Wednesday 6.30pm – 8.00pm, £7/£5 Class held at the East Oxford Community Centre, Downstairs Hall, Cowley Road on the corner of Princes Street.
These are gentle exercise classes to improve your health, fitness, flexibility, strength and ability to relax. No experience is necessary and beginners are always welcome. The level of exercise is controlled by the degree to which you bend your legs so it is suitable for all ages, no matter how unfit you feel.
Stress is a combination of physical and mental tension causing tiredness, stiffness and disease. Tai chi corrects posture, deepens and relaxes your breathing and improves your circulation. By learning a new and complex pattern of movement you can break bad physical habits and fully absorb your mind in what you are doing. This helps to clear and refresh the mind. Tai chi couples muscular activity with an internally directed focus so that you produce a temporary self-contemplative mental state. This internal focus is in contrast to conventional body-centred aerobic and muscular fitness exercises in which there is little or no mindful component. Research on tai chi reveals that it has significant mental and physical values, which lead to mental and physical relaxation.
The movements of tai chi hand form are slow and circular with the whole body in constant motion; they are also efficient since one of their aims is to eliminate unnecessary muscle action. The body is moved through a far greater range of positions than in most other exercise systems, balancing the major muscle groups, loosening and strengthening of the body. The movements are directed from your waist, the body’s centre of gravity, giving them a pleasant natural grace.
Like other forms of moderate exercise, regular practice of tai chi’s yin exercises will leave you feeling invigorated and refreshed, giving you extra energy to restore and strengthen your body. However, they also have the advantage that they are enjoyable to do rather than being a chore. They can be done anywhere and adapted to suit your changing level of fitness by increasing or decreasing the bend in your legs: your body becomes your own gymnasium.
Tension in the body is intimately connected with tension in the mind. Tai chi’s release of physical tension also eases mental stress; and a calmer mind, in turn, leads to a more relaxed body: so regular practice of tai chi develops an ever increasing sense of well-being.