Frequency, duration and intensity. Frequency refers to how often you practice, duration is the time you use for each session of training, and intensity refers to the percentage of your maximum heartrate or heartrate reserve at which the you train.
Aerobic means “with oxygen” or “in the presence of oxygen.” It is any training which rhythmically uses large muscle groups. Aerobic training increases the heart, lungs and cardiovascular system’s ability to carry more oxygen quickly and efficiently to the body. As the heart muscle becomes stronger, it will be able to pump a larger amount of blood with each stroke, hence, decreasing the number of strokes needed for oxygen transport. An individual who is aerobically fit can train longer and recover faster.
Yes, we believe that Chenjiagou Taijiquan is basically an aerobic activity. We are able to monitor this using heart rate monitors.
Dear Jasmine, hello from my country Slovenia. I am practising the art ot Tai Ji Chuan nine years know. I find your article Why do we say Chenjiagou…
and can you explain, please, while Im practising New frame 83 and Cannon fist new frame, what do you mean with this new forms for competitions, chen style 83 movement? What is the different with Xinjia Yilu 83, and who is the author of this one? I will be very grateful for you answer. from Lona Cop Finka
The one lesson that Zhu Tian Cai cherishes most from his master Chen Zhao Pi is that taiji quan (tai chi chuan) is lively (“ling huo”). If you are accustomed to the fast kungfu pace, you wonder what is “lively” about taiji. You have seen taiji presentations during the “Masters Demonstration” at many wushu championship meets or festivals. In contrast, the audience is always more delighted at the rapid-fire moves, the high-flying kicks and the low-to-the-ground stances of wushu, from the sound of its applause. Yet, you are aware that taiji quan enjoys a high regard in the Chinese martial arts world.
AN OVERVIEW OF THE MIND BODY CONNECTION
Chinese medicine and Ayurveda are traditionally founded on the basis that good health lies in balance. In Chinese medicine it is the proper balance of the body’s vital energy (qi or chi), and in Ayurveda the three physiological principles called doshas need to be in balance for optimum health. The Greek physician, Hippocrates, wrote about the humors, or four properties, which must be in balance for a person to be healthy. Across these systems, we find that the balance between the mind and body is a key factor. There is a strong belief that the state of mind can influence the state of the body, or the other way round.
The Power of the Mind
Many traditional medical systems make use of the interconnectedness of the mind and body, and their ability to affect each other. There has been a growing scientific movement during the past 30 years, to explore the mind’s capacity to affect the body. Clinically, this is called mind-body medicine.
The power of the mind’s ability to influence bodily response has now become more apparent in the medical studies. The discovery of the complex interactions between the mind and the neurological and immune systems has stimulated much medical interest, and resulted in a rapid expansion in the area of psychoneuroimmunology.
Mind-body interventions are increasingly being incorporated as part the treatment process. These include psychotherapy, support groups, meditative activities such as yoga or Taijiquan, imagery, hypnosis, biofeedback, dance therapy, music therapy, art therapy, prayer and mental healing. We explore below, some of these methods.
Psychotherapy encompasses a wide range of treatments from combining medication with discussion, to simply listening to the concerns of a patient, to using more active behavioral and emotive approaches. Conventionally, psychotherapy is done primarily through psychologic methods such as suggestion, persuasion, psychoanalysis, and reeducation. All of the therapies can be undertaken either individually or in groups. Research indicates that psychotherapeutic treatment can hasten a recovery from a medical crisis and is in some cases the best treatment for it. Psychotherapy also appears to be valuable in the treatment of somatic illnesses in which physical symptoms appear to have no medical cause. These symptoms are often improved markedly with psychotherapy. In addition, psychotherapy has been shown to speed patients’ recovery time from illness.
There is a widely documented success with Support groups, which are proven to have a powerful, positive effect in a wide variety of physical illnesses, from heart disease to cancer, from asthma to strokes. The success rate could be related to 2 major advantages. One, that these groups help members form bonds with each other, thus empowering the rest of their lives; Two, they are low cost or even "no cost" (for example, Alcoholics Anonymous).
Meditative activities are self-directed practices for relaxing the body, strengthening it, and calming the mind. Most meditative exercises were brought to the West from the Far East, particularly India, China, and Japan. The health benefits have long been recognized, especially in Taijiquan. It has not only been explored as a means of reducing stress on both mind and body, it is often recommend as a way of reducing high blood pressure.
Some studies have found that regular practise of such exercises may result in lower healthcare cost. In fact, persistent practise increases longevity, quality of life, reduces chronic pain, reduces anxiety, reduces high blood pressure, reduces serum cholesterol level, reduces substance abuse, increases intelligence-related measures, reduces blood pressure, and lowers blood cortisol levels initially brought on by stress.
Imagery combines both mental process (as in imagining) and a wide variety of behavioural approaches to encourage changes in attitudes, behavior, or physiological reactions. It has proven to be effective in the treatment of cancer to help patients mobilize their immune systems. It also forms part of a multidisciplinary approach to cardiac rehabilitation and in many settings that specialize in treating chronic pain.
Healing by Hypnosis is the induction of trance states, through the use of therapeutic suggestion. Today, it is widely used for addictions, such as smoking and drug use, for pain controls, and for phobias, such as the fear of flying.
Biofeedback is a treatment method using instruments to feed back physiological information to patients themselves. By monitoring the device, patients can learn to adjust, by trial and error, their thinking in order to control bodily processes; previously thought to be involuntary–such as blood pressure, temperature, gastrointestinal functioning, and brain wave activity.
Dance therapy has been demonstrated to be clinically effective in the following: developing body image, improving self-concept and increasing self-esteem; facilitating attention; ameliorating depression, decreasing fears and anxieties, expressing anger; decreasing isolation, increasing communication skills and fostering solidarity; decreasing bodily tension, reducing chronic pain, and enhancing circulatory and respiratory functions; reducing suicidal ideas, increasing feelings of well-being, and promoting healing; and increasing verbalization.
