Tai chi, a type of Chinese martial arts, is often thought of as a form of self-defense. While this is definitely true, tai chi (pronounced tie-chee) is also an incredible way to relieve your stress and anxiety.
Tai chi is often referred to as meditation in motion because it combines the practice of breathing, focus, and mindfulness with gentle movement. This kind of mind-body practice is believed to be just as effective as medication when it comes to stress relief.
What Is Tai Chi?
Tai chi stems from ancient Chinese tradition and is a self-paced, graceful exercise that is practiced in many forms. Some variations of tai chi are aimed at focused breathing and mindful meditation, while others are more martial arts-focused and geared towards self-defense.
Is Tai Chi Safe?
Because tai chi is a very gentle, low-impact exercise, it can be performed at various ages and by people of various fitness levels. The exercise puts little stress on the muscles and joints, so it’s generally considered very safe.
That said, if you are pregnant or suffer from certain back or joint conditions, you may need to talk to your doctor first about practicing tai chi. He or she may recommend making certain modifications to some of the postures and moves.
Tai Chi for Stress Relief
Tai chi can be incredibly beneficial for your health. Because tai chi is just as much about the mind as it is the body, the practice can be very effective in providing stress relief. Some of the directly related benefits of tai chi include:
- Decreased stress, anxiety, and risk of depression
- Improved mood
- Better sleep
- Lowers blood pressure
- Releases tension from tight muscles
- Promotes blood flow
- Relaxes your nerves
Getting Started with Tai Chi
If you’re new to tai chi, you may want to sit in on a class for observation first. As discussed, tai chi comes in many different variations, some aimed at physical fitness and others focused more on breathwork and energy-healing.
If you’re looking to using tai chi for stress relief, you’ll want to find a class geared towards that. Talk with the instructor first and don’t feel intimidated by the fact that you’re a beginner.
Check your local community club or gym for tai chi classes and find an instructor that’s well-trained and qualified. You can talk to the instructor about any chronic issues you’re dealing with and learn about various modifications and breathing techniques to help you in your practice.
To maintain the benefits of tai chi for stress relief, it’s best to practice tai chi consistently on a long-term basis. Once you’ve become advanced in tai chi, you will able to practice the gentle movements in the comfort of your own home without any necessary instruction and obtain all the stress relief benefits you desire.