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Natural Awakenings Richmond

Tai Chi Offers Benefits for Modern Life

Mar 01, 2016 07:40AM ● By Jo Ann Widner

Perhaps in a movie or in a park, we have seen them: a group of people moving slowly in synchronous motion. Their arms circle gracefully while their bodies gently turn and step. What we are seeing is tai chi, an ancient form of exercise that has been passed down through the centuries. Originating in China, tai chi is now practiced worldwide.

While tai chi comes from the East, Western medicine has embraced this ancient art for its health benefits. Studies show that regular practice of tai chi develops physical strength, flexibility and balance, improves cardiovascular health, strengthens bones, manages arthritis and corrects posture, all while improving memory and banishing stress.

Tai chi is also an excellent way to rehabilitate after an injury or recondition after an illness. Many people attend classes to help with arthritis, other health conditions, stress relief and community. Tai chi is the perfect antidote to our fast-paced, high-stress way of life. It gives people permission to slow down and take their time. The music and the flow of the movements create a sense of inner quiet that people can carry into their day.

No special equipment is needed to practice tai chi. Participants wear simple athletic shoes and loose-fitting clothing for freedom of movement. The intensity is similar to walking at a moderate pace. Tai chi can be adapted to accommodate different levels of strength and fitness. While it can be practiced as a group, each person makes adjustments according to their needs. Sun style tai chi in particular, is a form that is especially gentle and approachable. For those that haven’t done tai chi before, it is an excellent place to start.

For more information, call 804-370-3906 or visit