If you’ve ever tried yoga, chances are you remember holding downward dog. It’s not exactly the most comfortable of poses, to say the least. 5 breaths of agony. My Hamstrings… Ouch! While I I’ve never felt that way moving through the graceful, flowing forms of tai chi.
To be honest, I’ve found yoga poses to feel lifeless and Unnatural, sometimes extending muscles far beyond any practical use- not that there is anything wrong with yoga itself, mind you. It’s really good at keeping you limber.
If you like doing the kind of slow, controlled postures that yoga has to offer, then by all means continue! But for those craving something a bit more dynamic, I feel tai chi is more benificial. From my reading yoga is a path to God and ‘samadi‘ (dispelling delusions), Rather than a set of excersizes meant to benifit you physically.
This was really impressed into me by my yoga teacher. Our classes would often begin with an AUM and a prayer in sanskrit. She also introduced me to the other 7 limbs of yoga, of which The asanas (positions) are only a small part. The yoga sutras specifically warn against jumping into them before you have deloped more as a person as they can can seriously unbalance you by promoting psychic and spiritual development.
One must ensure they are ready for such a journey. Would you go on a trip without any luggage? Tai Chi and Qi gong however, Can be freely practiced by anyone. They keep you fit and limber, along with building internal strength, something modern bodybuilders lack. Have you tried ever tried moving in slow motion? You’ll quickly discover its quite strenuous!
Not only that, but we are quickly discovering intense exercise like running isn’t as healthy as we thought. Getting your heart racing and sweaty just wears your body out.
We don’t do that in martial arts. Every movement is done foot first, in harmony with the breath. When we stretch we inhale, and exhale as we release the tension. It flows. And when we are finished, we don’t dread doing it again, as it’s somewhat enjoyable! So if you are looking to be fit and limber without lifing weights, going running or hitting the gym, Tai Chi might be a great option for you. With so many forms to choose from, why not give it a try?