tai chi for health
One of the best known and most easily recognized exercise programs in the world, T'ai Chi, formally known as Taijiquan, has a history that dates back to the Ming Dynasty era. The exact origin is clouded in several possible scenarios, but regardless, the writings of Wang TsungYhueh, are credited with the collection of texts which form the its guidelines.
Through the years, this basics of T'ai Chi have divided into five primary schools of training. These schools, named after each of their founders, have further subdivided into additional sub schools with even more variations.
Regardless of this, however, all forms of T'ai Chi are characterized by carefully choreographed sets of fluid movements. Every part of the body is carefully scrutinized and set patterns, as prescribed by the instructor, must be followed. Depending on the particular variation being taught, combined with the instructors methods, the movements can be very physically demanding. Emphasis is first placed on the correctness of the movements, combined with balance. Later on in training, the emphasis changes to visualizing the flow of "Qi" (energy) within the body.
The routines, though quite challenging for the new comer to this form of exercise, start quite simply by overall standards. In the most advanced states, there are over 150 different positions, which challenge even the most seasoned practitioner. The instruction continues to emphasize the correctness of each position.
For many years the western scientific community has minimized the value of t'ai chi. In recent years however, they have taken a closer look because of overwhelming evidence and positive results from other studies which show the benefits of low-impact and low-intensity exercise. There have also been scientific studies which have proven the value of this exercise method in helping to prevent falls within the elderly population.
In addition, the popularity of this has been enhanced by its exposure in the movies, tv programs and commercials.
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