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Video: Tai chiBy Mayo Clinic staff
Tai chi is a series of gentle physical exercises and stretches. Each posture flows into the next without pause, ensuring that your body is in constant motion. Tai chi is sometimes described as meditation in motion because it promotes serenity through gentle movements — connecting the mind and body.
Originally developed in ancient China for self-defense, tai chi evolved into a graceful form of exercise that's now used for stress reduction and to help with a variety of other health conditions.
Tai chi has many different styles. Each style has its own subtle emphasis on various tai chi principles and methods. As a result, there are more than 100 possible movements and positions with tai chi.
Regardless of the variation, all forms of tai chi include rhythmic patterns of movement that are coordinated with breathing to help you achieve a sense of inner calm.
- Seaward BL. Managing Stress. 6th ed. Sudbury, Mass.: Jones and Bartlett Publishers; 2009:445.
- Tai chi: An introduction. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/taichi/introduction.htm. Accessed Aug. 29, 2012.
- AskMayoExpert. Tai chi. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2012.