Music therapy is used for people with developmental disabilities, community mental health centers, drug and alcohol programs, senior centers, nursing homes, hospice programs, correctional facilities, halfway houses, schools, and private practice. It has been found that music therapy is effective as an analgesic, as a relaxant and anxiety reducer for infants and children, and as an adjunctive treatment with burn patients, cancer patients, cerebral palsy patients, and stroke, brain injury, or ParkinsonÆs disease patients.
Art therapy is used to reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, and express unspoken and frequently unconscious concerns about a disease. Besides its use in treatment, it can be used to assess individuals, couples, families, and groups.
Prayer and Mental Healing
Generally, there are 2 main types of Prayer and mental healing techniques. In one, the healer enters into an altered state of consciousness in which he views himself and the patient as a single entity. There is usually no physical contact and no attempt to "do anything" or "give something" to the person in need, only the desire to unite and "become one" with him or her and with the Universe, God, or Cosmos. The other type, uses the sense of touch to transmit an energy flow from their hands to the patients’ affected areas. Both Healer and patient claim a feeling of heat arises. Most studies in this area are not conclusive.
Such therapies or activities offer people the chance to be actively involved in their own health care. These are alternative approaches where our medical system nowadays is too technical, impersonal, remote, and "uncaring". The mind-body approach is a reminder of the importance of human connection that releases our own powers of belief that we can control the directions of our life.
Adapted from an article by James Adams.
Reference Source : Alternative Medicine – Expanding Medical Horizons, a report prepared under the auspices of the Workshop on Alternative Medicine, held in Chantilly VA on September 14-16, 1992. National Institutes of Health.
Here are a few tips to guide you when practicing Taijiquan on your own. These tips are meant as a supplement for those who have prior grounding in Taijiquan for at least 1 month. However, we still stand by the importance of a good instructor to check your postures for reasons of health as well as to avoid injury, until the time when you have acquired a certain level of mastery yourself.
Hey Lazybones! Power Up Your Life!
Do you ever feel like you’re getting into a rut despite your good life? You have supportive parents, and your friends, and good relationships, and a great job. What’s hapenning? Well, maybe you need to put a little more action into it. One of the secrets to happiness is being active. Keeping up an exercise will pump you up with endorphins, your body’s natural opiate. When your blood gets flowing, you’ll glow from the inside out. Want more good news? You don’t even need to gear up, and book a fitness class – it isn’t just calisthenics. Simply walking to the store, cycling that rusty bike in your park, exploring the neighborhood, and doing the hula hoop can make you happier, fitter, and firmer. Getting yourself active relieves stress and helps protect you from disease. So stop being a slave to the idiot box for a week and get out there! Real life can be so much more fun.
And if you are a die-hard workaholic and relish being the busy bee, take care not to crowd out your quiet time with your bills and your daily responsibilities. A good way to stop that fatal attraction with your comfy bed waiting invitingly for you, is to add a little action to your life. And one of the best ways to do that is to get your buddy to sign up a class with you. Take a class you’ll find physically or mentally challenging. Bring your buddy to each activity, and you’ll be more likely to shed your inhibitions and less likely to give up when the going gets tough. You will start enjoying your activity together with the sharing of experience. This will probably have a positive effect on you. What better way to spend time with someone (especially a loved one) whilst getting a chance to improve yourself – healthwise?
Taijiquan is about re-discovering your own body dynamics. The emphasis is on finding your own strength and balance, from a series of systematic movements and rhythmic breathing; designed to help you do just that. Furthermore, Taijiquan is not purely just a fitness regime, it is, above all, a mind-intensive workout. The mind-body focus is required so you can evaluate your postures continuously as you work through the movements.
All traditional Taijiquan styles should focus on getting you to breathe naturally (if they are the genuine sort!) as you follow through the movements. As you relax into the routine, your breathing should fall into its own natural rythm which would facilitate the flow of oxygen supply to your muscles and organs, thus increasing your energy levels. Also, as you progress into your routine, your movements should become easier to execute with each successive practice, and this should improve your ability to relax as you work through the motions. This in turn would help maintain your blood pressure within the healthy range. When you become more dexterous, you could actually practise for sustained periods of 1-2 hours without breaking in between, and without panting!
Attention to Posture
The routines are directed at improving your posture and balance. When achieving balance becomes second instinct to you, it helps to prevent you from injury. Due to the strict requirements for proper postulation, Taijiquan helps to develop your instinctive postural alignment so that you become more aware of your muscular, and flexibility limits. Hence, when practising, always ensure that you seek to maintain a continuous body line, with your head straight – relative to your body, that is.
As you practice the routines, you develop flexibility in the joints. You are trained to analyze how your body moves such that you could exert force without straining yourself. Taijiquan has been found to be beneficial to those suffering from arthritis. To go into a bit of specifics here – the wide, sweeping movements and upper-lower body coordination of Chenjiagou Taijiquan helps improve circulation to your extremities. This reduces the possibility of leg cramps and prevents varicose veins since you need to shift your center of gravity during the routines.
Taijiquan is not merely an exercise that will tone your muscles, increase your flexibility, and improve your balance; it is also meant to energize and calm you. It is a great way to loosen up the tension built up during a hectic day.
It is the experience of practicing and repeating the form every day that yields benefits. The inward journey it demands translates into stress reduction, muscular strength, and peace of mind.
Please note that the material below is what we have learnt from our Taijiquan masters. We have tried to re-express their explanations as simply as we could. However, the opinions expressed here are entirely our own (and our masters). You should make your own observations and derive your own conclusions of Chen Style Taijiquan.