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The ancient art of tai chi neutralizes the number one destroyer of your health and lifespan – stress. All the money in the world can’t buy you a peaceful mind and more years of your life. So tai chi may be the wisest investment you’ll ever make, as for centuries it’s been granting its adherents with a high return of health, happiness and longevity.

If you’re looking for another way to reduce stress, you might want to consider tai chi. The tai chi is sometimes described as “meditation in motion” because it changes a mind of stress into one of serenity. Originally developed in ancient China for self-defense, tai chi evolved into a graceful form of exercise that’s now also used for stress reduction and to help with a variety of other health conditions.

To first learn tai chi, you perform a series of movements in a slow, peacefully focused manner. Each posture flows into the next, ensuring that your body is in constant motion. But even though it is very peaceful and quiet, you will notice that it certainly works out your body. It seems paradoxical that something so basic and soft at the beginning can actually provide so much internal “therapy!”

Tai chi has many different styles, such as Chen and Yang – named after the surname of the family who created it. Each style has its own expression and development of traditional tai chi principles and methods. There are also variations within each style. Some may focus on health maintenance, while others focus on the martial arts aspect of tai chi. Some tai chi forms are more vigorous than others. But all should be rooted in its traditional principles.

The result of all this variation is that there are more than 100 possible styles of tai chi, though only 3-5 are considered the “classical” forms of traditional tai chi chuan (taijiquan) Regardless of the variation, all forms of tai chi include rhythmic patterns of movement that help you achieve a sense of inner strength and calm. The concentration required for tai chi forces you to live in the present moment, putting aside distressing thoughts, thereby leading your spirit to peace.

Who can do tai chi?
A good teacher can help just about anyone adapt tai chi to their body and any special needs. So yes, you can practice tai chi regardless of your age or physical ability. In fact, because tai chi can be practiced in low impact way, it may be especially suitable if you’re an older adult, or if you’re recovering from past injuries. Whereas other activities are off-limits to you, such is not the case with tai chi.

You may also find tai chi appealing because it’s inexpensive, requires no special equipment, and can be done indoors or out, either alone or in a group. Once you learn it, it’s yours to keep and use anywhere, without needing any special items or coaching. If you wish, you can purchase a good tai chi dvd or learn it online. That way you will always feel like you have a group environment, even when you are alone.

Although tai chi is generally safe for everyone, consider communicating with your doctor before starting any new fitness program. This is particularly important if you have any problems with your joints, spine or heart; if you are pregnant, if you have any fractures, or if you have severe osteoporosis.

Like other complementary and alternative practices that bring mind and body together, tai chi can help reduce stress. During tai chi, you focus on movement and breathing. This combination creates a state of relaxation and calm. Stress, anxiety and tension melt away as you focus on the present and the effects may last well after you stop your tai chi session. And since stress is the number one killer, shouldn’t you do an exercise program that gets stress out of your body?

Invest in your health and longevity now, and you will get a tremendous return on your investment greater than any money can buy – a longer and healthier life.