Tai Chi is the best. In can help you regain skills lost from childhood. Tai Chi has helped me live a better life. For over 20+ years now I have gained strength and balance through learning many Yang and Chen style forms. The calories burned depend on how deeply you practice...as with anything, the more you put in the more you get out. Definitely get an instructor. DVDs and tapes can show you the idea, but an instructor can keep you from doing the positions incorrectly. Even with a full size mirror, it's hard to see if your position is correct. Please try it!
8/3/2008 12:45:58 PM
(In response to PraztheLord's question on DVDs)
Finding prime Tai Chi/martial DVDs, in my opinion, is easier than it was in the old days. I love Wing Lam studios (just Google them) for their rare, unparalleled quality and attention to mastery. You might also check out Jwing Ming's site (Google again). Compare the two and see what you find appealing. You might also check out YouTube, lots of material there to sample.
I started taking tai chi when I lived in Houston and LOVED it. Then I moved to New Jersey and spent 2 years talking about how I really wanted to get back into a class. The gym I joined offers a tai chi program and the form is the same form that I was taught in Houston, so, obviously, I'm back. Nicole, it is on the fitness tracker in other activities so you can count it. Although when doing tai chi, you don't work up a sweat, you really do work muscles and if you work for the hour of the class, I think that even though you don't feel a burn, you are burning calories. Because of the class, I have more balance, and toning (especially the arms and legs) and MUCH less stress. I strongly recommend checking out tai chi.
I have fibromyalgia and arthritis every where in my body. I want to take a tai chi class bt the closest one is like 20 miles away. Gas is so expensive and my husband just lost his job. Any suggestions on some DVD's?
8/2/2008 9:07:55 PM
I am a Tai-Chi senior (with 35 years of experiance) instructor, from WTCBA (world tai-chi boxing assosiation) and yes, Tai-Chi is a martial art in all of it's essence. Masters are very few and far in between (you can count them on fingers of one hand) in the world!! Teachers and instructors are many and not all of them good. Be careful when finding one, because practising Tai-Chi under unqualifide teacher can cause body problems, bad backs, bad knees ectr. Tai-Chi practice is a misunderstood and misinterpreted in mainstream Caucasians and Chinese, right across the board and not always the best discipline to follow and not beneficiall to all of practitioners to be. Cheers James
8/2/2008 7:51:22 PM
I agree, Tai Chi is great, but I'd like to break a stereotype here. Tai Chi is not the only "moving meditation" exercise you can do. All Chinese martial arts, external or internal, are moving meditations. When I do Lau Gar kung fu, I have to just do Lau Gar. I can't think of bills, meals, or painting the house, I have to only do Lau Gar (or whatever form I happen to be doing at the time) with clear mind (or: meditative intent).
*nods to others with calorie burn concerns* As far as calorie burn is concerned, that's going to depend on two things: 1) Your Tai Chi style and 2) The mode you are engaging in at the time. If you after a cardio workout, I'd go with Chen style Tai Chi. Do the whole form ten times or even five times with only chi gung as a break in between. As for mode, most people find Yang style as their first Tai Chi form due to its popularity. Yang mode for beginners (first ten years--and that's from a traditional perspective) is going to be slow and methodical....like moving yoga (here's the moving meditation the article mentioned). But if you are an experienced Yang student, you'll get to the "fast Tai Chi" form. As I mentioned for Chen, doing intermediate Yang for calorie burn is going to amount to how many times you do it and how long you rest in between.
In terms of chi gung and calorie burn...that's a real gray area for Westerners. I'd caution anyone from practicing the advanced chi gung sets for body-change practice. You get great results, but often at some sacrifice to the body (ironically, nature keeps the yin/yang balance regardless of our wants).
Overall, if you're looking to burn calories with Tai Chi, go for Chen style. For muscle tone, go for Hung Gar kung fu (I've done the Taming the Tiger form all summer without once lifting a barbel...and its been a great conditioning set).
8/2/2008 1:37:50 PM
I am finding Tai Chi very beneficial. I have a torn Labrum in my hip and have found that I can do Tai Chi as long as I adjust my foot stance whenever I feel pain in the hip. I practice the little I know each day but when I went two days in a row without doing my Tai Chi; the pain in my hip was pretty bad. I am feeling the benefits of my doing Tai Chi. I agree a good instructor who gives you the energy work with the forms and can give you great mental images to work with is essential to getting everything from Tai Chi that it has to offer.
I've been practicing Tai Chi for seven years. I cannot imagine my life without it now. It has helped me physically, with my balance and flexibility ( I am NO athelete :-) ) and mentally, coping better with stress and learning to RELAX.
I have bad knees and fussy hips from years of running and other sports that have battered my body. I began doing Tai Chi as a way to stay off of prescription medication for stress and anxiety. I have been practicing for about one year. Never do my knees or hips or back trouble me when doing it, I sleep better, I have more energy and I am far less stressed. When I feel stressed at work, even sitting at my desk picturing myself go through the movements relaxes me.
I really think that having an instructor is the way to go. My local community center offers the class, and I have an instructor that has been practicing for 30 some years. DVDs are fine once you know what you are doing, but I prefer to continue with the help of an instructor. The classes are inexpensive and also give you an opportunity to interact with new people.
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