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What is Tai Chi Yoga?

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  • Written By: Angela Williams Duea
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2016
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Tai chi yoga is a meditative exercise that blends the poses of yoga with the fluid balancing movements of tai chi. Yoga is an ancient Indian exercise that focuses on breathing and meditation while holding the body stable in specific poses. Tai chi is a venerable form of Chinese exercise that exercises all major muscle groups while standing and moving in a circular set of poses. These two disciplines have several schools; yoga schools include Hatha, Raja, Tantra, and Bhakti practices, while tai chi schools, based in martial arts programs, include yang, sun, hao, hen, and wu.

Tai chi and yoga exercises both produce similar benefits. They both improve breath control, meditation and mind control, strength, and balance. Both types of exercise are low impact and can be conformed to the fitness level of the individual. The practice of tai chi is said to enhance the flow of energy through the body, and as a fitness program, it exercises joints and major muscle groups. Yoga is said to promote serenity and reduce stress while improving flexibility.

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A simple tai chi yoga exercise sequence might start with the yoga movement called “Sun Salutation.” The person forms a diamond with the fingertips, raising the arms over the head, and looking through the diamond, rotates from the waist in a 45-degree angle. After repeating in the opposite direction, the person loosens the body muscles and performs the tai chi exercise called “Separating the Clouds.” The person pinches fingertips together, raises the arms parallel to the ground and then off to the sides, before bringing the wrists together. Finally, the person can finish with the “Nauli” yoga pose, pressing palms against the thighs and bending knees slightly, while gently and slowly raising and lowering abdominal muscles.

The U.S. Mayo Health Clinic has determined that 20 minutes of tai chi yoga every day can provide measurable benefits to people suffering from osteopenia, arthritis, high blood pressure, and immune system problems. Practitioners also report better sleeping patterns and improved digestion, including reduced constipation. Like most exercise routines, tai chi yoga helps relieve stress, but the meditative, gentle nature of this exercise also helps combat depression and focus the mind. The fitness program should be learned from a qualified professional who can adjust poses and ensure that the individual is not overstraining any muscles or joints. As with all exercise programs, a participant should check with a doctor before practicing tai chi yoga.

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ysmina
Post 3

Does anyone know when tai chi yoga first got started? Whose idea was it?

I ask because there are so many tai chi yoga experts out there now who teach this type of yoga. Some go as far as giving their own name to it like "Jane's yoga." I'm sure that these people didn't come up with tai chi yoga and I don't think it's right to call it one's own. Both tai chi and yoga have been around for a very long time, thousands of years in fact. They're both so old that no one's even sure how they came about in the first place or who founded them. But for the sake of sounding original and unique, yoga teachers are calling tai chi yoga their own.

stoneMason
Post 2

@burcinc-- If you already practice yoga, tai chi yoga shouldn't be too difficult for you to learn. I think you could do it yourself.

How about taking a tai chi course and combining some of those movements with the yoga poses you are already using? You can make your own tai chi yoga routine. There may not be classes for tai chi yoga in your area, but I'm sure there is one for tai chi.

Another option could be to speak with the yoga or tai chi centers in the area and ask them if they would consider giving a class on tai chi yoga. They might be able to find a teacher and start a class if

there is enough demand. Make a list of any friends or acquaintances who would want to take the class with you and show the yoga or tai chi center that there is demand for it. Many centers will consider giving classes if there are 15-20 people ready to sign up.
burcinc
Post 1

I've been practicing yoga regularly and I really want to learn tai chi yoga. Classes for it are difficult to come by though. I can't find one in my area at all. Can I possibly learn it on my own using instructional videos or something? Has anyone learned tai chi yoga this way?

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