Tai chi, also known as Tai chi chuan, is a Chinese martial art practice for defense training and for its health benefits. Some of the training forms of Tai chi chuan are recognized as practice of slow movement, but there are many different styles and modernized schools that developed from at least one of five traditional schools: Chen, Yang, Wu/Hao, Wu, and Sun. The term Tai chi chuan is a Chinese name, which translates as "supreme ultimate fist", "boundless fist", "great extreme boxing", or simply "the ultimate".
Tai Chi for Beginners
Before starting with the Tai chi practice, a beginner should understand what is most important. Tai chi masters typically highlight five different aspects of good practice. The first and the most important is a consistency of breath, which teaches the practitioner to enjoy more rhythmic breathing style and benefit from stress relief and relaxation. The second most important thing is the consistency of breathing and body awareness in slow flowing movements that accompany the breath. Consistency of focus is also important, since there is a place of focus in each movement in Tai chi. Last but not least the consistency of practice is also very important. Even ten to 15 minutes are enough to develop the practice of Tai chi.
Pouncing Tiger or Cat Pose
This is one of the basic Tai chi positions, performed from the initial standing position. This pose is performed by flowing from the starting position to the position of an aggressive cat or tiger. The arms reach up in front of the face, like claws, while one of the knees is gently raised. The tiptoes of the raised leg are still touching the floor.
High Horse Stance Pose
During this pose, the legs and knees are kept at the center of the balance. It is very important to remain focused on this part of the body. The arms are motionless at the sides of the body, which is placed in the well-grounded standing position. The body moves into a spread leg crouch, mimicking sitting in a saddle. One can also balance on the balls of the feet.
The Crane Position
This exercise starts from the standing position, where the arms are held still and the left knee flows slowly up to the heel level. Some people cannot lift their knee so high, but they should lift it as far as they can. Toes are pointed to the ground, while the opposite leg slowly sinks down.