Sun Tai Chi
By now you have probably heard of tai chi.
If not, you have probably at least seen people in parks practicing coordinated, slow, smooth, whole-body movements and wondered what they were doing.
Characterized by slow, smooth, circular motions, tai chi is an ancient Chinese martial art that has been practiced for health reasons for hundreds of years.
Sun style tai chi, or just simply Sun tai chi, is a style of tai chi which emphasizes flow of motion and gentle movements while building strength and flexibility – an ‘all gain, no pain’ approach to exercise.
It was founded by Sun Lutang, son of a poor Chinese farmer who lived from 1861 – 1932 and dedicated himself to the study of martial arts and their use in health. This form of tai chi is the most modern.
You can read more about the history of Sun tai chi at www.suntaichi.com.
Sun tai chi is a mindfulness practice, with a strong mind-body link and pays special attention to breath. Some consider it meditation through motion.
One of the many great attributes of tai chi is that is can be adapted for most anyone, from the most fit to those confined to wheelchairs and people recovering from surgery, notes this excellent article in Harvard Women’s Health Watch:
It can be done indoors or out and requires no special equipment, just comfortable clothing that is easy to move in.
The Harvard article goes on to mention that tai chi has been linked to improvements in overall health in people with conditions including arthritis, heart disease, breast cancer, heart failure, osteoporosis, stroke, insomnia and Parkinson’s disease.
Even the world-renowned Mayo Clinic recommends tai chi: “When learned correctly and performed regularly, tai chi can be a positive part of an overall approach to improving your health. The benefits of tai chi include:
- Decreased stress and anxiety
- Increased aerobic capacity
- Increased energy and stamina
- Increased flexibility, balance and agility
- Increased muscle strength and definition
Some evidence indicates that tai chi also may help:
- Enhance quality of sleep
- Enhance the immune system
- Lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure
- Improve joint pain
- Improve symptoms of congestive heart failure
- Improve overall well-being in older adults
- Reduce risk of falls in older adults
You can read more here: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/tai-chi/SA00087
So if you are looking for something low-impact with a wide array of benefits, try searching the web for local Sun tai chi classes.
Apple and Beet Smoothie
- ½ cup orange juice
- 1 gala apple peeled and diced
- ½ cup frozen mixed berries
- ⅓ cup raw or roasted beets, diced
- 1- inch piece ginger
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 teaspoon agave
- ¼ cup coconut milk or soymilk
- 2-3 ice cubes
Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.