Tai Chi for Sports
Tai Chi is awesome as a sports training tool because its goal is to cultivate balance, calm, and power. Those are three things one needs to excel in any physical activity. During Tai Chi practice you learn about the lower dan tien, which is an energy center located just below the navel. Tai Chi players are taught to move from their dan tien, which is their center of gravity. This is especially helpful for skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, and skiing. Likewise, in baseball, golf, tennis and racquetball to hit the ball you swing from the center, or dan tien. Let's take baseball; Tai Chi's ability to improve balance is excellent for infielders, who move and reach quickly and sharply. And just before going into a pitch, a pitcher must hold his/her balance on one leg for several seconds. This point of balance can determine the force and accuracy of the pitch.
The concept of swinging from the dan tien may also help reduce "golfer's back" because by creating the swing from below the navel there is less twisting of the lower back. This relaxed motion allows the entire force of the dan tien's turning to be projected outward through the hands and club into the ball. Many golfers discover that they can drive the ball much farther after practicing Tai Chi for only a few months.
The same force used in golf also works for tennis and racquetball. In addition, consciously moving from the dan tien can lessen the pressure on the knees, especially through all the quick stops of the game.
Of course, the mental acuity, balance and self-esteem Tai Chi encourages, is beneficial for other types of sports as well, such as football and soccer. It is well known that the LA Lakers basketball team used Tai Chi as part of their training.
As a triathlete, I use Tai Chi as both a warm-up for my regular workouts and also as an "off day" exercise that is soothing to my joints, yet still keeps my mind and body focused. As an added bonus, with each deep breath I visualize stocking up my energy reserves in my lower dan tien so I can draw from those when I really need them, like on that last mile of the course! It helps a lot!
Carolyn Cooper is the founder of Tai Chi Flow, Inc., which offers a series of DVDs including Tai Chi Flow for Kids, Tai Chi Flow for Pregnancy, and Tai Chi Flow for Everybody. As an Energy Intuitive, she is also the founder and teacher of Calyco Healing. a unique energy healing modality in which anyone can learn to heal themselves and others. Carolyn publishes a popular e-newsletter called "Living in the Flow". www.TaiChiFlow.com / www.CalycoHealing.com
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Tai Chi Flow for Everybody
Tai Chi Flow is a medley of calming Qigong exercises and Tai Chi movements woven together in an effective, viewer-friendly form. This contemporary approach to an often mystical ancient art is a wonderful introduction for students of all ages and fitness levels to the variety of health benefits that Tai Chi has to offer. Because this program requires no special equipment or previous knowledge of Tai Chi, it is easy to follow right along with.
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Children today are faced with more challenges than ever before. The mindful exercises of Tai Chi Flow teach them how to thrive healthfully in our rapidly changing world. The slow, graceful movements help kids develop an inner awareness and give them a calm center to return to. Woven within these health-enhancing movements are positive affirmations relating to confidence, courage, respect for self and others, gratitude, patience, and more. Guided by long time Tai Chi kids instructor, Carolyn Cooper, with lots of help from kids ages 4-ll, these simplified qigong and Tai Chi movements are easy enough for kids to do on their own, yet entertaining enough to become a favorite family activity!
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Following the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists guidelines, this one of a kind program is appropriate for all trimesters of pregnancy, and may even be done sitting down. Studies show the slow, rhythmic movements of Tai Chi provide all the benefits of a rigorous workout without the potentially harmful side effects. It boosts energy, stamina and mental clarity, as well as increasing muscle tone and flexibility.
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