This Monday, destress with Tai Chi, a low-impact but highly effective mind-body martial art that calms while boosting heart health and flexibility.
The story goes that when a Shaolin master in ancient China watched a crane and a snake in battle, he understood how to incorporate movement with meditation, and Tai Chi – which literally means Supreme Ultimate Exercise – was born.
Tai Chi is for all fitness levels. Here are two easy beginner poses you can try for five minutes to get a feel for it. Join the movements with your breath to feel calmer, more collected, and centered.
Tai Chi Warm-Up:
- Give your mind a rest by taking your time and not rushing.
- While you do this pose, imagine you are flying like a bird.
- Stand with your feet together.
- Inhale and raise your arms at your sides like the wings of a bird, then exhale and lower your arms.
- Make sure your knees are slightly bent.
- Do the movement as long as you want. When you’re ready you can do the next movement.
- Imagine you are in water.
- Stand with your feet hip’s width apart, arms at your sides.
- Bend your knees slightly.
- As you inhale, raise your arms perpendicular in front of you, and unbend your knees.
- As you exhale, lower your arms to your the same level as your hips, and sink while you bend your knees slightly.
- Do the exercise over and over.
Studies in more than 500 trials suggest practicing Tai Chi improves flexibility, arthritis, and heart health. One of its greatest benefits may be for older people as it improves balance, which reduces falls, increases mobility, and independence. It’s also becoming trendy! To learn more, take a class from a master.