Holistic Aproaches To Health and Well-being
This is an attempt at setting your expectations on what benefits can be achieved from the first few years of Tai Chi study.
The areas discussed are as follows:
- Martial skills/self-defence
- Spiritual advancement
The article concludes with a brief section outlining some tips on how to speed your progress.
1. Health Benefits
Under a good teacher feeling a positive change in your mental or physical health can take as little as one lesson, although more normally three of four. So some results are achievable in a very short space of time.
Within a month you should have some practical ideas to begin countering the effects of stress and begin to see how the tai chi principles and concepts can make it easier to handle stressful and difficult situations the more you practice them (ideas like relaxing the shoulders, sinking the ‘chi’, hollowing the chest, raising the spirit, letting go, thinking of your centre, strong intention – positive thinking). After a while you may start to experience emotional ups and downs.
This is a normal part of the process of sinking your energy and letting go for some people and means nothing more or less than that. If it begins to happen, just recognise that people have been going through this process for thousands of years. To truly relax and regain control of your energy you may have to confront traumas from the past, make changes in your present situation or revise your concept of ‘how things should be’. If this is difficult it can speed progress if you find ‘someone to talk to’ – a friend or a professional counsellor/psychologist. Alternatively you may want to take your training easy for a while.Then year on year as you look back you should be able to clearly see the growth in your confidence, sense of well-being, ability to cope with change and therefore resilience.
As many people don’t talk openly about their mental health, you will find there are many, many more stories about how Tai Chi has positively affected people’s physical health. Essentially as the energy sinks to your centre and you explore your range of movement through the form and through exercises with partners, you will find that your joints will open and your muscles, ligaments and tendons will stretch, strengthen and relax. In addition the Tai Chi movements pump most of the major areas of the lymphatic drainage system. This system is one of the body’s ways of filtering waste and is one of the many reasons why doing some Tai Chi can make you feel great! I have come across a lot of people who start Tai Chi because they are captivated by the movement. The fact that it is a martial art is irrelevant and not a reason for their study. They have a simple desire to be doing what they see being done.