Definition - What does Tai Chi mean?
Short for Tai Chi Chuan, Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese healing practice of meditative movements. When practiced correctly, Tai Chi can be considered a form of Qigong, (energy or breath skill), in which gentle, flowing movements are coordinated with the breath, as a means of improving and maintaining energy flow within the body.
Developed originally as a form of martial arts and self-defense, Tai Chi is now practiced worldwide for its host of mind and body benefits. Although the exact historical roots of Tai Chi are widely debated, its origins date back at least 700 years and the practice is most often credited to a Taoist monk, called Zhang Sanfeng.
Yogapedia explains Tai Chi
Tai Chi is a series of continuous, slow and smooth flowing movements. It provides excellent exercise for the body, as well as generating and circulating Qi or energy. The practice helps to unblock Qi pathways, stimulating an effective free flow of energy throughout the body. Tai Chi is thought to improve health, longevity, focus, internal strength and power.
There are many styles of Tai Chi, both traditional and modern. Some focus more on aspects of self-defense and martial arts, whilst others focus more on health maintenance or meditation. Because Tai Chi is a low impact exercise, it is safe for practitioners of all ages and fitness levels.
Tai Chi is based upon a simple but profound philosophy; everything in the universe is made up of two equal yet opposing forces, both of which harmonize with one another to make a whole. This is demonstrated by the classic Taiji diagram of Yin and Yang, in which two opposite parts make a whole, and each one can be found in the other.