Tai chi fights stress, getting popular with Millennials – CNN
Standing 6 feet 5 inches tall, Patrick York is a gentle giant.
The soft-spoken 26-year-old with a “Peace Love Tai Chi” T-shirt flowed into a grounded stance on a Long Beach, California, hilltop. He was among several dozen people taking a free tai chi class this warm July day.
“I do tai chi to reconnect my mind, body and spirit, as well as to strengthen my muscles, loosen my joints, get my body relaxed,” York said.
What is tai chi?
Tai chi is an ancient martial art developed in China that’s often referred to as a “moving meditation.”
“It takes the principles that we’ve observed in nature and uses it as a martial art,” said Daniel Hoover, tai chi master, chiropractor and owner of School of Healing Martial Arts in Long Beach. Hoover gives a free class every Sunday on this hill.
Tai chi’s slow, graceful movements are accompanied by deep circular breathing. Though tai chi is practiced slowly for health benefits — stress relief, improved balance and flexibility — it can be sped up and used as a fighting form in very advanced classes.
Chinese physicians prescribe tai chi as a gymnastic form of medicine to complement other traditional treatments such as acupuncture and herbs, according to tai chi master Terry Dunn, who helped popularize it in the West.
The movements are working with what is called “qi” or life force, a type of “flow” that, according to tai chi practitioners, everyone has.
“Within every tai chi movement is the principle of yin and yang. The idea that there is unity within opposites: positive and negative, full and empty, dark and light, hard and soft, cause and effect,” writes Dunn.