Learning the Art of Tai Chi Beneficial for Women

“This article was published recently in the Maryville Daily Times”

tai-chiBy Richard Clear
Clear Silat and Street Kung Fu

A graceful exercise once used for self-defense is now helping women fight such ailments as osteoporosis and heart disease.

Tai Chi as Exercise

Tai chi is a graceful form of exercise that has existed for nearly 2,000 years. It was originally developed in China as a form of self-defense for the older Kung Fu masters who could no longer do hard martial arts and needed a method of self-protection that also would help preserve their health well into old age.

Tai chi, sometimes called Tai Chi Chuan, is a noncompetitive, self-paced system of gentle physical exercise and stretching. Tai chi works by having the practitioner perform a series of postures or movements in a slow, graceful manner designed to enhance relaxation, circulation and fuller, deeper breathing. Each posture flows into the next without pausing.

Practiced regularly, tai chi can help you reduce stress and enjoy other health benefits including reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Tai chi can help you with health problems such as arthritis, back pain, high blood pressure, migraines, MS and cancer as well as tension and stress. It is a highly developed and unique process of stress reduction techniques, slow therapeutic movement, breathing and bioenergetics that can directly benefit you whatever your age or condition.

Tai Chi Is Beneficial for Women

Tai chi is also well-documented to help with specific women’s health issues. Studies have shown that it helps increase bone density and guard against osteoporosis, a major problem for women as they tend to lose a tremendous amount of bone mass right after menopause. This provides significant benefits to lowering heart rate and blood pressure. Heart disease is the number one killer of women — a lower resting heart rate and lower blood pressure, both benefits of tai chi, tremendously help to alleviate and avoid conditions that lend themselves to heart disease.

Also, regarding stress management, tai chi is very effective at calming and centering a person so that they can focus and breathe easier while keeping up with the many tasks of womanhood and modern living.

Tai Chi for the Disabled

Many people with disabilities and ailments practice tai chi as therapy. It harmonizes the energy processes within the body and accumulates, circulates and promotes energy, leaving you feeling refreshed.

The Chinese call life-energy Chi/Qi. The Chinese character for Chi also means air or breath. Chi Kung (pronounced chee kung and often spelled Qi-Gong) means “breath work” or “energy exercise.” There are about 7,000 Qi-Gong exercises in the Chinese Medica (the Encyclopedia of Chinese Medicine). Tai Chi is a moving form of Chi Kung/Qi-Gong.

Richard Clear, of Clears Silat & Street Kung Fu, began his study of Tai Chi at a very young age after he was diagnosed with degenerative arthritis. He is now an Internationally Recognized Sigung (Master) who has studied Tai Chi and Chi Kung both in the U.S. and China and is the author of a book on Tai Chi and Chi Kung. He is a senior instructor in several martial arts, including Pentjak Silat.

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