There's no such thing as a cure-all and if you're looking for increased wealth or a new relationship then Tai Chi might not help you. But what it will do is profoundly change you as a human being. There are so many ways in which Tai Chi helps you that they could fill a very thick book but here are 5.
Stress and anxiety can be very unpleasant to experience. You feel restless and out of control. Tai Chi practice teaches you to relax. The more you do it the deeper you can relax. The mind and the body are intrinsically connected and so the more you're able to relax your muscles the calmer your mind will become.
In Tai Chi, we practice relaxing whilst moving, holding postures and during partner work. We are training ourselves to maintain a deep level of calmness no matter what happens.
In 2018 there was a study comparing Tai Chi with more traditional forms of exercise for stress reduction. The study concluded that Tai Chi may be superior to normal exercise in this respect. There are other studies showing that Tai Chi reduces stress but more need to be done because anecdotally there is a lot of evidence.
I see how effective Tai Chi is in reducing stress every week in my classes. In the beginning, some people are very tense. After a few classes, they seem more relaxed and at ease. After a few months, they are noticeably much calmer.
If you're constantly tired, feeling sluggish and lacking energy then Tai Chi will help enormously. After your first session, you'll feel something change. A friend of mine likened it to plugging yourself into the mains! By improving your posture and learning to relax you will improve your circulation and your breathing.The better your posture and the better you're breathing the more energy you'll have. Tai Chi really strengthens the legs which improves blood circulation and your general sense of wellness.
A study conducted in 2017 showed that Tai Chi was more effective than conventional therapy for treating fatigue.
I know people that have used Tai Chi to overcome Chronic fatigue and I myself find that the more I practice, the more energy I seem to have.
In my experience, you'll never sleep as deeply as you do after a long Tai Chi session. Because Tai Chi is so good at tackling stress and anxiety it results in you sleeping better. Exercise, in general, is probably good at combating insomnia but when you combine exercise with relaxation and meditation, as Tai Chi does, then the results are even more powerful.
Subjects in a 2011 study reported that Tai Chi made significant improvements in their sleep. The study concluded that Tai Chi was an effective nonpharmacological approach for sleep complaints.
As your body becomes stronger and your mind gets calmer it only seems natural that you will feel more confident. Tai Chi gives you balance, both physically and emotionally as depicted in the Tai Chi symbol (yin yang). I've seen shy, meek students gradually transform as they get stronger.
As a martial art, Tai Chi eventually gives you the ability to hold your ground. When someone pushes, you won't move. This ability can only be achieved through relaxation and is nothing to do with brute force. Once you can hold your own space you won't feel so fragile or defensive around other people because you'll have a tangible measure of your own power.
Tai Chi is well known for it's ability to heal. When nothing else works Tai Chi often can. I know people that have healed their backs, recovered from injuries and rehabilitated themselves after strokes with just Tai Chi.
Back issues are very prevalent in the modern world due to too much sitting and increasingly poor posture. People fork out hundreds of pounds to chiropractors for a momentary fix when they could be learning how to help themselves.
When you improve your posture and your body awareness you will also address your physical issues. Tai Chi works in a very different way to most forms of exercise. By becoming straighter, more relaxed and learning to move in a coherent way you start to develop internal strength. Your internal connective tissue (known as the fascia) is vitally important to your physical well being and Tai Chi is one of the few forms of exercise that strengthen it.
There are numerous studies showing that Tai Chi is effective in treating back pain, stroke rehabilitation, balance, arthritis, osteoporosis, hypertension and much more besides.
There probably isn't a panacea for all of life's problems but Tai Chi comes pretty close!