Tai Chi

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Tai Chi has been practiced in China for centuries as a martial art, as exercise, and as a means of improving the flow of internal energy within the body. Because of Tai Chi's emphasis on correct form and feeling each movement, it is practiced very slowly and gently. Completely non-impact, yet involving the entire body, Tai Chi promotes strength, stamina, and flexibility, while tempering the joints of practitioners. Because the whole body moves as one, Tai Chi cultivates the link between mind and body, enhancing balance and coordination. Practitioners develop confident ease of movement.

The Taoists felt that stagnation was the cause of disease and aging. Nature moves unceasingly, and movement prevents stagnation.

Tai Chi is performed slowly, evenly, and thoughtfully, with the emphasis on continuity of movement without break or pause. The Chinese use the metaphor of pulling silk from a cocoon: pull steadily, and the strand unravels; pull too fast or too slow, and it breaks.

Throughout the form, the body remains soft and relaxed, as if suspended from the top of the head and the joints like a puppet. The mind is centered on each movement, assessing the alignment and correctness of the form, focusing on feeling the flow from substantial to insubstantial in each movement, fending off distractions. Breathing is through the nose, slow and even, inhaling during contractions, exhaling during expansions of the form

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