156705 Best Taiji (T'ai Chi) practices: Essential aspects of traditional curriculum and methods of training

Monday, November 5, 2007: 1:30 PM

Yang Yang, PhD , Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL
Traditional Taiji exercise yields health benefits that may be categorized as either skill related, therapeutic, or holistic. The best Taiji practices are those that are adaptable to the practitioner and allow him or her to realize these benefits in the shortest amount of time.

Defining best Taiji practices is seemingly confounded by 1) the many orthodox “styles” of Taiji and partisan disagreements between camps, and 2) the common misunderstanding that Taiji practice is simply slow choreographed movement. While the different styles of Taiji do vary in outward appearance, the principles of Taiji movement and practice remain the same across styles. Understanding the principles of practice and mechanics of the movement—as opposed to memorizing styles of choreography—is what is important in understanding Taiji movement. Even so, however, potential differences in the complexity of movement and range of motion should be considered when designing efficient and adaptable curriculum.

Although Taiji is commonly equated with slow, choreographed movement, other exercises are equally important for efficient practice. The oral and written traditions of China are replete with references to the importance of sitting and standing meditation exercises, and the two-person practice of push-hands is also an integral aspect of traditional training. An understanding of the methods and purposes of these different aspects of traditional Taiji training, and of the interrelatedness and interdependency of various exercises, is also essential for designing efficient Taiji curriculum.

Learning Objectives:
1. Articulate the benefits (anecdotal and evidence-based) of Taiji practice. 2. Recognize different components of traditional Taiji training and understand the primary purpose of the individual and combined exercises. 3. Experience the essence of traditional Taiji training using an evidence-based program designed for research on the efficacy of Taiji for older adults.

Keywords: Alternative Medicine/Therapies, Certification

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? Yes

Name of Organization Clinical/Research Area Type of relationship
Center For Taiji Studies Taiji and qigong Employment (includes retainer), Sole proprietor of Taiji instructional school and Speaker's bureau and teaching engagements

Any company-sponsored training? Yes
Did the company pay your travel and lodging? Yes
Were you provide you with slides as part of the training sessions? No
Did you receive an honorarium or consulting fee for participating in the training? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.