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 7:51:22 PM