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Getting started with tai
Wondering how to get started in tai
chi? Even though you can rent or buy
videos or books about tai chi, consider
seeking guidance from a qualifed tai
chi instructor to gain the full benefts
and learn proper techniques. A tai chi
instructor may also be able to teach you
about the philosophy underlying this
relaxation technique.
A tai chi instructor can teach you
specifc positions and how to regulate
your breathing. An instructor also can
teach you how to practice tai chi safely,
especially if you have injuries, chronic
conditions, or balance or coordination
problems. Although tai chi is slow and
gentle, with virtually no negative side
effects, it’s possible to get injured if you
don’t know how to do tai chi properly.
It’s possible you could strain your
muscles or overdo it when frst learning
or you could aggravate an existing
condition. And if you have balance
problems, you could possibly fall during
tai chi.
You can fnd tai chi classes in many
communities today. Keep in mind that
tai chi instructors don’t have to be
licensed, and there are no standard
training programs for instructors. So
check an instructor’s training and
experience, get recommendations if
possible, and make sure that you’re
comfortable with his or her approach.
Eventually, you may feel confdent
enough to do tai chi on your own. But
if you like the social element, consider
sticking with group tai chi classes.
Maintaining the
benefts of tai chi
To reap the greatest stress reduction
and other health benefts from tai chi,
consider practicing it regularly. While
you may get some beneft from a 12-
week tai chi class, you may enjoy longer
and bigger benefts if you continue tai
chi for the long term and become more
You may fnd it helpful to practice tai
chi in the same place and at the same
time every day to develop a routine.
But if your schedule is erratic, do tai
chi whenever you have a few minutes.
You can even draw on the soothing
mind-body concepts of tai chi without
performing the actual movements if you
get stuck in stressful situations - a traffc
jam or a contentious work meeting, for
Jan/Feb 2012