Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan) is an ancient Chinese martial art that is unique in its use of slow and graceful movements for fundamental training. Taijiquan is both an excellent health exercise and an effective martial arts system.
Each class includes meditation, deep relaxation, and breathing exercises. Relaxation and loosening exercises at the start of each class help the student to increase the mind-body connection and to become centered and sensitive to the energy patterns in life. Circular movements of all the joints encourage increased blood flow, thus promoting a feeling of overall well-being.
As an exercise prescription, Taijiquan has benefits through reduction of stress and reduction of tension and anxiety. Taiji is beneficial to important components of health and fitness, such as cardiopulmonary function, strength and flexibility. Moreover, the exercise intensity of Taijiquan is approximate to the ventilatory threshold, which implies that Taijiquan is aerobic in nature. Studies showed that an eight-week, low-intensity Taijiquan program was effective for reducing blood pressure.
Hospitals such as the INOVA Group are now endorsing the benefits of Taijiquan and offering classes to patients who are recovering from various illnesses.
Ancient Chinese warriors and philosophers developed the concepts of Taijiquan through intensive study of the world around them and the ebb and flow of natural and human affairs. Taiji principles describe practical approaches to solving problems in natural and human realms.
With constant focus on mind, spirit and body working as one throughout the exercises, a great healing and strengthening will begin. The mental clarity that one receives from practice is priceless. The objectives of Taiji include harmony of mind, promotion of health, and attainment of rejuvenation and longevity.
Taijiquan can be used effectively for self-defense and martial exercise. Because Taijiquan does not rely on brute strength and avoids the use of force to overcome force in its techniques, it is particularly effective for smaller and older persons. Perhaps the most important benefit of understanding and practicing Taijiquan martial art is the effect it has on raising the spirit and increasing a person's sense of efficacy.