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. Practice Tai Chi, not in order to learn it, but in order to gain the benefits from it:
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.
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.
Spirit: Tai Chi improves self awareness. It helps us to gain balance in our live, 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.
To gain the benefits from Tai Chi we need to use it. Tai Chi is a tool and it becomes more effective with use. In China Tai Chi is a daily exercise and we will gain the most if we use it every day. Try to set aside a small amount of time each day. As you learn more you will find you need more time, but you will benefit from only a few minute practice each day. It is better to do something rather than nothing. There is no set amount of time to practice and it is important not worry if you can’t find time each day or even if you can’t practice at all. One of the benefits of Tai Chi is that it helps us to deal with stress, so we don’t add to stress by worrying about what we can’t do. Also avoid setting specific targets and having expectations. Instead practice one day at a time, focus on your overall objectives and enjoy the feeling of wellbeing. Let the benefits unfold in their own time.
If you can’t remember a movement, it is better to try to do it than to do nothing. If you practice, you will find that the following week it will be easier to correct and adjust.
There is no best time to practice. Morning practice helps to prepare for the day ahead, while evening practice helps us relax after a busy day. Find a time that suits you.
We all learn at different paces, depending on experience, fitness, how much time we have etc. Tai Chi is about personal growth, nobody else’s. Try not to be competitive, work at your own pace. There is no pressure to do anything other than the pressure you put on yourself.
Most of all try to enjoy your practice. See it as time for you and value it. If possible find, or create, some inspiring, relaxing or peaceful place to practice in.
“Perfection, is the best that you can do, today.”