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In ancient China, Taoist sages searched for different ways to prolong life, maintain youth, fitness and vitality.
They developed a wide variety of anti-aging exercises. Taijiquan is a product of this quest for rejuvenation.
Ideal form of exercise
According to the book The Blue Zones it is important to think of exercise in terms of what you can reasonably do long-term.
The ideal form of exercise is moderate enough that you can do it for the rest of your life. It needs to be joint-friendly, provide a gentle workout and be sustainable.
This sounds rather like tai chi, doesn't it?
Metabolism slows down 90 percent after 30 minutes of sitting. The enzymes that move the bad fat from your arteries to your muscles, where it can get burned off, slow down. The muscles in your lower body are turned off. And after two hours, good cholesterol drops 20 percent. Just getting up for five minutes is going to get things going again. These things are so simple they’re almost stupid.
A committed regime of on-going tai chi training transforms your fitness. Your body becomes stronger, more mobile, balanced, flexible and supple.
Stamina and awareness improve significantly. Energy levels are boosted. Your immune system grows stronger.
The common viruses, colds, flus and diseases that are making the rounds often have little effect upon you.
Mind, body, spirit
Taijiquan combines mind, body and spirit in every action. The student feels acutely alive and alert; energy-filled and passionate.
By using the body more efficiently, you can become less tired and feel more lively. The training is concerned with re-energising the body.
Wear & tear
Suppose you buy a car in 2010 and use it very rarely. In 2016 you decide to sell the car and take it to a dealership.
The mileage is unusually low for a car of its age. Yet the car is still 6 years old chronologically. In terms of wear and tear the car is 6 months old.
Taijiquan is about spending your energy frugally. That way, as you get older, your wear and tear is unusually low for a person of your age.
Gain without pain...
The comfortable, relaxed movements of tai chi were designed to gently exercise the body without strain. There is no need to push yourself.
No sweating. The road to radiant health involves moderation. Everything is measured and calm, easy and stress-free.
When you watch how most people walk, it is quite alarming. Their steps are often very heavy and their legs are locked and immobile. There is a sense of clumsiness.
People frequently walk in an agitated manner; over-striding and erratic. The lower back is inflexible and the sacroiliac does not move correctly.
Taijiquan re-trains the body to move naturally and freely. As a student moves through the syllabus, they are challenged with increasingly sophisticated stepping patterns.
This leads to the easy, relaxed grace of a dancer or a large cat.
Taijiquan: an ancient exercise system that involves performing a series of
graceful fluid moves which look simple but are in fact incredibly challenging.
Renowned as a stress reliever - it deeply relaxes mind and body while instilling a wonderful surge of energy and vitality. It bestows flexibility, improves balance and coordination, strengthens the heart, and increases lung capacity.
Regular tai chi practice dramatically improves poise. Shoulders drop naturally, the pelvis finds neutral and the spine lengthens in a healthy way.
The chest opens, the neck relaxes and breathing becomes easier and fuller.
The cat-like grace of the art encourages agile, strong movement, excellent poise, high energy levels and a feeling of vigour.
Taijiquan training considers 3 areas of fitness:
- the capacity to let-go
- the ability to adapt, change & improvise
- without fear
- being honest with yourself
There is growing scientific evidence that the brain can be kept healthy and functioning as we grow older.
Challenging existing modes of thought, dropping long-held opinions and acquiring new skills causes the body to grow new brain tissue to cope with the demands of change.
The syllabus taught in classes was designed to promote mental acuity and encourage a more flexible brain.
Sifu Waller's diverse curriculum engages the curiosity of the student with thought-provoking insights, new discoveries and unforeseen possibilities.
Page created 8 May 1997
Last updated 24 March 2022