Tai chi seems deceptively easy but there is plenty to learn. As a beginner, don’t get ahead of yourself and do too much too soon. It may hamper your skill and mastery of the form. Instead, learn a little at a time, add movements each week, building on the tai chi forms you learn. Start with basic stretches like heaven and earth, ankle tapping, kicking, and side stretches. Also learn shorter forms like the simplified 24 step form and the qigong breathing techniques, building awareness of posture, tai chi, dan tian and qi.
Tai chi can be a great workout for the body and the mind, improving well-being and physical health. A resistance exercise that burns 120 to 180 calories every half hour, tai chi can improve your balance, muscle strength, and flexibility. It also reduces falls and is especially beneficial for anyone with joint stiffness or impaired function due to conditions like arthritis, spondylitis, scleroderma, or fibromyalgia. A great stress buster, tai chi can help you sleep better and feel less anxious or depressed.
If you're planning to make tai chi a part of your fitness regimen, be sure to pick a reliable instructor and a style of tai chi that suits you. Beginners do well with the popular yang or sun styles. Don't assume this is an exercise best left to seniors. You can challenge yourself with movements or styles that involve kicking, punching, or leaping! You won’t need any equipment – just some comfortable clothes and good thin-soled shoes. You could even go barefoot if you prefer. Get the all-clear from your doctor if you have any medical issues and you’re good to go!
Yoga and tai chi might seem alike. Both are Eastern practices designed to calm the mind and body, with focus, meditative concentration, and exercises at their core. And while learning either will equip you to fight the stress and pressures of a busy life, there are some differences worth understanding before you decide which one is for you.
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