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Tai Chi
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What is Tai Chi ? 
Tai Chi is a slow, gentle, flowing movement, which is coordinated through the whole body. It follows a sequence of movements, usually referred to as the form. Tai Chi is an holistic practice in that it does not just exercise the body, but the mind as well. It also allows you to become more aware of your spiritual self, that powerful inner being.

The words Tai Chi are usually translated as “supreme ultimate” or “great universal”, which, although enigmatic, implies that the nature of Tai Chi is to connect you to the power of the universe. The Chinese recognise an energy which flows through all living things, which they call Chi. In Tai Chi, we develop and strengthen our awareness of Chi and our connection to this life force.

Tai Chi comes from a different cultural background and is not an exercise program as we know it in the West. Firstly it is an holistic exercise, working with mind, body and spirit. Secondly it is Chinese in origin and is based on Oriental philosophy, of health and balance. So we apply a different way of working with Tai Chi than in other exercises.

Stay Relaxed. Firstly we try to stay relaxed throughout the movement, with limited tension in the body. All the joints should be open and unlocked. Chi will flow more freely through open joints and relaxed muscles.

Stay Focussed. The movement is only one part of Tai Chi. It is more about training the mind as it is about training the body. Tai Chi becomes a moving meditation, so the positive benefits of meditation in stress management are accrued.

The Benefits of Tai Chi or What has Tai Chi ever done for us
Origins of Tai Chi
 
Practice of Tai Chi 
Experience of Tai Chi  
Yin and Yang
 
Three Treasures 
Experiencing the Three Treasures 
What is Chi? 
What are Chakras?  
Tai Chi Preparation
Tai Chi Mind 
The Tai Chi Breath 
Tai Chi Routine and Elements of Practice 
Qualities Within the Form 
Levels of Tai Chi  

To learn more about Tai Ch and Chi Kung the following books are recommended - Tai Chi Reading List

Tai Chi Principles
Tai Chi, the Great Universal, is an holistic practice, working on mind, body and spirit.  Tai Chi movement reflects where you are in your life, your openness and your blockages. As you change so will your Tai Chi form. The opposite is also true, as you develop your Tai Chi form, you can bring the learning into your life.

The 8 principles of Tai Chi help us to develop the Tai Chi movement, but they can also be applied back into our lives.

The 8 Principles of Tai Chi 
Principle 1 - Every Movement Comes From The Centre 
Principle 2 - Everything is Curved - Nothing is Straight 
Principle 3 - Everything Changes, Nothing stays the Same 
Principle 4 - We Need Space to Grow 
Principle 5 - Strength and Suppleness, Like a Tree 
Principle 6 - We Live in a world of Illusion 
Principle 7 - In Stillness we Seek Movement 
Principle 8 - Maintain Your Thread to Heaven

 The Benefits of Tai Chi

Tai Chi works at many levels. It provides gentle physical exercise, improving coordination, balance and physical strength. It improves the body’s ability to heal itself, by releasing blocked energy and creating a state of balance. It helps us to slow down, to become more aware and present, so that we can deal better with the stresses of modern living. It improves our vitality, energising the body and mind. It helps us to find inner stillness, increasing the peace and tranquility in our life.

Body: Tai Chi is very gentle exercise which improves suppleness, exercises all muscles and joints, improves balance, increases coordination, and develops energy and vitality. On a deeper level it works with the glandular and nervous systems to bring the body into balance. It is a healing exercise which helps people with heart conditions, arthritis, high blood pressure and many others.

Mind: Tai Chi works with the mind to bring increased focus, concentration and mental alertness. It helps us to still the mind and find greater peace and quiet internally. It helps us to become more aware of our thoughts and their impact. It is used by many people as a way of learning to relax and to deal with stressful situations.

Spirit: Tai Chi improves self awareness. It helps us to gain balance in our lives, we become more connected and in touch with our surroundings. We gain confidence and become more open and have a greater sense of who we are.