to Tai Chi for a stress-free week ahead!
Studies tout the benefits of Tai Chi as a way to fend off symptoms of anxiety and depression. A typical Tai Chi practice involves a sequence of slow-moving poses paired with “changes in mental focus, breathing, coordination, and relaxation.” The poses themselves are simple and low-impact, making it easy on joints and muscles and generally safe for any fitness level. Even people with certain health conditions can practice by making modifications if needed. You can always ask to observe a class before taking one to see what the movements look like.
So, what is Tai chi? A big part of it is Chinese philosophy, especially the flow of Qi, or energy, and yin and yang, which is all about balance and harmony. The movements of Tai Chi are designed to encourage the easy movement of Qi throughout the body. Many of the poses complement or correspond to each other, tapping into your balance every time you shift positions.
The key to Tai Chi as a way to reduce stress is letting your mind focus on the practice. The physical movement will help to keep you moving, but the element of mindfulness is something you can take with you throughout the day. Tai Chi provides a soothing, dynamic outlet if you need to calm your mind, move your body, and bring some balance into your daily life.
If you’re ready to give Tai Chi a try, you can search online for videos with experienced instructors who can explain the movements and methods. These movements may not be appropriate for all fitness levels, so please first check with your doctor to discuss what you might do.
This Monday, try Tai Chi to get into a meditative flow and get on your feet!