Taiji for Relaxation
Our regular Taiji classes are geared towards the relaxation and health benefits that Taiji provides.
- Location – at the United Reformed Church, Old Coach Road, The Village, East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire, G74 4DS.
- Day – Monday.
- Time – 12.00 till 1.00 pm.
- Type – Taiji and Qigong
- Details -These Taiji classes are geared towards people who wish to learn Taiji as a health and relaxation system. Here, at the United Reformed Church the syllabus includes Taiji form and Qigong, taught in a very relaxed atmosphere.
The syllabus includes: –
- Yang Style Taiji Short Form
- 16 Posture Taiji
- Instructor – Des Lawton
- Further information – ‘Phone Des on 01355266011 or use the form on the Contact Us page.
Taiji for health
Taiji has a beneficial action on all the body’s systems. The Skeletal system Being a low-impact exercise, Taiji can increase the bone density and according to one source (American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation) “evidence suggests Taiji may be an effective, safe, and practical intervention for maintaining BMD in postmenopausal women. In combination with research that indicates Taiji can positively impact other risk factors associated with low BMD (eg, reduced fall frequency, increased musculoskeletal strength)”. Taiji is now known to greatly help with the symptoms of arthritis as it gently tones all the major muscle groups and joints of your body whilst relaxing them at the same time.
The Muscular system
Taiji helps improve the posture. Correct posture is an essential element that enables you to deeply relax all the muscles in your body. Relaxing your body also allows your nervous system to operate more easily and eases pressure on the skeletal system. Even though the movements of Taiji look graceful and gentle, they provide a constant loading on the muscles, decreasing the rate at which our strength diminishes as we grow older, and leading to increased muscular stamina. The gentle movements involved increase the flow of natural lubricants and nutrients in your joints allowing for greater ease of movement.
The Lymphatic system
Simply put, the lymphatic system is a system of drainage from the body that removes debris and toxins that are the result of the body’s constant battle against disease. As the lymphatic system relies on the movement of the muscles to act as a pump it can be seen that a sedentary lifestyle can cause this movement of waste to be sluggish, leading to blockages and inefficiency. The slow, rhythmic, rotational movements of Taiji are extremely efficient as a pump and, given time, the lymphatic system can become very efficient………just as it should be.
The Cardiovascular system
The heart pumps blood around the body, through the blood vessels. If these blood vessels are narrowed, as a result of muscular tension, the pressure of the blood increases………….just like narrowing the end of a hose to increase the water pressure. Taiji has been shown to lower the blood pressure, when it is too high……………..and increase it, when it is too low. When muscles are too tight, Taiji relaxes them……………..When they lack tone, Taiji tones them.
The heart can be assisted, in circulating the blood, by the pumping action of the legs (in particular, the calf muscles). Varicose veins are caused when the pressure/weight of the blood above a valve, in the vein, causes it to collapse. The pumping action of the calf muscles can maintain the upward pressure on the blood and stop this from happening……….another of the health-bringing effects that Taiji brings.
Efficient blood flow is vital for the nourishment of the entire body. The cardiovascular system is the highway that carries the oxygen, vitamins, minerals and hormones & nutrients to where they are required and is a vital part of our immune system. Increased blood flow means increased oxygenation of the brain; memory improves, and symptoms such as headaches, dizziness and insomnia are greatly reduced.
The Respiratory System
It is an unfortunate fact of life that, as babies, we knew perfectly well how to breathe. Watch a baby breathing……….little, or no, movement in the chest……….it is the stomach that rises and falls as the diaphragm is used, rather than the chest muscles. Why is it that as we grow older we stop breathing efficiently and start to use the chest, with its severely restricted movement? Then, getting older still, we start to use less and less of our lungs as we breathe more shallowly and further up into our lungs. No wonder we get out of breath as we get on in years.
Taiji retrains us to breathe as we once did………naturally, using the diaphragm. The average respiration rate for adults is 12 – 20 breaths per minute. You can test yourself on this one………..time yourself over one minute and count how many respirations there are (one inhalation plus one exhalation). The relaxed, rhythmic Taiji form relaxes the body, lowers the respiration rate, oxygenates the body, and relaxes the mind.
Emotional and Mental Health
There is a biofeedback loop set up while practicing Taiji that affects us on a psychological as well as physiological level. It, when used, can lead to states of extreme mental relaxation that allow us to step back from the stresses of modern life and into a space that is tranquil and restorative. If you imagine that our daily life is like a hurricane swirling continuously with all those problems and egos to deal with…………….where do you start? There is so much going on that you cannot see where to start, or what to do…………….it is difficult, almost impossible, to prioritise and your list of things to do keeps growing as you go. If you recognised yourself here, Taiji is a wonderful way to overcome this “problem” while enjoying yourself at the same time. It gives you the tools to step into the eye of the hurricane, into the calmness, where you can observe life from a different perspective, then, from this position of calm, you CAN prioritise and get life in order. A word of warning though………..Taiji, over time, will change your priorities and thing that are viewed as mountainous problems now may turn out to be molehills in the future.
I don’t want to become too technical here, but our brains constantly send out electrical signals and in our daily life these are usually “beta” waves – Beta is associated with our waking activity. During a day we experience all the brainwave patterns with a predominance of Beta. But, when practicing Taiji, the change in our breathing pattern affects the brainwave pattern, relaxing us more, lowering respiration again and, again, lowering the brainwave pattern until we reach “alpha” waves. Alpha pattern appears when in wakefulness where there is a relaxed and effortless alertness. Light meditation and day dreaming. Generally, we all attain alpha at least once during the day……………..just at that comfortable state as we are dropping off to sleep.
In summary, attending Taiji classes is a wonderful way of exercising mind and body, of self-healing, and of self-exploration and I recommend it to all age groups.
In Taiji, being very soft and pliable leads to being extremely hard and strong. Command of proper breathing techniques leads to command of free and flexible movement. (Master Wu Yu-hsiang).