Tai Chi - Five Ways to Wellbeing

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Research on Tai Chi and Qigong appears to demonstrate the potential benefits these slow, meditative movements can offer adults and older adults looking to remain active into later life. Participants in our classes and at our workshops regularly report, anecdotally and via our evaluation forms, the benefits they feel after joining one of our classes.

We have found these benefits tend to fall in three themes or groups:

1. Functional Benefits
Being more active, improved balance, better coordination and mobility, feeling stronger, deep sense of relaxation, reduced stress, enjoying higher quality of sleep.

2. Emotional Benefits
Feeling more connected, more confident, sense of authenticity, more resilient, feeling of mastery, a sense of calm, humility, grace and ease, a willingness to take on other activies, a sense of Mindfulness throughout the day.

3. Social Benefits
Becoming more engaged in with others, within their community, as a volunteer, or expressing an interest in assisting or even leading a class, and becoming an accredited instructor too.
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Dr. Peter M. Wayne, at Harvard Medical School, talks about the benefits of Tai Chi as being cohesive and integrative. In his book, The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi, Dr. Wayne describes Tai Chi as having a number of active ingredients beyond the common therapeutic factors normally associated with public health programmes:

'Perhaps what makes Tai Chi so special is that this holistic, multicomponent exercise affects us at physical, psychological, social and philosophical levels. Its multilevel effects are especially important for complex chronic diseases that involve many systems throughout the body…' P. 29

Wayne Peter M. PhD. with Fuerst Mark L. The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi. Boston: Shambala, Harvard Health Publications; 2013.

We think the active ingredients described by Dr. Wayne fit within the evidence based model for wellbeing by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) called the Five Ways to Wellbeing.

The Five Ways offers people a simple way to take an active role in their health and wellbeing. They include:

Image source: https://www.mentalhealth.org.nz/home/ways-to-wellbeing/five-ways-to-wellbeing-downloads/
Within our classes and workshops we see the Five Ways to Wellbeing in the following ways:

1. Connect – Joining one of our classes can prove a big step for some people. Our relaxed and warm atmosphere encourages people to form new friendships and develop informal social networks of support. 

2. Be Active – Tai Chi fits perfectly as rewarding activity that people enjoy and keep doing. Participants like to know that good evidence supports the reported benefits. 

3. Take Notice – We introduce people to a key Tai Chi principle called Jing, meaning mental serenity or mindfulness. Fostering a sense of Jing helps people listen to their bodies, listen to others, and take notice of the world around them. 

4. Keep Learning – We use a progressive teaching approach in all our classes and workshops. We offer people just the right amount of challenge to foster a sense of growing mastery as they continue to learn and practise their movement skills. 

5. Give – Within our classes we see people connect with others to offer support both within the class and in ways outside of the classroom too.

Whatever reason you have for joining one of our Tai Chi classes we introduce you to the principles and benefits from your very first class. The Tai Chi for Health programmes and Qigong we teach have many depths for you to explore.

Bring an open mind, a willingness to practise a little at home, and you will soon feel the benefits too.

Please do share this blog post with friends, family, and colleagues if you think they may like to find out more about our evidence based Tai Chi and Qigong programmes.

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