Archive for Muscles

What is Tai Chi Chuan?

If you were to walk into a room full 25 Tai Chi instructors or students and ask the question "What is Tai Chi Chuan?", you would get 25 completely different answers. This is because Tai Chi is multi-dimensional and each instructor places emphasis on different aspects of Tai Chi in their teachings. Let’s take a look at a few of the different answers that you might receive if you were to ask this question.

When translated, Tai Chi stands for the "Supreme Ultimate Force". It is a form of martial art that not only teaches how to defend oneself, but also teaches practices how to reach an inner sense of calm and peace. When practicing Tai Chi, you will find that it integrates a variety of slow, choreographed movements that are designed to simulate hand-to-hand combat. Depending on your level of expertise, some of these sequences can be as short as 16 different movements. For more experienced Tai Chi practicers, sequences can reach up to 108 movements or more.

There are several different aspects that are characteristic of all Tai Chi Chuan teachings. Here are a few:

1) Relaxation – While many forms of martial art focus on strong, hard movements, each movement performed in Tai Chi is designed to use a minimum amount of muscle activity. This makes it easier for individuals of all ages to learn, as it only places a small amount of tension on your muscles.

2) Slow movements – Tai Chi is a form of self-defense. But to those who practice Tai Chi, self-defense is not all about punching and kicking – it is about developing a self-awareness. According to Tai Chi masters, the slow movements used within the art help you to become more aware of the subtle changes within your body, allowing you to develop an "internal power".

3) Coordination – There are many different styles of Tai Chi, each of which achieve coordination in different ways. With that said, all Tai Chi Chuan styles reach the same consensus that the art form helps the body to work in harmony with itself.

4) Mindfulness – The art of Tai Chi is performed in such as way that the practicer is aware of each movement they make. The quieter your mind is, the more aware you will be. As such, Tai Chi teaches you to clear your mind and focus on what is put before you.

5) Breathing –  Breathing is "the link that ties everything together". In Tai Chi, emphasis is placed on deep and natural breathing (otherwise referred to as "abdominal breathing"). Breathing will help you to become more aware, and will help to release stress and tension, bringing your body and mind to an inner peace.

So, what exactly is “Tai Chi Chuan?” It is a combination of many things, making it difficult to sum up in one short article. If you want to learn what Tai Chi is, the best way to do so is practice it for yourself. If you live in the Los Angeles area and would like to try out Tai Chi, contact TCSociety.com today.

Why Tai Chi Classes in Southern California are the Best Exercise for Elderly

Whether we actually do it or not, we all know that exercise is a healthy part of every daily routine. There are many different ways that you can exercise by walking, bike riding, running, climbing mountains, or playing sports. Unfortunately, not all of us are young and fit enough to run a marathon each day. The good news is, you can still exercise! Tai Chi classes in Southern California are considered one of the best ways to exercise each day, without straining your limbs, joints, or muscles.

An ancient form of martial art, Tai Chi looks like a cross between a slow motion ballet and shadow boxing. It combines graceful movements and mental focus together, helping people to improve things such as strength, agility, and balance. Because Tai Chi is a slow moving form of martial art that places a minimal amount of strain on your body, it is considered the perfect exercise for the elderly who may not be able to move well as they once did.

Tai Chi Classes in Southern California hold many benefits including both spiritual and psychological advantages. And while many practitioners praise these benefits, the majority of researchers focus on the benefits that Tai Chi has for the body. According to researchers, Tai Chi is extremely beneficial to anyone, especially older adults who are relatively inactive. For the elderly, Tai Chi has been shown to help reduce falls and give frail individuals a way to exercise without straining their bodies.

There are many different styles of Tai Chi available, but if you are to train with the TCSociety, you will be learning the Yang Style of Tai Chi. This is one of the most popular forms of Tai Chi and begins with a series of controlled movements known as "forms". The best part about Tai Chi is that you can move at your own pace. When you practice Tai Chi, you are not under any pressure to learn quickly. Rather, you are encouraged to learn at your own speed.

Like any other exercise, the effects of Tai Chi classes in Southern California will not be seen overnight. Rather, it will take a few months of regular practice before you begin to see results. With that said, once the results do begin to set in, it will be the gateway to a completely new lifestyle. Tai Chi has been known to have many benefits to individuals of all ages, increasing self-esteem, improving balance, reducing stress, and opening up the avenue to a healthier lifestyle.

For older adults, Tai Chi is the ideal form of exercise. The health benefits associated with Tai Chi are many, and the forms are slow enough that they do not place an immense amount of strain on your muscles like many other martial arts do. If you are an older individual who is looking to become more active, Tai Chi may be exactly what you are looking for. Come out for Tai Chi classes in Southern California with the TCSociety and find out if Tai Chi is the right choice for you!

Warm Up Tai Chi Exercises

For many years, experts have stressed the importance of warm up exercises before engaging in a workout routine. When it comes to warm up Tai Chi exercises, the art of Tai Chi in itself acts as a warm up. The movements in Tai Chi are slow and co-ordinated, designed to put a minimum amount of stress on your muscles. But despite the fact that Tai Chi acts as it’s own warm up, we still recommend following a regular warm up routine. Here are a few warm ups that you can practice before a Tai Chi session:

Warm Up Tai Chi Exercises for energy awareness:

When it comes to warm ups, most people think about stretching and using their muscles. But in Tai Chi, a warm up is about much more than that. It is also about increasing your awareness. Here are some exercises that can help you to do just that:

1) Breathing – This is one of the simplest exercises of them all. Over time, there are factors in our life (stress, poor posture, etc) that cause us to develop poor breathing habits. Breathing exercises can teach you how to breath longer and smoother, releasing stresses and tensions as you do so.

2) Energy Ball – This exercise helps you to develop your awareness of qi. To perform this exercise, rub your hands together as you would on a cold day and be aware of each movement you make. Hold the intention of bringing your qi to your hands. Feel the life force energy in each hand. Once you feel the warmth, pull them apart slowly, keeping your fingers soft and your hands relaxed. When you feel the connection between your hands weaken, bring them slowly back together, being sure that they never actually touch.

3) Stand in Neutral – Standing in neutral position may sound pretty basic, but it is very important in the art of Tai Chi. Standing can help you to become more aware of where tension areas are in your body. When attention is drawn to these areas, it is easier for you to resolve the tension and learn to relax. To learn the proper "neutral" standing position, ask your TCSociety instructor.

Warm Up Tai Chi Exercises for coordination:

In addition to raising energy awareness, many Tai Chi warm ups are designed to promote better body-awareness. Here are a few exercises you can use to practice coordination:

1) Circling your hands – In Tai Chi, all movements are circular. This exercise is a good way to develop a unified body motion because it opens up all parts of the body and allows them to expand smoothly in circular patterns. Once again, for detailed instructions on how to perform this exercise, speak to your TCSociety instructor.

Of course, these are not the only warm up Tai Chi Exercises. Throughout your learnings at the TCSociety, your Tai Chi instructor will teach you various warm up exercises that can prepare you for your lessons and help you develop skills like coordination and focus.