Feeling stressed out lately? Why don't you try a relaxing workout that could calm your nerves? T’ai chi ch’uan is an ancient Chinese meditative exercise said to improve balance and strength, as well as to help address high blood pressure and other maladies. It's composed of seemingly effortless ballet-like movements. “In these times when we often neglect our body, t’ai chi is one way of getting back in touch with it,” says Edwin Decenteceo, a psychology teacher who’s been practicing t’ai chi for over 20 years. T’ai chi exercises are made up of a set of forms. Each form consists of a series of positions that come together in one continuous movement. Here, Edwin describes us the Wu style, which involves “waving hands like clouds.” Want to pursue t’ai chi? Have a teacher guide you every step of the way.
1. With feet apart and knees slightly bent, raise both arms in front of you. Have the left hand in your line of vision, palm facing out, and the right hand turned down.
2. With your eyes on your left hand, make a scooping motion to the right, unbending the left leg, and putting your weight on your bent right leg.
3. Then lean your body to the left, bending the left leg, and unbending the right leg. As you do this, bring your left hand closer to your face, palm toward you.
4. Turn your body to the left, bringing your right arm down to your side and raising your left arm.
5. Bring your right leg close to your already bent left leg. While doing this, raise your right arm to meet your raised left arm. The right hand should just slightly touch your left wrist.
6. Slide your right hand from your left wrist down to the side of your left elbow while opening your bent legs.
7. Staying in the previous position, gently lean your body to the right. You can start again from the first position.
(First published as 't'ai chi in the "Your 30 Minutes" section of Good Housekeeping Philippines' March 2001. Adapted for use in FemaleNetwork. Photo by · · · — — — · · · via Flickr Creative Commons.)