Taijiquan for your Health

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.

Breathing Pattern
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.

Flexibility
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.

How to Condition your body to do the Splits in Taijiquan

Basically, you have to condition your body by doing stretches.  Yes, stretches!   Below is a very comprehensive stretch routine that you can follow.  These are very good for doing those splits in Taijiquan, like the diecha.   Please take note of the following:

  1. DON’T do stretches more than once per day
  2. DO rest 20 seconds after each stretch
  3. DON’T stretch to the point of intense pain!  Take care that you do not pull (or tear) your muscles.
  4. And very IMPORTANT before you begin, please, please, please don’t forget  to warm-up your body before performing any of these exercises!!! 
  5. Please do the stretches in the order given above.  This is important because the stretch routine attempts to stretch a muscle fully before using that muscle to sustain a following stretch.

Here goes :
   1. lower back stretches
   2. sitting buttock stretch
   3. groin & inner-thigh stretch
   4. standing calf stretch
   5. standing hamstring stretch
   6. standing inner-thigh stretch
   7. quadricep stretch
   8. sitting L-shaped stretch

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How much should I weigh?

Since muscle weighs more per volume than fat, and you want to have firm muscles throughout your body, you may weigh more than you thought was average for your height and build. There is no ideal bodyweight. While some body fat is essential to sustain life, it is generally thought that a healthy bodyfat percentage for males is 8-20% and for females is 13-25%.