Q: What is Tai Chi:
Tai Chi is an ancient martial art combining slow physical movements, inner relaxation and attention to flow. The practice originated in feudal China many centuries ago. Rooted in a philosophy that unified mind, body, and spirit, the system developed into the many styles we see today. All Styles are united in a primary principle of natural, effective and efficient movement; half the effort, twice the result.
Tai Chi is considered to be of great physical benefit. Practising it maintains good health as it provides an all over body workout, strengthening muscles, tendons and bones and increasing mobility of joints. Blood pressure and heartbeat are regulated, stress is reduced and the practitioner gains an overall feeling of well-being.
Two hours of Tai Chi per week over time leads to improvements in mood, and quality of life among people with chronic heart failure, according to a new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine (April 25). Tai Chi is a meditative exercise that has proved helpful in patients with various health conditions, ranging from heart disease to arthritis, cognitive decline, depression, osteoporosis and menopause, among others.
Q: What happens in a Tai Chi class?
Each class begins with a gentle warm up to relax and focus the mind and prepare our bodies. After this we undertake a short set of joint mobilisation, strengthening and lengthening exercises. Classes last 1 hour.
We always practise the fundamental principles of Tai Chi and Qi Gong: finding the centre, relaxing, rooting, spiralling, stepping and weight shift transitions. Everything learnt is built upon these important basics.
After the foundation exercises, we incorporate these into a short movement sequence, which is built upon class by class. There are lots of demonstrations and repetitions to help you learn. Our basic formula is: Relax, Move, Repeat, Relax, Enjoy.
Q: I have never practised any martial arts or meditation before. Are the classes suitable for me?
Our classes are aimed at beginners and improvers. You do not need an understanding of Chinese martial arts or Chinese medicine to understand and benefit from these classes. Things are explained as we go along and you are welcome to ask questions at any time.
Q: What should I wear/bring? Do I need a uniform?
There is no need for a uniform at any of our classes. The most important thing is to wear flat shoes and loose comfortable clothing. Some practitioners like to wear a Tai Chi suit and you are welcome to do so if you wish. Where practicable we supply tea, but please also bring your own bottle of water.
Q: What age group are the classes for / who attends?
All classes are suitable for ages 18 and over. All Tai Chi and Qigong exercises are suitable for any fitness level and, although they are done slowly, they are very strengthening when performed to the limit of one’s capability. The range and extent of each movement is up to you as only you will know your capabilities. Both male and female students are welcome in all classes.
Q: What is QiGong?
The purpose of QiGong is to increase internal energy circulation through physical exercise and relaxed awareness so as to improve overall health and fitness.
It has been proved that regular practice of QiGong improves the respiratory system, limb strength, flexibility of the joints, and enhances balance and memory. It improves the cardiovascular function and helps to ameliorate the symptoms of such conditions as coronary artery scleroses and osteoporosis. It strengthens one’s immune system to a degree, delays the ageing process, and can also improvs one’s mental health.