stress reduction classes tai chi ireland

HOW DOES TAI CHI REDUCE STRESS?

Tai Chi has slow and fast movement but primarily slow in the beginning to help people relax, train internal energy, sensitivity and develop internal power.

We use relaxed coiling spiral type movement to release tension and stiffness and improve relaxation and blood and energy flow. Movement should be always relaxed, natural and comfortable and we connect our breathing and mind intent to our movement which helps bring us into the present moment.

Deep breathing coordinated with our movement and a calm and focused mind helps further to stimulate the relaxation response of the body associated with a toning of the parasympathetic division of the nervous system which manifests as increased glandular secretions, decrease in hypertension, blood pressure, heart rate, deeper breathing and increased blood flow.

In turn, the sympathetic division of the nervous system associated with mental and physical stress and aging is toned down and less active. In China many people practice Tai Chi for longevity as stress is one of the major causes of dying younger.

The vital mind-body connection is mediated by the autonomic nervous system mainly through the secretion of neurohormones and neurotransmitters that affect cells of the immune system.

A positive state of mind enhances our immune system while mental and physical stress produce the opposite effect. A strong immune system means we get sick less often and this is one reason China began to strongly promote Tai Chi among its own people to reduce health care expense.

Particularly with the prevention of falls in the elderly through improved balance as the cost of fractures and mortality through falls is enormous. Also many companies in Japan and America sponsor Tai Chi programs for their employees as they recognize that a healthy workforce is one that will deliver much more in terms of productivity than one which is constantly under stress.

relaxing

MEDITATION

Beginning students tend to get good results with reducing stress levels, as, when they begin learning the Tai Chi form their mind becomes involved with working out the correct movements. Practicing with awareness of aligning your body so your posture is upright, your joints open, your body connecting every part to create maximum efficiency of movement, breathing deep, making your movements smooth and learning the correct posture, position of the various parts of the body and direction of movement, all require a certain level of concentration which naturally has a calming effect on the mind as distracting or worrying thoughts disappear as one practices and enters into the present moment.

When the postures are more correct and one begins to first feel qi in the hands, another level of concentration is required to micro-adjust the body more internally to improve the feeling of qi and make it more clear and full.

Higher levels can only be reached through being more calm and connected to oneself and the present moment. Many people find it hard to calm down just doing sitting meditation so doing Tai Chi helps many people achieve a meditative state when moving.

Tai Chi increases serotonin production which influences mood and behavior .Low levels of serotonin are associated with depression,obesity,insomnia and headaches. Electroencephalogram tests on Tai Chi and Qigong practitioners have found that there is an increase in alpha and theta waves ,accompanied by an increase in beta waves.

Since alpha and theta waves signify a state of relaxation and rest while beta waves reflect a state of alert consciousness, this analysis indicates that meditation is a dual state of “relaxed concentration”.

This conclusion is consistent with the commonly held notion that meditation is not only an excellent means to achieve deep rest, but also an effective way to train the mind to be sharply focused during mental activities in everyday life.

This is another expression of the balance of Yin and Yang which is the whole meaning of the word Tai Chi. So Tai Chi Chuan (Taijiquan) is a martial art that expresses this idea of balance internally with the state of mind, through the balance of energy in the body and functioning of the organs and systems and externally expressed as a combination and interchange between heavy and light, soft and hard, slow and fast, extension and contraction, gathering and releasing, centered and peripheral movement etc.

Echart Tolle (Author of the Power of Now and A New Earth) mentions Tai Chi as being an exercise that brings one into the present moment with direct experience of ones body, energy and mind. In fact, you can find people of different philosophical beliefs, religious beliefs and atheists all practice together in a harmonious environment of a class as Tai Chi is not conceptual but in fact a real experience of yourself now as you are, and everyone can enjoy it just like we enjoy to breathe fresh air or stretch our body in the morning after waking.

WELL BEING – TAI CHI FOR EVERYONE

Research has shown that the worlds 3 most popular exercise types are

  1. Slow and gentle exercises
  2. Exercises that help you relax
  3. Whole body exercises that you can do from youth to old age.

Tai Chi fits into all 3 categories. After trying various exercise systems many people settle with Tai Chi if they find a good school because Tai Chi reduces stress as well as provides many levels of exercise.

Shifu Niall O Floinn
Kids classes with shifu Niall

HEALING AND REGENERATION

Increased blood flow enhances healing and regeneration in the body at the molecular and cellular levels not just by increasing the transport of oxygen, nutrients, stem cells, signalling factors, building blocks and waste materials, but also stimulates cell migration as a result of raising bio energy in the form of electrical field as well.

These reasons are among others as to why Tai Chi is excellent for recovering from illness or injury and a good choice of first step to getting healthy and fit again.

kids tai chi with Niall