What Is Tai Chi and How Can It Help Your Mental Wellness?

In our stressful world, we regularly hear about activities like meditation and yoga to help us calm and centre ourselves. While both of these offer countless benefits, we can’t forget about the life changing art of Tai Chi for our mental and physical health.

Often referred to as “meditation in motion,” Tai Chi Chuan is unique in that it is both meditative and an ancient Chinese martial art. Just as in yoga, there are several styles of Tai Chi, with some styles more focused on Tai Chi as a martial art and others more focused on Tai Chi as a renewing exercise for stress reduction and health. However, regardless of the style chosen, with Tai Chi, you work your muscles and your mind.

The  slow, constantly flowing, mindful movements and deep breaths that are characteristic of Tai Chi have been shown to improve memory, lower blood pressure, reduce balance and coordination problems, strengthen the body, and provide extremely strong mental health benefits.

How Tai Chi Boosts Mental Wellness

Recent and past scientific studies looking into the medical benefits of Tai Chi have found powerful results. Researchers, taking a closer look at these many studies, explained that Tai Chi offers just the right combination of body awareness, breathing, mindfulness, and movement that can contribute to healing. They also found that Tai Chi resulted in better self-esteem along with lowered stress and improvement in mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. Tai Chi even made a difference for mood disorders.

The especially great thing about Tai Chi is that, unlike other activities requiring movement, Tai Chi movements are never forced, making them suitable for anyone at any age or fitness level. In fact, Tai Chi has actually been shown to reduce falls in the elderly, improve bone density, and contribute to a sense of happiness and purpose. This is a low-impact art form and exercise that is truly accessible to everyone.

Is Tai Chi Right for You? Try a Class!

Attending a class with a qualified instructor will help you learn the proper techniques of Tai Chi, so that you can practise the art on your own throughout stressful situations in your life and really receive the full benefits of Tai Chi. While you can watch videos or read books, there’s nothing like one-on-one instruction. Most of all, carving out time during your busy week to physically attend a Tai Chi class reminds you of the importance of focusing on yourself, the first step on your path to healing and living a calmer life.

I hold classes on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays at three locations throughout York — Briar House on Mondays, Fulford School on Tuesdays, and Heworth Church Hall on Wednesdays. Mondays provide afternoon classes, while the Tuesday and Wednesday classes are held in the evening, allowing you to choose the class that best fits your schedule.

Wondering what to wear to a Tai Chi class? That’s the other beauty of this exercise. While you’ve undoubtedly seen the silk robes traditionally used in Tai Chi, you aren’t actually required to purchase anything specific to practise Tai Chi. Simply wearing loose clothing, so as to encourage the flow of energy, is encouraged. At some point, you may wish to purchase Tai Chi slippers for protection and support during the movements, particularly when performing Tai Chi outdoors, but others will choose to practise barefoot.

Need More Advice on Your Path to Wellness?

Anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and related emotional problems also benefit greatly from my hypnotherapy and NLP services. If you have specific goals or needs that you’d like to discuss, I offer a 15-minute telephone conversation to see how I can help you reach your goals.

Mindfulness, in general, is another way to improve your mental wellness. Follow me on Facebook to see news about the upcoming release of my book on mindfulness, as well as for more tips on easing your stress and improving your wellbeing.