Often described as “moving meditation”, tai chi is an ancient Chinese martial art and exercise programme 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”.
Tai chi is a subset of the much older practice of qigong (pronounced ‘chee – gong’), which is a deep breathing and meditative exercise. In Chinese, the word is made up of two characters: ‘Qi’ = air, breath and life energy; and ‘gong’ = working hard to develop a high skill level. Therefore, qigong means: ‘the skill of getting more breath, energy and life’.
All tai chi forms incorporate qigong for the extra energy and oxygen it provides. The linked postures and steps of tai chi, along with deep breathing (the qigong), are designed to improve your overall health, balance and fitness and can strengthen leg and core muscles. Tai chi is good for your body as well as your mind, and is helpful at reducing stress.
Read: A comprehensive review of health benefits of qigong and tai chi
At Kia Ora Tai Chi, we teach qigong and a number of tai chi (taiji) programmes and styles (Sun and Yang). All tai chi styles and forms, as well as qigong, can help improve overall health, fitness, strength and balance, as well as preventing falls. Jocelyn Watkin and her team of assistant instructors are also all approved as Community Group Strength & Balance Programme exercise providers for ACC’s “Live Stronger for Longer” campaign.
A film crew from Counties Manukau Health (which includes the biggest hospital in South Auckland, Middlemore Hospital) filmed the Kia Ora Tai Chi team and student, Frank, for the “Live Stronger for Longer” campaign. Check out the video below for Frank’s story: