A gentle, low impact routine, tai chi can enhance physical health and mental wellbeing by exercising both your mind and body. Regular tai chi can help improve balance, flexibility and upper body strength. Master Han Jin Song from Tai Chi Australia says that it is also good for relaxation, reducing stress and providing a social outlet to meet and interact with others.
"Tai chi is more than just light exercise because you concentrate your brain to control your breathing and movement," explains Master Han Jin Song. With origins in the ancient martial arts, tai chi also draws from traditional Chinese medicine and the concept of stimulating positive energy or "chi."
Gentle exercises are designed to balance the "yin and yang" to create harmony between the body and mind. Master Song insists that tai chi is an activity that can be enjoyed by all ages and abilities. "We have instructors who are over 70 and students aged between 8 to 95," he says proudly, “We can modify techniques so you can practice tai chi in a seated position or standing up."
Be sure to warm up your muscles before you start. This helps to get the blood flowing and your heart rate pumping.
1. Arm Stretch
Hold your arms straight out at shoulder height. Gently bend your knees.
2. Warrior Pose
Hold arms out at shoulder height. Turn face, torso and foot towards one arm. Gently bend your knee and lunge.
3. The Teapot
Hold one arm up. Place the other across your tummy. Lift up the opposite knee and hold.
Even simple poses and exercises can strengthen your body and improve your general health and well being.
If you live in Melbourne and would like to try tai chi, Tai Chi Australia runs a free session every week:
- Where: Federation Square, Melbourne
- When: Tuesday mornings
- Time: 7.30am-8.30am
For more information about these free sessions, click here.