Marueen Caldwell has over 25 years of group fitness experience in both water and land including training in various forms of Tai Chi and Qi gong. She teaches traditional forms of Tai Chi in the Yang, Chen and Sun Styles. As a Senior Trainer for Tai Chi for Health, she also teaches several health forms including seated Tai Chi.
What is Tai Chi?
Tai Chi is an exercise based on martial arts yet practiced slowly and purposefully embracing the mind, body and spirit. Tai Chi originated in ancient China, and is one of the most effective exercises for health of mind and body. It can be easy to learn and therefore quickly delivers its health benefits. Tai Chi can be practiced at any skill level that a person desires and can be a lifelong way to maintain a desired level of health.
What is Qigong?
Qigong (pronounced “chee-gung”) is a collection of basic tai chi-style movements, massages, and energetic practices that improves the circulation and balance of the body’s vitality or “life force energy”. Instead of a continuous progression from one position to the next, as occurs in the tai chi “form”, qigong movements are simple and discrete, often pared down to a repeating pattern or a stationary meditative pose. When practiced regularly with conscious breathing and mindful awareness, qigong stimulates the body’s inherent healing energy and fosters its healthful flow throughout the body. In addition to health maintenance, qigong is especially valued for its regenerative qualities supporting individuals with minor or serious illnesses, injuries, energy blocks whether deficiencies or excesses, and emotional/spiritual disbalances. The basic individual movements are relatively easy to learn and to practice, providing the additional value of discernible benefits with a modest investment of time.
What are the benefits of Tai Chi and Qigong?
Practitioners often praise Tai Chi’s deep physiological or spiritual benefits, but what has attracted the attention of research scientists lately is what Tai Chi does for the body. In the past 10 years studies have come out backed by solid science and research proving that regular practice of Tai Chi can improve health. For instance, ten years agoe Scientists at the Oregon Research Institute in Eugene reported that Tai Chi offers the greatest benefit to older men and women who are healthy but relatively inactive. There are volumes of work and studies have showing that Tai Chi practiced regularly helps reduce falls among healthy seniors. More recently the Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi, supported through cutting-edge research that the long-standing claims that Tai Chi also has a beneficial impact on the health of the heart, bones, nerves and muscles, immune system, and the mind. There is plenty of evidenced-based research to support the claims of many health benefits. No matter the study, no matter the style one thing is consistent in the research; the practice of Tai Chi has to be regular and it needs to follow the same basic principles.
It's a myth that Tai Chi is a difficult art to learn. A person can learn basic fundamentals the very first day and put them into practice.
Practicing any level of Tai Chi or Qi Gong generates health benefits. You pick and practice the level you want; basic, intermediate or advances. It is a lifetime skill you will always have with you.
There is no special equipment, you can practice anywhere anytime. In the office, on travel or in the park with a group of friends, tai chi is the most flexible form of exercise that can fit any fitness level and lifestyle.