The photos I posted today are inspired by a Tai Chi video I watched recently; accept them as a fun contribution to today’s article and do not attempt Tai Chi by copying the movements, although I would be flattered if you did 🙂
Tai Chi is the yoga of the far East, representing an important element of the Chinese philosophical/medical/religious system. Just like India, China is also a home of the millennia old holistic medical system, based on the belief of using preventive measures in maximizing health and maintaining a balanced lifestyle. Yin and Yang, a concept I abstractly introduced on my Tuesday post, summarizes the entire philosophy behind why one should strive to maintain balance. Although it is not my intention to delve too deeply into the topic, a proper introduction is indeed important in order to understand the logic behind Tai Chi.
Yin and Yang a central theme in Taoist philosophy, is based on the theory of the contradictory but interdependent nature of opposites that are ever-present in both nature and everyday life. The role of the individuals (you and me) is therefore to be conscious and accepting of this reality and accommodating in away that it would best suit our interests. For example day and night are opposites but coexist with one another, and for that matter how would we know what is day if we couldn’t differentiate it from the night? In a nutshell, according to Taoism, the best strategy in managing wellbeing is acknowledging these contradictions as natural and seeking a balance between the good and the bad aspects of both.
Tai Chi is a technique invented to maintain this balance (along with others like acupuncture, herbal medicine, massage etc). Its aim is to activate the qi (or the energy flowing in our body), which due to stress, health or environmental reasons can be blocked, impeding a healthy functioning of our mind and body. Just like with yoga, the more consistent one is with Tai Chi practice the higher the benefits he/she achieves with the practice, due to the process nature of Tai Chi. With regular and disciplined practice the body inherits a learned behavior of accurately distributing misplaced energy. The benefits are to be enjoyed in every aspect of life as regular Tai Chi practitioners tend experience improved concentration, better discipline and a general sense of wellbeing in their social, family and work environments!
I highly recommend Tai Chi for people that appreciate holistic and preventive healing or simply for your own information. It is a refreshing alternative to Westernized emphasis on treating diseases rather then preventing them and on competitive result driven sports rather then process driven holistic practices.