A natural development to my practice has been the inclusion of Tai Chi which features the integration of mind and body, along with fluidity of movement; control of breathing; and mental concentration. Mindfulness plays a big part in mental wellbeing, and Tai Chi is a form of moving mindfulness.
With ongoing practice it can be an art with great depth of knowledge and skill, but it is also an effective exercise for the health of mind and body. Tai Chi can be easy to learn and soon delivers its health benefits.
Numerous studies have shown that Tai Chi improves muscular strength, flexibility, fitness and immunity, relieves pain and improves quality of life, but I am also interested in the parallels with my dance movement psychotherapy practice. Although Tai Chi lacks the improvisation and spontaneity of DMP, there is strong correlation to aspects of sensorimotor psychotherapy and the transpersonal dimension which is present in my intergrative practice. Neuroscience shows that Tai Chi can activate the parietal cortex of the brain in a beneficial way, leading to a sense of where the body is, and keeping areas that are keys to memories engaged, too. The neural systems being activated as you do Tai Chi, with it’s graceful slow motion, mindful concentration, upright posture, mental imagery and visualisation relate to areas such as body control, self-image, memory and empathy toward others.
This gentle form of exercise is relaxing and suitable for all ages and abilities. My aim is to promote the many health benefits of Tai Chi and make it and enjoyable way to improve the body’s response to stress.
Tai Chi for Health is not offered as a martial art but for its health benefits . The programme is based on Tai Chi Chuan — the physical form rather than the philosophical practice.
Studies have shown that Tai Chi works to improve conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, respiratory diseases and other chronic illnesses. In addition it improves balance, prevents falls, aids good posture and helps build immunity to disease.
In Tai Chi for Health, the forms have been specially adapted for conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis and may be performed seated if necessary. Practising these safe and effective Tai Chi forms can improve flexibility, muscle strength and fitness.
I am a certified instructor with the Tai Chi for Health Institute