With the Chinese New Year quickly approaching on February 12, the “Year of the Ox” will begin. The Ox symbolizes hard work, honesty, and positivity, all of which we can certainly appreciate in 2021!
What better way to help you balance your internal energy, release tension, and clear your mind, than to try something old that’s new? The customary Chinese exercises of Tai Chi and Qigong can help you stay focused and healthy this year.
Ancient Chinese medicine concentrates on the body’s Qi (pronounced ‘Chi’), which represents energy flowing through our system. Our Qi needs to be balanced to achieve optimum health. We can practice this art by stabilizing yin and yang energies within our body.
Understanding Tai Chi and Qigong
California Health & Longevity Institute’s Fitness expert, Jennifer Mosley, teaches both practices of Tai Chi and Qigong at the Institute. She explains that “The many benefits each exercise provides, such as improving your balance, combined with functional movement and internal stillness, has been proven to help us lead a long and healthy life.”
Tai Chi and Qigong both date back hundreds of years and have roots in the traditional Chinese way of life. While Tai Chi is a martial art, Qigong is more a system of wellness.
Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese art of self-defense, relaxation, and healing. It is fundamentally a non-competitive martial art that combines gentle physical exercise and stretching with mindfulness. Today, Tai Chi is practiced as a graceful form of exercise. It’s gentle and fluid motions help with balance, strength, flexibility, mental focus, and stress reduction.
Mosley’s low-impact Tai Chi Fusion class is easy to learn and designed for individuals of all ages and mobility levels. In Tai Chi, you will breathe deeply and naturally, focusing your attention on slow, smooth movements that allow your Qi to flow freely throughout your body, releasing tension. It offers many health benefits, including reducing stress at the same time as increasing balance and coordination.
While Tai Chi postures are focused on self-defense and combat principles, Qigong is a practice based on cultivating, circulating, and harmonizing Qi for wellness and health. It is centered on breathing and synchronized movements.
Tai Chi generally relates to our external physical movement’s energy, while Qigong relates to the energy of our internal organ function and immune health. In contrast to Tai Chi, which focuses on the entire body, Qigong can target specific areas.
Try Tai Chi and Qigong Together
The different energies that Tai Chi and Qigong target mutually promote and assist each other. The body benefits from a balance of both of these methods, which is why the two practices are often studied simultaneously.
Mosley encourages people of all ages and abilities to try these exercises, stating, “The arts of Tai Chi and Qigong are so simple and so powerful. You can truly feel your mental and physical wellness improve with regular practice.”
The year of the Ox is the perfect time to embrace traditional Chinese traditions! You can take Mosley’s class on Saturdays from 9 AM – 10 AM on the beautiful Pagoda Lawn at Four Seasons Westlake Village. View our fitness schedule to learn more.