Taoist Tai Chi – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Posted: December 24, 2014 at 3:47 pm


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Taoist Tai Chi is an exercise form of t'ai chi ch'uan which is taught in more than 25 countries by the non-profit International Taoist Tai Chi Society and associated national Taoist Tai Chi societies. It is a modified form of Yang-style t'ai chi ch'uan developed by Taoist monk Moy Lin-shin in Toronto, Canada. Moy incorporated principles of Lok Hup Ba Fa and other internal arts to increase the health benefits of practising the form. [1]

Taoist Tai Chi Awareness Days have been proclaimed by municipal governments across Canada since the 1980s to acknowledge that "the slow and graceful movements of Tai Chi relax and strengthen the body and mind, help to relieve stress, develop flexibility and coordination which is particularly beneficial to seniors and others in combating a variety of health conditions and disabilities" [2] These proclaimed days also serve to acknowledge that "members of the Taoist Tai Chi Society contribute many hours of service to our community, conducting fund-raising campaigns and events that have benefited many charitable organizations and other worthy causes,"[2]

Tai Chi generally provides health benefits. In all the forms of Tai Chi there are movements that involve briefly standing on one leg, which may improve balance; circular movements of the shoulders and wrists which improve suppleness and circulation; learning the sequence of the set movements may improve cognitive function such as concentration; the social atmosphere can sometimes forge friendships and alleviate loneliness and anxiety; and the exercise itself can boost a person's mood and alleviate depression.[3][4]

All forms of Tai Chi have been noted by YK Chen as regulating body weight, improving cognitive, lung, digestive and heart functioning as well as improving skin tone and bone structure.[3]

Research on Tai Chi in general, carried out at the University of Toronto by Dahong Zhou, MD, shows that Tai Chi provides moderate exercise, equal to brisk walking. Zhou also notes that Tai Chi in general reduces stress levels and emotional problems while improving "concentration, attention, composure, self confidence, and self control". Zhou indicates that Tai Chi generally reduces hypertension, relieves chronic headaches, dizziness and insomnia, has benefits for people suffering with mild arthritis and rheumatism, improves breathing and blood circulation and is "an excellent exercise for the mind." His research shows that due to the low intensity of most forms of Tai Chi, that as an exercise regimen it does not lead to fatigue or stress.[4]

The health claims made for Taoist Tai Chi by the Taoist Tai Chi Society are generally similar to those made for all forms of Tai Chi.[1][3][4][5][6][7][8]

In common with other forms of Tai Chi, the society says that for beginners Tai Chi starts out as primarily an external exercise, but for more advanced students it becomes more internal, exercising the internal organs and mind as well as the frame and muscles. Early in learning the Tai Chi set students may notice that the form strengthens the larger muscle groups in the legs, arms and back. According to the Taoist Tai Chi Society, the stretching aspects of the form improves the functioning of the joints, tendons and ligaments by taking them through their full range of motion. This can improve flexibility and reduce age-related deterioration.[5]

The Taoist Tai Chi Society claims that later in their training students note increased mobility in the spine and that the form restores proper alignment of the spine with the shoulders and pelvis through the spinal stretches and rotations that are built into the set. Additionally the society claims that the form stimulates the spinal nerves, providing a balancing effect on the nervous system. Later on in practice the student may find that the set will exercise the internal organs, possibly resulting in increased circulation, digestion and elimination. The society claims that the set strengthens the cardiovascular system, improves physical conditioning, decreases fatigue and improves endurance.[5]

Many of the health benefits claimed are related to the relaxation aspects of the Taoist Tai Chi set. The long stretches in the set may reduce tension at a muscular level and the slow pace of the set can create both mental and physical relaxation. The society claims that by relaxing the mind during Tai Chi the brain requires less blood and nutrients and that this allows the rest of the body to make use of these. This all may act to calm the heart and mind, while possibly improving strength and reducing overall stress.[5]

Philosophically, the tai chi taught by the Taoist Tai Chi Society is stated to be taught from a belief that people are innately good but that the nature of society causes people to become self-centred and to acquire bad habits. The aim of the training is to "eliminate these weaknesses so that our original nature of goodness can again shine brightly, guiding our thoughts and actions."[5] To achieve this the society promotes the virtues of compassion and service to others, through students becoming instructors who then teach Tai Chi to new students without any personal gain. In some cases, Tai Chi may be taught by the society as an integrated meditation art as well as an exercise program.[5]

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Taoist Tai Chi - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Written by simmons |

December 24th, 2014 at 3:47 pm

Posted in Thai Chi