The T'ai Chi Ch'uan Study Center
of the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area

The Benefits of T'ai Chi Ch'uan

Casey Willson and the
T'ai Chi posture "Beginning."


Health is not a static condition; it is a dynamic harmony of diverse elements in our world of constant change. The words T'ai Chi, which translate to Supreme Ultimate, represent the condition in which Yin and Yang are in dynamic balance. As a daily exercise, T'ai Chi uses slow, smooth and gentle turns and steps combined with mental concentration on the important principles of nature in order to promote a harmony of energy within all the systems of the mind and body. For example, the shapes and flow of the movements combined with relaxation help improve respiration. As the limbs move gently up and down and in and out, the breathing gradually deepens, more of the capacity of the lungs is utilized and vitality is enhanced.

Western Science has studied T'ai Chi Ch'uan and verified the many benefits that have long been known in the East. For example, T'ai Chi has been shown to be very helpful with arthritis, hypertension, balance difficulties, cardio rehabilitation and lower back pain. Stress management is an important part of overall health and T'ai Chi teaches specific and effective techniques to alleviate stress.

Almost anyone can participate due to the gentle, self-paced and non-competitive aspects of T'ai Chi. Not physically demanding at the beginning level, the graceful, moderate movements of T'ai Chi do not require good health to begin.

"The mind directs the ch'i ("chee," vital energy)...The ch'i circulates freely, mobilizing the body so that it heeds the direction of the mind." 
The T'ai Chi Ch'uan Classics
This is a soft, gradual approach, emphasizing a slow, but sure, return to harmony. Students determine their own individual pace of learning and level of effort without straining or feeling compelled to match others. There are no tests, no grades or ranks, no belts or bumper stickers. Students learn to listen to their own energy and the personal signals that indicate individual limits. This noncompetitive gentleness makes T'ai Chi excellent for all ages, including seniors. 

Requiring no special equipment or clothing, this intriguing endeavor needs only a few square feet of space, indoors or out. T'ai Chi may be enjoyed alone or with a group. The fact that it is fun, fascinating and convenient contributes to regularity of practice, an important factor in any art. Practiced early in the morning, it is especially propitious, yet it provides a refreshing interlude at any time. Thought of not as a workout, but as a recess, it offers a respite from the slings and arrows of outrageous daily hassles.

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