SAKSHI GUPTA What is better for you – Yoga or Tai Chi? Well, we say, Tai Chi Yoga!
Tai Chi Yoga, the brain child of John Neubauer, is a meditative art. It is formed by blending the elements of Tai Chi Chu’an and Hatha Yoga together. According to Neubauer ‘the blending of tai chi and yoga into a single art form creates more profound benefits for the body, mind and spirit’.
Tai Chi Chu’an is a Chinese martial art form, which consists of one-legged circular balancing movements done with bent knee. It is also considered to be the physical manifestation of Taoism. Tai Chi is the most passive form of martial arts with the philosophy of ‘yield and overcome’. The three aspects of tai chi are health, meditation and martial arts. Tai chi has different schools like Wu, Yang, Cheng and Sun. Most people practice Tai Chi for its self-defence training and health benefits.
Hatha yoga is the popular form of ancient Indian Yoga tradition, which focuses on the holistic healing of the being with postures, mudras, pranayama and meditation. It includes various stretches, forward and backward bends, seated and standing postures, inversions and twists to ensure our physical well being.
Tai chi and Yoga have many similar benefits, which focus on external and internal well-being of our body. Both have healing effects and help in calming the mind and nurturing the spirit. One main tenet of both the forms is breathing. Breathing is an integral part of both tai chi and yoga without which the practice remains incomplete. Both include slow and precise movements of the body. Both provide spiritual benefits and neither is meant for instant gratification. But, there are differences. Tai chi is a more relaxed form and does not ask one to push beyond the comfort level of one’s body, whereas yoga involves stretching the muscles beyond what they are capable of at the moment. But together they provide the benefits of both forms multiplied!
Benefits Of Tai Chi Yoga:
Tai Chi Yoga has a number of benefits, some of which are:
- The most important of all the uncountable benefits of Tai Chi yoga is its anti-aging properties. Tai Chi yoga increases the longevity. It is beneficial for older people.
- It is a low impact, low risk exercise.
- It reduces stress levels, depression and tension. People who practice Tai Chi yoga, experience less anxiety and stress.
- It improves breath control and meditation power. It also enhances cognitive functions of the brain.
- Studies have shown that Tai Chi yoga improves strength, balance, coordination and flexibility to a great extent.
- Regular practice of Tai Chi yoga proves beneficial for diseases like osteopenia, arthritis, constipation, indigestion, migraine and headaches, diabetes, chronic back problems, musculoskeletal pain, and high blood pressure.
- It also enhances the immunity power of the body and helps in regulating the sleeping patterns and disorders.
Structure Of Tai Chi Yoga:
On his website about Tai Chi Yoga, John Neubauer states the following structure for a Tai Chi yoga session:
- Seated Breathing Exercises
- Standing Yoga Poses
- Tai Chi Sequence
- Reclining Relaxation
- Seated Yoga Sequence
- Kneeling Meditation
This is the basic structure of a Tai Chi Yoga session. But the sequences and sessions could be mixed and experimented with many ways with various Tai chi movements and yoga poses.
For further understanding Tai Chi Yoga, the following books and videos would be helpful :
- Tai Chi Yoga – A Unique Video Package (1999) by John Neubauer
- Power of Tai Chi Yoga – A 12-week Audio lesson Plan for Weight Loss and Anti-aging.
- JohnCNeubauer – YouTube
Both Tai Chi and Yoga need proper body alignment and breath regulation. Therefore, it is important to first do Tai Chi Yoga under the supervision of a Tai Chi Yoga master. With regular practice, you’ll soon master this unique art form and reap its benefits.
Is this the first time you have heard of Tai chi yoga? Do you think it is worth trying out? Share your views with us in the comments section below.