Tai Chi, as practiced in the West today, is perhaps best described as a moving form of yoga and meditation combined. It comprises a sequence of martial arts movements, but performed slowly, softly and gracefully.
Some people may think of Tai Chi as slow, boring and only for old people. Though it is great for seniors, it is definitely not boring, says Tai Chi expert Scott Cole. It is filled with something for everyone as a stress reducer, flexibility enhancer, fat-burner, strength builder, and as a viable self-defense martial art.
Tai Chi improves functionality, boosts your metabolism because you are moving at the cellular level, and employs the legs and abdominal muscles to stabilize all ranges of motion affecting your entire body, Cole says.
Everything Tai Chi is multidimensional, not linear, says Cole. Americans tend to work the components of their body and not the entire body. To perform it, it is best to wear loose-fitting street clothes and be barefooted, he suggests. The following are the names of a few beginners' moves he will demonstrate on Tuesday's The Early Show:
"Dan Tien Connection" - This move centers you in the horse stance, establishes your strong leg base, and helps you embrace the beauty of subtlety, allowing chi- or energy - to move through your body, Cole explains.
"Brush Push" - One of the most powerful moves in martial arts. Cole will demonstrate this move slowly at first and then quickly like a martial defense move. And once you know the way this movement feels, you will never go back to what he calls "external flailing" or panic-driven movement, Cole says, noting the reason martial artists have great abs is because they move from their center.
"Repulse The Monkey" – It illustrates a multidimensional move that is filled with energy, martial application, and also really works the core, Cole says. By feeling and moving from your center, your abdominal muscles are constantly stabilizing. That is why he says he has included so many martial arts/Tai Chi moves in his book "Athletic Abs" book.
Things Cole says to keep in mind when practicing Tai Chi:
- Stay in the moment
- Feel the energy inside of you
- Be more aware of the energy around you and respond accordingly
- Think of a tree in the breeze, or water flowing around a rock. It is easy.
You may do Tai Chi as often as you like. Cole says you will feel a sense of improved balance and stress reduction immediately, and the other benefits will follow as you get in tune with yourself.
He says if you do any of his videos three times per week, you'll feel more balanced and relaxed fairly quickly. And if you follow his Tai Chi for Weight Loss program, you will most likely see results in two to three weeks.