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7 Tips for Effective and Enjoyable T’ai Chi…!

Dress comfortably

While you don’t need any special gear to practice t’ai chi, it is important that you dress comfortably. Your clothes should be loose fitting and stretchy to allow you freedom of movement; a T-shirt and sweat pants work well in most cases. Your shoes should be soft, flexible and preferably made of natural materials, such as cotton or leather. Some people prefer to practice t’ai chi barefoot. Avoid wearing only socks, as this can lead to slips and falls.

Take a class

This is important, especially if you are a beginner. “Seeing a teacher in action, getting feedback, and experiencing the camaraderie of a group are all pluses,” say Harvard Medical School researchers. “Most teachers will let you observe the class, first, to see if you feel comfortable with the approach and atmosphere.”

Separate the weight

At many times during a t’ai chi exercise you will have to transfer your bodyweight from one leg to the other. Known as “separating the weight,” this technique is key to improved balance and muscle strength, but needs to be done correctly to be effective. The key is to make sure your weight is actually all on the supporting foot before lifting the other foot.

Breathe with your belly

Correct breathing is central to t’ai chi. As with any other form of exercise, it is important not to hold your breath during your work out. Take deep breaths using the belly. This is also referred to as diaphragmatic breathing. It promotes relaxation by slowing down your heart rate and by lowering your blood pressure. Shallow, chest breathing has the opposite effect, and should be avoided. Also remember to always breathe through the nose, unless you have a health problem that prevents you from doing so, like a cold, for instance.

Learning new moves

Obviously, the more you practice a new move, the faster you learn it. But there is a way to speed up the process. In addition to practicing, take a few moments several times a day to imagine yourself doing the move. Just close your eyes and mentally perform every single movement, as you were actually doing it. The great advantage of this technique is that you can use it virtually anywhere to improve your performance.

Get back to nature!

Practice t’ai chi in your favorite place outdoors whenever possible. It can be the local park, for example, the beach or your garden. Experts say this is a simple way to get the most out of the relaxing effect of t’ai chi. Besides, you will benefit from the many therapeutic effects of regularly spending time in the open air, such as improved mood and increased energy levels.

Do it with someone else

And here is another tip: why not take the habit to practice t’ai chi with someone close to you – friends, family coworkers or neighbors. Doing something you like with the people you enjoy being with will make you feel good. And your relationships with those around you will grow stronger.

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