Tai Chi Exercises Both Mind and Body
Centuries-old practice gains new followers.
Tai Chi and Weight continued...
Johnson says tai chi also speaks to the mental aspect of being
When you're overeating and not moving enough, your body becomes stressed, he
says. Practicing tai chi gets you in touch with your body and makes you more
aware of its needs.
''If our body becomes more centered,'' says Johnson, ''we don’t need to be
compulsively consuming food.''
Tai chi may also help you deal with emotions that can trigger overeating,
''A lot of times, people are eating for reasons that have nothing to do with
nourishment,'' Conner says. ''We need a way to get in touch with what’s really
Tai chi's mental benefits can also give us the perspective we need to make
wiser food choices.
''A lot of our dietary choices are based on our state of stress and
anxiety," says Douglas. "After a stressful day, we’re hardly ever drawn to
steamed broccoli. We crave greasy, salty food that helps us forget about the
stress of the day.''
Take 20 minutes to do a little tai chi, he says, and ''your palate has a
whole different need. You’re not denying yourself; you’re just more in tune to
what the body is really asking for."
Choosing a Class
Thinking about trying out tai chi? Here are some tips to help you find a
class that's right for you:
- Visit at least 2 classes, if possible. Most instructors allow you to visit
or sample a class free or for a minimal charge before joining.
- See if you feel comfortable with the teacher and like his or her
- Ask the teacher about his or her experience. Questions to ask include: How
long have you been practicing? How long have you taught? Who is your
- Speak to the students in the class. Ask them what they like about it, and
what keeps them coming back.
- Make sure you enjoy the class. If it’s not fun for you, you won’t want to
go, and you won’t reap the benefits.
- Keep in mind that before starting any new exercise regime, it's a good idea
to check with your doctor.