Tai Chi is a practice originating from Chinese martial arts and Traditional Chinese Medicine. It involves a series of slow, meditative body movements that were originally designed for self-defense and to promote inner peace and calm.
Yang, wu, and tai chi chih are three of the most popular styles of tai chi. The yang style includes 24 movements in its simple form (108 movements in the traditional form). It is demanding because you must keep your stance wide and your knees bent most of the time. The wu style includes 24 – 36 movements in its shorter form (100 movements in the traditional). This practice is gentler because it uses a narrow, higher stance where the knees are not bent as much as the yang style. The tai chi chih style has 20 movements and uses a higher stance with much less transfer of weight from one leg to the other than the other two. Because the wu style uses a high, narrow stance, it may be easier to do, ideal for those wishing to improve balance, and is perfect for those with bleeding disorders.
Tai chi can increase flexibility, strengthen muscles and tendons, aid in the treatment of heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, digestive disorders, skin diseases, depression, cancer, and many other illnesses. Research has also shown that tai chi helps to improve balance and fall prevention. Because tai chi movements are slow and deliberate with shifts of body weight from one leg to the other in coordination with upper body movements (sometimes with one leg in the air), it challenges balance. This technique improves balance and reduce fall frequency which is key for those that have bleeding disorders.
Other benefits include:
- Movements are low-impact and gentle and put minimal stress on your muscles and joints.
- The risk of injury is very low.
- You can do it anywhere, anytime.
- It requires very little space and no special clothing or equipment.
- You do it at your own pace.
- It is non-competitive.
- There are lots of movements to keep you interested, and as you become more accomplished you can add those to your routine.