Tai Chi: its practice, philosophy and health benefits.

De Ville’s Studio in the heart of Atherstone is focusing on Tai Chi throughout June. Follow us on Facebook (@devillesstudio) and see a demonstration of ‘the beautiful dance’ at Sheepy Summer Fayre on 29th June.

man doing graceful tai chi movement in front of yin yang symbol
man doing graceful tai chi movement in front of yin-yang symbol

Tai Chi: The beautiful dance

It seems that the beautiful dance-like moves of the Tai Chi form are almost surreal, so the participants appear to be floating through the slow, flowing movements. As a result, it rivals the most elaborate dream sequence in any Hollywood movie.

Certainly Tai Chi has a reputation as a ‘soft’ martial art, due to the slowness of the movements, as well as the deliciously evocative movement names. Apparently names such as ‘white crane spreads its wings’ and ‘part wild horse’s mane’ don’t strike fear but don’t be fooled! 

Probably it will surprise you to know that every action has a serious martial application. Yet unlike most martial arts we are not restricted to one type of move: push, pull, kick and strike are all permitted. However, there is one incredible force majeure since the Tai Chi practitioner is a peaceful warrior!

The principles and philosophy

The great masters have handed down the movements and principles of Tai Chi through the centuries. Certainly they are documented in the great Classics, such as the Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu.

Initially, the Form begins with stillness and finally ends with stillness. Subsequent movements flow from one to the other, separately yet connected. As a result they represent the harmony and balance of yin and yang. 

Above all the practising Tai Chi student is encouraged to relax and allow the opponent to make the first move. So, if the opponent is about to strike you become ‘insubstantial’ and avoid the blow. Then if your opponent is retreating, you become substantial and can strike. It is a challenging concept and takes great practice to master!

The health benefits of Tai Chi

As well as martial aspects, Tai Chi offers incredible health benefits. Positivity and calmness certainly give us the ability to exercise self-control and manage stress, and blood pressure and circulation benefit too.

Similarly, back and neck pain can be reduced with good posture.  Just as the flowing nature of the movements maintains and increases joint flexibility, so also controlled slowness improves muscle strength and balance. In addition, the precise positioning of limbs and joints to achieve perfect form will increase proprioception and general spatial awareness.

In keeping with the concept of balance and of yin and yang, stillness follows movement. Therefore the addition of Meditation and breath exercises help us to achieve this. Likewise, practising Qigong restores perspective and the feeling of calmness and serenity that is integral in the practice of Tai Chi. 

So maybe in today’s hectic and aggressive world, we could all benefit from learning to ‘go with the flow’ more. It seems like Tai Chi’s beautiful dance might hold the key that opens the door for us.

Tai Chi Classes in Atherstone

Interested? So why not join us for classes at our Studio in the heart of Atherstone on Tuesdays at 6pm and Fridays at 9.30am? We welcome people of all ages, and no experience is needed. Find out more at https://devillespilates.com/ or book in and join a class at https://goteamup.com/p/2087406-de-villes-studio/

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Maureen Parker

Hi! I'm Maureen and I'm the founder of De Ville's Health & Fitness. Originally trained as a gym instructor, I soon followed up my passion for Pilates and in 2009 qualified as an instructor. De Ville's Studio opened in January 2011 and today I am qualified to teach not just Pilates, but also Tai Chi, Exercise to Music, Chair Fitness, Nutrition and Wellness and am an Exercise Specialist for Low Back Pain.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Can’t wait to see the demonstration at the Sheepy Fayre! I’m sure it will be amazing to watch. See you there 😊

    1. Hi Jane, I’m excited too! I look forward to seeing you there x

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