My dear Yoga enthusiasts, namaste. I want to briefly talk about my newly discovered attraction to Tai Chi.
Tai Chi has been practiced for centuries. But until recently, I had never studied it, even though I had been curious about it for some time. I was very interested to see if it shared any of the same benefits as Hatha Yoga, which I’ve practiced and taught for many years.
Tai Chi and Hatha Yoga
I’m thrilled to have finally ventured into this practice that up until a couple of months ago seemed so mysterious to me. I started with a beginner’s Tai Chi class and immediately felt its positive impact and parallels to Hatha Yoga.
Even though Tai Chi was conceived of originally as a martial art and used for defense training, the kind of Tai Chi commonly practiced today focuses on its heath benefits and achieving greater longevity. It is practiced with slow and controlled movements.
As in Yoga, with Tai Chi there is a calming of the mind, an increase in flexibility and a strengthening of the body, as well as helping one to achieve conscious awareness of the present moment.
I experienced this to be the case even after my first session. In all of these respects, I found it to be a discipline very similar to Hatha Yoga. Realizing this is all it took for me to get hooked. I am finding myself wanting to practice each day.
I choose to practice in the early morning. When I do, I feel that I am able to carry more clarity and focus throughout the day. I am also more energized.
Where to begin
Where, with whom, and how…the questions begin. What finally nudged me is that I happen to see Tai Chi practice on a TV health and exercise program. That led me to do a quick internet search to see if there were any online videos with the same instructor. I looked for Tai Chi with Dr. Lam.
Sure enough I found some free online videos for beginners. Here is the actual free online video with which I started.
It is such a gentle and effective practice, and it’s easy to follow along with. Dr. Lam does have DVDs with more advanced classes, but I will stick with the beginners until I find I have the set in my mind.
He actually advises as such, and emphasizes to not be anxious about rushing into what lies ahead. First be set with the forms and the foundations learned in the beginner’s lessons.
Tai Chi is for everyone
The fact that there is no age limit and it can be practiced by people of any physical ability is what I found amazing. But that is also true of Hatha Yoga. You will have to see for yourself and I know you will want to continue practicing Tai Chi soon after trying it the first time.
Perhaps you will discover Tai Chi in your own time and space. Or perhaps it will find you like it found me! Either way, when you feel you are ready, I highly recommend giving Tai Chi a try. I feel stronger and a better sense of balance already and I have only been practicing it for two months!
But don’t forget your Yoga, and be sure to practice that as well. You’ll discover, as did I, that yoga and Tai Chi actually complement one another.
Peace and namaste.