(6 pages total)
wise company knows that its success is dependent upon its most valuable resource: its employees. The number of wellness programs springing up throughout our country's corporations today is a testimony to this fundamental truth.
Ironically, the timeless holistic fitness system of Taijiquan (T'ai Chi Ch'uan) meets the modern criteria for keeping all employees healthy in mind, body, and spirit. At the same time Taijiquan, which some translate as "Supreme Ultimate", complies to the needs of the bottom line of a company. Taijiquan can be inexpensively implemented while keeping employee productivity levels high.
One of the main problems that companies deal with in the competitive marketplace is stress on the job. A Newsweek magazine cover story was devoted to this insidious problem of stress. The article stated that stress is costing our "economy as high as $150 billion a year-almost the size of the federal deficit."(1) Within the same article they mentioned that the "Cambridge Research Lab in Boston offers a class in the oriental art of Taijiquan to help its workers blow off steam."(2)
Stress can be a killer and a culprit for disease. It is responsible for much waste and devastation in our society. Stress also robs us of other important factors on which companies need to thrive, such as innovation, flexibility, motivation, endurance, and creativity. The principles of Taijiquan are an embodiment of these essentials for achieving success, but not at the cost of tension or anxiety.
With the reduction of stress, the practice of Taijiquan has proven to reduce high blood pressure. In a low bent knee position, Taijiquan has shown to be a cardiovascular stimulating exercise without stress or strain on the joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments.(3)
What is Taijiquan? (T'ai Chi Ch'uan)
Taijiquan has been described as "swimming on land". It also is comparable to slow motion walking, but with gentle, soft, and rounded movements performed slowly and with precision. A centered mind directs the flowing graceful movements that makes this fitness discipline aesthetically pleasing to watch as a "moving meditation". Taijiquan principles are based on the premise that since life is constantly moving and changing we need to learn to cope and "roll with the punches", so we don't get stuck or get knocked off our center. Through the practice of Taijiquan one can cultivate a strong center, an open mind, and flexibility at the same time. Taijiquan is for health and self-defense. But this is an internal martial art, and does not profess brute strength or muscle in its practice.
Taijiquan In China: Past and Today
If Taijiquan is so good, then why don't we know more about it in this country? Part of the reason is that for centuries Taijiquan was practiced in isolation by the Chinese. Not until the Cultural Revolution did Taijiquan become better known to the rest of the world by Master teachers who were fleeing their beloved homeland and emigrating to other parts of the world to teach their soft internal martial art. Fortunately for the Chinese people, Taijiquan was found to be such a healthy discipline possessing both preventive and curative benefits that Taijiquan was adopted by the Chinese government to be taught in their public schools. Today, foreign visitors to China can watch millions of people practice in parks and plazas, performing this graceful dance-like discipline in the early morning hours.
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