Most people are familiar with the Tai Chi or Yin and Yang symbol which looks like two entwined fish, one black (yin) and one white (yang) enclosed in a circle which represents the ancient Chinese view of the universe.
What people are not so familiar with is that the Tai Chi symbol also represents the circular movement performed in Tai Chi. The whole body including all the joints are continually moved in circles. The muscles are relaxed, and the joints are soft to allow for this beautiful, fluid, circular, movement. Hold a scarf and slowly wave it in a circular motion, feeling the circles you make and experience the normal efficient movement that we use in our daily life.
Western exercises are generally linear, often designed to work individual body parts to increase and maintain joint movement and strengthen particular muscle groups. Muscles work harder and the joints are held locked creating a stiff, linear movement more like that of a robot. Holding the scarf and keeping your elbow and wrist straight lift your arm up and down feeling how much more effort is required to move in this linear fashion.
Training the body to move in a relaxed, efficient circular fashion can help in all areas of life including sports such as tennis and golf which involve a swing. So don’t just move your body in lines add some circles for variety and try Tai Chi!