Breathing – we all do it automatically: approximately 18 times per minute, 1,080 times per hour and nearly 26,000 times in a 24-hour day. You would have thought we’d got it down to a fine art?
But, what if I told you that most of us could do this breathing thing a lot better? And, by better I mean having more more energy, less anxiety, better sleep, less stress, a better posture with less back ache, and that it was a way you could quickly calm your mind when it is revved up. Of course, you don’t have to do this type of breathing for all of those 26,000 breaths. Instead, you can try it for just for a minute or two and for 2-3 times per day – it could make a huge difference in your life and health.
Tai chi is an ancient, Chinese exercise programme and martial art that involves a series of movements performed in a mindful, focussed manner and accompanied by deep breathing.
You don’t have to know tai chi to learn tai chi breathing. I can show you how to do this so you can breathe your way to better health. You will be able do this anywhere, anytime at home, at work and even on a bus or train.
What happens when we don’t breathe properly? Journalist, James Nestor, and a friend decided to try it for just two weeks. He said on Radio NZ National this week, “We knew it wasn’t going to be fun, but we didn’t know it was going to be a bad as it was. Within a few hours my blood pressure shot up about 20 points. That night I start snoring and I had not snored before.”
Check out the RadioNZ broadcast with James Nestor in this link.
I’ve also written about WHY tai chi breathing is so good for you and how it can help you to bust stress in just a few minutes per day. Click here to find out.
What I love about seated tai chi is that enables all to enjoy the health and wellness benefits from tai chi, regardless of ability, age, size, shape or whether you have an illness or injury.
Often described as “moving meditation”, tai chi is an ancient Chinese martial art that combines mental focus with deliberate and relaxed movements that are gentle on your joints.
It is sometimes referred to as “taiji” or “tai chi chuan”. You can find out more about tai chi here.
The term ‘gentle’ does not mean ineffective. Seated tai chi can be an incredibly good fitness routine to strengthen your core muscles and your back.
I am a board-certified and premier instructor for Tai Chi for Health Institute. I am qualified to teach a number of Tai Chi for Health programmes, including Seated Tai Chi for Arthritis (TCA). Click on this link to learn more about me and the Kia Ora Tai Chi team
FREE Tai Chi for Rehabilitation (TCR) to help you boost your immunity and reduce stress and anxiety. Dr Paul Lam of the Tai Chi for Health Institute is offering the entire TCR online learning programme free of charge.
Click on this link for Lesson one (just over one hour’s duration). We suggest you jump straight to the 48-minute point of the link below to learn the 1st two wonderful steps of TCR. After that, you can watch the rest of the video for juicy and fascinating information from Dr Lam on why and how TCR works. Subsequent lessons in the series will be available in due course.
If the year already feels likes it is passing in a blur, then tai chi could be for you. At Kia Ora Tai Chi, we can teach you techniques that will help slow things down, relieve and release stress, while increasing your fitness and well-being.
If this sounds like something you want then the team at Kia Ora Tai Chi would love to hear from you. We are looking for adults of any age and ability, who are keen to make a regular commitment to learning tai chi.
To find out if tai chi is for you, please come along to one or both of the free sessions on Monday 17th and Wednesday 19th February, 2020, 6.30-7.15pm, in the Clayton Park School hall, Wattle Downs, Manurewa, Auckland 2013. Refer to map. Please note that the entrance to the hall and free parking is off Wattle Farm Road.
To RSVP or to ask questions about the classes, please use theContact Form
Learning these proven tai chi techniques to clear and calm your mind won’t happen overnight. After the free sessions, you’ll need to make a commitment to attend classes once per week.
Cost of classes: The classes on the 17th and 19th February are FREE. After that, prices start from $9.50 per class. A discount is available for those who are referredby ACC and Age Concern for the Community Group Strength and Balance Exercise programme (“Live Stronger for Longer”). You must be aged 65+ to be referred.
What to wear: Please wear loose comfortable clothing and flat-soled shoes (such as sneakers, trainers or tennis shoes). Please also bring a drinking bottle of water.
Here at Kia Ora Tai Chi, we are all constantly amazed at thehealth improvements that our students tell us about once they attend our classes on a regular basis:
sleeping better at night
feeling better all over and less stressed
improved breathing, with less wheezing or feeling like they’ve ‘run out of breath’
finding it easier to go up and down stairs
playing with their children or grandchildren for longer without getting tired
lowering their high blood pressure
feeling more flexible and moving better with less aches and pains
better balance/less falls
Learn how to reduce stress with tai chi
There have been hundreds of clinical studies over many years that confirm the health benefits of tai chi, especially for the Tai Chi for Health programmes that we teach at Kia Ora Tai Chi. You can read more about these clinical studies here.
One aspect consistent across all studies and trials is that none of these benefits happen overnight or after just one class. The trials take place over several weeks, sometimes several months, and the people being studied do tai chi at least 2 -3 times per week.
Most of our students attend at least one class per week, often two, and several practice between each class.
We are now looking for a group of new beginners who accept that their health and well-being is worth a regular commitment to tai chi.
Find out more about Kia Ora Tai Chi classes, how to get to the venue, and what to expect.
The Kia Ora Tai Chi team teaching tai chi the “He Aha Te Hauora? What the Health?” Expo in Manurewa
Most of us know that exercise can help to reduce stress and boost your mood.
Tai chi is one of the best, but probably also the most underrated exercise for stress relief and improvement in your overall health. This is possibly because it doesn’t seem to fit the Western world’s obsession with the need to ‘go hard’ or, worse, the mantra of ‘no pain/no gain’.
Tai chi works for stress relief and for many other health-related issues because it combines low-impact movements with meditation for a body-mind workout.
Dee Ogilvy, who has practiced tai chi for more than 20 years and now runs her own tai chi programme, while also teaching it as a part of Missouri State University’s Employee Wellness Program, says: “tai chi’s positive effects on our mind is mostly thanks to the meditation component of the exercise”.
A small study published in Psychoneuroendocrinology reported that brief mindfulness meditation (three x 25-minute sessions) minimised psychological stress. Ogilvy notes that the effects are even greater when movement and meditation are paired together — having to be present and focus on your movements and breathing helps bring on the relaxation.
Studies have also shown that tai chi can improve the quality of your sleep, improve cardio function, and, for older adults, can have positive effects on cognitive function and memory.
Testimonial on the calming, peaceful effects of tai chi during the “He Aha Te Hauora? What the Health?” Expo at the Manurewa Leisure Centre on 21 June 2019:
“Kia Ora Tai Chi was at the Expo! Jocelyn, Pat and Jeff led us in a demonstration. Tai chi is an incredibly powerful practice for your wellbeing. When they started the energy of the room shifted to a more peaceful vibe. It was magical.”