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imagesMost people who come for T’ai Chi Chih (TCC) lessons do it for physical reasons, either because of ailments or because they feel it will help them in the areas of energy, hypertension, and so forth. Thus, they think of TCC practice as a form of therapy, which it undoubtedly is. However, they may later find that they have derived much deeper benefits—spiritual benefits—which they did not expect.

T’ai Chi in Chinese means “Supreme Ultimate,” and is a synonym for Tao (“the Oneness or Origin of All Things”). Chih can be translated as “Knowledge” or “Clarity.” Thus, T’ai Chi Chih leads us to knowledge of the Supreme Ultimate, through knowledge of ourselves. In T’ai Chi Chih movements, the secret is in learning to stimulate, circulate, and balance the body’s intrinsic energy, known as chi (also spelled “qi”), so that we can bring about rejuvenation, healing, and a profound change in our state of mind.

T’ai Chi Chih consists of 19 simple, repetitive, non-strenuous movements and one (1) pose, which involve no physical contact, but rather emphasize a soft, flowing continuity of motion. Very little practice space is required: the movements can easily be performed wherever there is enough space to stand and take a few steps in any direction. T’ai Chi Chih can be performed by anyone, regardless of age or physical condition. The substantial benefits of T’ai Chi Chih are surprisingly easy to realize with regular practice.

The practice of T’ai Chi Chih promotes feelings of well-being, relaxation, inner peace, and serenity; stimulates creativity and intuition; increases longevity; and has a tonic, balancing effect on physical health. Some of the specific physical benefits attributed to T’ai Chi Chih include improved breathing, circulation, lowering blood pressure, improved vision, and flexibility; improvements in chronic ailments (asthma, arthritis, rheumatism, and HIV, for example) and all forms of addictions and recovery from (drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, abuse, trauma and PTSD); helps strengthened bones; and weight control.

T’ai Chi Chih is also a form of meditation (a moving meditation) and as such, can be a path of spiritual growth.

By changing the quality of the chi through TCC practice,  going back to the cause of a particular imbalance and erasing it so that the effect will be diminished or will disappear.

In this respect, T’ai Chi Chih has the same deep purpose as yoga and zen, but it is a much easier practice. Few are capable of following either a zen or yogic lifestyle to its deepest levels, particularly in our busy society. However, we can practice T’ai Chi Chih, and the spiritual benefits we can derive can be very meaningful and very deep.