Exercise your mind, body with books on Tai Chi—April 23, 2010
Need a gentle exercise to help improve coordination, balance and increase suppleness in your joints and muscles? Many have turned to the graceful and soft movement style of Tai Chi. The Hastings Public Library has many resources available that show various positions: how to extend a limb from the main joint, how and when to turn, how to distribute weight between the feet and how to keep a level height and correct posture while maintaining a continuous, graceful flow in the exercise.
What is Tai Chi? Some authors describe Tai Chi as a combination of martial arts, healing and philosophy. Depending on the instructor’s approach, styles can vary from the combative style to a more fluent, soft movement exercise. The book “The Beginner’s Guide to Tai Chi” by Ray Pawlett leads the beginner from a series of warm-up exercises to practicing specific movements regularly. Chia Siew Pang and Goh Ewe Hock show a complete set of 44 positions in the book “Tai Chi: Ten Minutes to Health.”
As the cornerstones of Taoist philosophy, Yin is expressed as contracting and passive and Yang as expansive and active. John Little describes the ancient Chinese art of Tai Chi as a relaxed mental-physical exercise in his book “Ultimate Guide to Tai Chi” Use footprint diagrams that illustrate the correct foot positions and weight distribution for each stance in Stewart McFarlane’s book “The Complete Book Of Tai Chi” and Paul Crompton gives answers to questions Westerners may have in his book “The Tai Chi Workbook.”
Seniors, cardiac patients and people who have not been active for awhile may find Wei Yue Sun and William Chen’s book “Tai Chi Chuan: The Gentle Workout for Mind & Body” an ideal place to start and then slowly progress to different form sequences. Achieve mental harmony by using methods discussed in Da Liu’s book “Tai Chi Chuan & Meditation” and if you have very little space to practice (such as an office or small apartment), learn a circular format from the book “Compact Tai Chi: Combined Forms for Practice in Limited Space” by Jesse Tsao.”
Tricia Yu offers instruction in Tai Chi fundamentals in the DVD “Tai Chi: Exercise for Lifelong Health and Well-Being.” She bases her instruction on the traditional Yang Style.
All ages can benefit by learning how to regulate breathing and pulse rates, which in turn, reduces stress by learning from these and other Tai Chi materials at the Library.