Ipek Williamson

Insight Coach

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Forever Young with Tai Chi

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Now that we are getting older – and wiser. My husband and I have started to go to Tai Chi classes recently. This is a first for both of us. I for one was very excited and impatient about it. So, I have arrived in our first class a little early then my husband and others and had a quick chat with our instructor.

He told me that he started to practice Tai Chi in the 1970s. At the time, most people did not know what it was. Seeing him training in his backyard, he said his neighbours thought that he was either a weirdo or high on marijuana for a long time until he explained to them what he was practicing. He said that they were quite relieved finding out he was a normal person with an eccentric hobby.

In today’s world, most people know what Tai Chi is, or at least heard the name. But to give you a short definition, I can say that Tai Chi is a Chinese gymnastics consisted of a sequence of slow and precise movements. Yang style is the most popular form of it, consisted of two options; short form (24 movements) or long form (108 movements).

I can also confidently add that this practice is not as easy as it seems, now that I have tried it. But it brings a long list of benefits in terms of better overall health, well-being and living longer, if and when practiced regularly.

Even though you do not push yourself and break a sweat while practicing Tai Chi, you still get to improve your muscle strength, balance and flexibility. It also helps with night-time sleep quality, reduces stress, improves mood, promotes weight loss (only if you can consistently train for 45 minutes, five times a week though). Most importantly it is a wonderful vehicle to boost cognition and reduce the risk of falling in older adults.

Our instructor told us that an elderly student of his told him that she is practicing Tai Chi for her kids and grandkids so that they don’t need to take care of her in the future. Which could also be considered as a side benefit that affects the ones close to the people practicing Tai Chi.

According to the Founder and President of Living Tao Foundation Chungliang Al Huang; “Tai Chi does not mean oriental wisdom or something exotic. It is the wisdom of your own senses, your own mind and body together as one process”.

There are of course hundreds of videos on YouTube about Tai Chi for beginners. If you want to invest in your older years, I would suggest you take a look and maybe try it. It is never too late or too early to start. Our instructor said; “Even if you think you are not practicing it properly, it is still better to get up and try rather than sitting down”.

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