Tai Chi is a centuries-old Chinese practice designed to exercise the mind and body through a series of gentle, flowing postures. Its most popular form, Yang Tai Chi, is characterized by slow, graceful and large movements, which allow practitioners to gain more awareness of their bodies and improve the flow of energy (chi) – the “life energy” that sustains health and quiets the mind.
Yang style, in contrast to the Chen style, is completely smooth and slow in appearance of practice. Its stances are not nearly as deep as the Chen style, and it is void of vigorous movements such as fast punches and kicks. The beginner may determine the amounts of exercise in accordance with his or her age, physical conditions, objective and specific requirements. Because the movements are extended, natural, gentle, nimble, graceful and unique in style, as well as simple and easy to learn, Yang Tai Chi can be practiced by almost anyone.
Since Yang is derived from Chen style (it’s founder, Yang Lu-chan, learned Chen style first and then created his style which he then taught to the Royal family, and subsequently to the public), the two styles and philosophies have much in parallel. There are 5 different styles of Tai Chi that are connected with each other. Chen, Yang, Wu, Wu and Sun styles. All 5 styles are connected together; their outside movements are a little different but inside the energies are the same. (http://www.yangfamilytaichi.com/about/study/)
Tai Chi translates to mean, “Grand Ultimate”, and in the Chinese culture, it represents an expansive philosophical and theoretical notion which describes the natural world (i.e., the universe) in a spontaneous state of dynamic balance. It was originally developed as both a martial art and a meditative practice.
Physically, the practice of the martial art form increases a person’s flexibility, immunity, and cardiovascular health. As as a meditative movement it is elicits functional balance internally for healing, stress neutralization, longevity, and personal tranquility.
The evidence suggests that a wide range of health benefits accrue to those practicing forms of Tai Chi, including bone health, cardiopulmonary fitness, physical function, falls prevention and balance, general quality of life, immunity, and psychological factors such as anxiety, depression and self-efficacy. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3085832/)
Tai chi is low impact and puts minimal stress on muscles and joints, making it generally safe for all ages and fitness levels. In fact, because tai chi is low impact, it may be especially suitable if you’re an older adult who otherwise may not exercise. (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/tai-chi/SA00087)
Cinnamon Chia Smoothie
1/2 of a Banana
2 Tablespoons Chia Seeds
1 Tablespoon Peanut Butter
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (plus some to sprinkle on top)
1/2 Cup Rice Milk
3-4 Ice Cubes
Put all ingredients except the peanut butter and chia seeds in a blender and whiz for a few seconds. After it’s all liquified then add the chia seeds and peanut butter and whiz again until smooth. I wait to add the peanut butter and chia seeds because they tend to stick to the sides. Not totally necessary but it makes the process easier. http://mindfulyogini.com/2013/02/02/cinnamon-chia-smoothie/