Maybe the traffic was bad while running errands or there’s simply just too much to do in one day. While none of us are immune from stress in everyday life, there are ways to create an inner state of peace that’s as calm as a placid lake.  As we chronicled a few weeks ago, a popular stress relief method is meditation.  Another one of our favorites is Tai Chi which improves your state of mind and keeps you active at the same time.

What is Tai Chi?
T’ai chi ch’uan, most often shortened to Tai Chi, is a unique Chinese martial art with origins in the 1800’s. It is also known sometimes as “moving meditation.” One of the hallmarks of Tai Chi is its use of yin and yang (opposing forces of nature) as a means of increasing qi, also know as life force.  Unlike more active, competitive martial arts like Judo or Aikido, Tai Chi is more of a self-paced, internal focused exercise. Known for its flowing style, practitioners move smoothly and easily from one posture to the next. While there are many variations of this exercise, all generally focus on rhythmic movement while focusing on the breath to increase inner calm. Tai Chi is a great way to be active with your spouse or can be practiced alone or as a part of an even larger group.

The Health Benefits of Tai Chi
This gentle, meditative exercise has become much more mainstream in recent years and even the Mayo Clinic now supports it as a means of relieving stress and improving overall health. Stress relief and a sense of inner calm are two of the most often cited reasons for engaging in this type of moving meditation. Tai Chi is also known for increasing strength, flexibility and coordination, improving balance and even sleep. As it has spread to the western world, more scientific studies have begun in earnest to determine other benefits.  Although some forms of this meditative exercise are a bit more active, Tai Chi is generally gentle and low-impact enough for just about everyone. Of course, before beginning any new health program be sure to check with your doctor first.

Wishing you all the inner calm and peace you desire.