It comes as quite a surprise to most people when they attend their first Tai Chi lesson to discover that in order to do this ancient Chinese art correctly there is a need to slow down. In fact, the sequence of movements or ‘form’ taught is performed very slowly and looks like an effortless slow-motion dance.
Moving this slowly is quite an unusual experience for a westerner. Firstly, everyone knows that exercise is generally performed at a relatively fast pace because it is important to work the heart and lungs to keep fit and healthy. Secondly, at home and work there is pressure not to waste time to get through daily chores, meet targets and deadlines. So, what would be the point of exercising slowly? How could this possibly be beneficial?
In Tai Chi the slow, precise controlled movements which are practised strengthens the deep postural muscles. Research studies have shown that Tai Chi strengthens the leg muscles, improves balance, and reduces chronic low back pain. In addition, the slow meditative movement may help reduce high blood pressure, increase the body’s immunity, and improve quality of sleep.
There is a need for both slow and fast exercise for a balanced and healthy life. So why not move out of the fast lane and into the slow lane and try some Tai Chi?