Sunday, December 18, 2011

Why Tai Chi Is Gaining Popularity As An Alternative To Yoga, And 9 Of Its Unique Characteristics

Tai chi chuan (taijiquan) is a form of martial art discipline that is rooted into thousands of years of Chinese culture and has been used by the Chinese for decades to provide relief for a variety of ailments. In a very basic practice of the art, it aims to harmonize the body and the mind. An expert tai chi chuan practitioner is able to channel his inner "chi," or "qi energy," through different parts of his body according to his will. It allows the practitioner to have better energy levels, a strong immune system and physical stamina.

This Chinese practice, like yoga, has gained tremendous popularity across the globe and is now considered a viable alternative to standard medical treatment for a number of diseases or health issues. Some people feel that it's the same as yoga because both aim to strengthen the inner development of a person and his or her health, and that in turn leaves a positive impact on the practitioner's life. While yoga grew out of the old Indian Hindu religion, tai chi chuan grew out of martial arts discipline and the Taoist philosophy (not religion) of China.

Physical yoga can require very stretched poses, which are quite static, unlike tai chi, which is done standing and moving. Tai chi's postures can be easily stretched or condensed to accommodate a wide range of physical motions. Both exercises are time tested and both can help achieve desired results if practiced properly. There are a couple of attributes of tai chi that tip the balance in its favor in terms of being able to customize it easily to all body types and no special location or equipment is needed. Yet, overall, both arts provide natural alternatives for mental and physical well-being.

The following are some basic benefits of tai chi that make it so unique:

  • Anyone can do it, regardless of age or condition.
  • Offers immense benefits to people with nervous, muscular and skeletal disorders.
  • Lipid profile can be significantly lowered and atherosclerosis can be prevented.
  • Mobility problems can be solved significantly. It is now recommended by medical doctors for arthritis, joint disease, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia
  • No strict diet or religious views are part of traditional tai chi chuan training.
  • No special equipment is necessary.
  • The form is performed while standing, so it can be done on virtually any surface in virtually any location.
  • Traditional training can be taught very vigorously to people who wish to learn it martially or to get an intensive athletic workout. Only a handful of teachers are able to teach it this way, so if this is what you want, you may have to do some searching and might have to travel far or take private lessons.
  • If it is taught with its martial roots intact, it can teach skills that make your mind and mood strong and positive so that you can easily face life's challenges.

However, traditional tai chi is quite "cerebral" and therefore may not be suitable for children or those who do not have a mature mind. Its great for introverted and highly introspective people and is definitely favored by those who like to think or who are very creative. This makes it a wonderful choice for people who would either feel uncomfortable in other physical training programs or for people who "want something more" in their search for mind/body development.

Loretta Wollering is a recognized expert and master-level instructor in the field of tai chi chuan (taijiquan). She specializes in teaching it with its ancient principles and from the traditional lineage of Master Jou Tsung Hwa. She is open-minded and accepting of all people interested in the art, no matter what their beliefs and levels of physical ability. Feel free to enjoy more information at: You can also join beginners as well as advanced enthusiasts at America's biggest and friendliest tai chi gathering - Tai Chi Gala - headed by Ms. Wollering: YES - All are welcome here.

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