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What is Tai-Chi?

What do you do for yourself when you feel no one cares?  Of course, this is a valid feeling for you, but in all actuality is probably not true.  There is always someone to reach out to, to talk to, and to get feedback from; even if that means you decide to seek out therapy from companies like BetterHelp.  There are also things that you can do for yourself to feel more grounded and to be able to work through your feelings of “no one cares.”  Tai chi is a practice that can help you work through some of those feelings.

TAI CHI CHUAN

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Tai Chi, also known as tai chi chuan, is “an ancient Chinese discipline of meditative movements practiced as a system of exercises.” The actual literal translation is “Supreme Ultimate Boxing” and loosely translates into “Supreme Ultimate Exercise or Skill”.  For the uses of this post, the definition of using exercise or skill fits the best.  At first, it was created as a fighting skill. But over the years, it has changed and morphed into a calming, meditative form of exercise.

Tai Chi includes a sequence of movements executed in a slow, attentive way accompanied by concentrated breathing.  Each movement flows into the next smoothly without hesitation so that the body is in continuous motion.  It is extremely low impact and is by and large safe for all ages and fitness levels.

“In addition to therapy are other modalities that support healing and growth. Some of these holistic wellness tools include exercise, mindfulness, tai chi and yoga. I also find authenticity and humor essential for healing and use both liberally.” – Matthew Snyder, PsyD

Tai Chi can be done anywhere, inside or outside, and doesn’t need any equipment.  It is often called meditation in motion.  If you already meditate, this practice will come very easy to you.

HEALTH BENEFITS

tai chi

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The benefits of tai chi include lessened stress, anxiety and depression, improved mood, improved lung capacity, increased energy, better flexibility, balance and agility, and increased muscle strength.  It may also improve sleep quality, improve the functioning of the immune system, help decrease blood pressure, and help with joint pain.

For Chris Walling, PsyD, “Breathwork and “moving meditations,” such as qigong, yoga, and tai chi, can help to engage the vagus nerve and ease bodily symptoms of trauma, such as muscle pain and headache. Somatic psychology draws from ancient mind-body practices as well as ongoing research in psychology, biology, and the neurosciences. With the support of new insights into the intimate and profoundly powerful connections between the body and brain, the field of somatic psychotherapy continues to grow, creating more opportunities to help the body heal itself from trauma—one step at a time.”

Tai Chi has a calm, soothing effect on the person who does the practice so it reduces stress and will help with those feelings of “no one cares”.  You can do Tai Chi with an organized group, so right there you’ll have people who care about you and will support you in your Tai Chi journey.

HOW TO FIND TAI CHI GROUPS/CLASSES

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Although you may have never heard of Tai Chi or have heard a bit about it, the Internet is full of classes in your area.  Classes may be offered by the YMCA, local gyms and exercise studios, martial arts studios, and acupuncture centers to name a few.  There are so many free videos on Youtube that you can watch and follow.  Sometimes, it’s good to start with these online classes so that when you go to an organized class, you feel more comfortable.

One of the great things about Tai Chi is the classes may be covered by a fitness benefit on your health insurance.  Many health insurance companies offer reimbursement for gym or exercise memberships.  Consult your health insurance company to see if that is an option.  Also, many places may offer sliding scales for payment…just ask.

FINDING SUPPORT

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Sometimes, when you are in the midst of feeling alone or depressed, it may be hard to reach out to other for support.  Making that decision to seek help is the first step in feeling better and living a life of happiness.  Many organized groups love welcoming new people because they have a passion for what they do and they want to spread it to others.  If Tai Chi resonates with you, be sure to find a group near you that can assist you. They will be more than happy to share their passion.

“Tai Chi does much more than create a relaxed state of body and mind – a growing body of research supports that its combination of gentle and adaptable exercise, breath awareness, and focus offers a host of benefits for improved mental and physical health. Tai Chi can help reduce stress and anxiety, alleviate depression, curb our cravings, and alter our perception of pain.” – Elizabeth Nyang, LCPC

 

 

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