Tai Chi is a form of Chinese martial art and the martial expression of Qi Gong (energy cultivation). The practice of utilizing deep breathing techniques with methodical, flowing movements that cultivate greater physical stability and balance.
Establishing these breathing techniques with movements enhances health and sense of well-being. Developed by martial artists who had been to war, Tai Chi is also a way for practitioners to balance their intense emotions and give a positive direction to their passion.
Scientifically, research has shown that the practices of Tai Chi and Qi Gong improve overall health by relieving overall tension, stimulating growth in bone density, increase blood oxygen content, improvement of immune system functions, and a greater sense of balance that leads to fewer injuries due to tripping and falling.
Mindful practices such as Tai Chi, Yoga, and Meditation have been shown to have positive effects with populations suffering from ADD, ADHD, Dyslexia, and PTSD.
A selection of research papers can be found by crucial research institutions such as the Veterans Yoga Project (Yoga), the National Institute of Health (NCBI) (Tai Chi), and the research department at Pennsylvania State University, Behavioral Modification (Meditation).
Philosophy in Action
Philosophically, Tai Chi creates greater balance within the practitioner so that they can be a better conduit between “heaven” and “earth”. In this way Tai Chi and Qi Gong train people to become a more fully realized expression of self. A greater existence who is awake to the movements of nature and a more functional human being.
Air = Breath
|Water = Blood & Lymph||Earth = the whole Body||Metal = Organs||Ether = Spirit|
“As the Earth exist, we exist.”
The Earth will use these elemental systems to heal (from pollution, overall damage, destruction, effects of war, fires, etc.). We use similar systems in our body to heal (from viruses, disease, general illness, fevers, etc).
- Air allows us to breathe and permits the heart to do its job; as the wind blows and permits the weather to do its job. When we take deep breaths, we increase all functions of the body.
- Water flushes out toxins from the blood and lymph system; as rain flushes out debris that blocks up rivers and streams and knocks pollutants out of the air.
- The body moves to get circulation to flow and enhance regeneration; as volcanoes move the earth and lava flow to makes new land.
- Organs deep in the body are various and have different functions; as metals are deep within the earth and have various functions.
- Ether is effortless, it fluctuates, effective, is dynamic and powerful; as the spirit has similar characteristics.
The Earth is an example that the elements are strong individually, but are more powerful when they work together. The surface of the Earth teams with life, despite the broiling furnace within. Tai Chi emulates this concept and connects with the elements within ourselves so that we too can thrive.
Just as the Earth can deal with challenges of man’s destructive habits and behaviors, through Tai Chi we learn and can deal with our challenges, destructive habits, and behaviors.
On the cellular level, we are in a constant state of being born, living and dying. Just as the Earth is constantly breaking down and regenerates with every season. We are connected to the Earth on a profound level. Tai Chi and Qi Gong teach us this.