The Benefits Of Yoga vs. Tai Chi

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Benefits of yoga

Benefits of yoga

 

The  benefits of Yoga is an ancient Indian practice consisting of breathing exercises and meditation sessions, geared towards enhancement of both physical and mental health. Typically, Yoga instruction varies between persons depending on their needs.

As of late, it is commonly practiced to gain mental tranquility and to relieve stress. A usual Yoga session features various postures or positions on the floor; this can either be carried out in standing or sitting position.

The technique often depends on the arms to offer body support hence developing strength. This at times can result in pressure on shoulders and wrists, but changes can be adopted to lessen the pain.

On the other hand, Tai Chi originated from China and dates back to 1300 AD. It is generally a soft martial arts technique, developed to work out the joints and muscles using subtle and low impact strokes. In practice it involves standing postures or positions with gentle strides.

The legs are used to support the body while the arms make graceful and slow movements in the air. The posture is maintained to ensure that the body is in unvarying motion. It is recommended that the movement should originate from the abdomen and back, and not from the shoulders or arms.

However, despite the innate similarities between Yoga and Tai Chi, they have unique differences in terms of benefits.

Medical Benefits

Since time immemorial, Yoga and Tai Chi have been credited as effective pain relieving treatments for certain ailments. For instance, MayoClinic.com claims that regular Yoga sessions can lower blood pressure, reduce heart rate, alleviate symptoms of depression and relieve pain across the body.

Similarly, the Harvard Health Publication purports that Tai Chi can offset effects of arthritis, Parkinson’s disease and high blood pressure. In summary it has been medically proven that both techniques improve the quality of life of heart disease and cancer patients. In addition, patients who practice yoga have shown drastic improvements in depression and anxiety. Other health benefits of yoga include alleviating constipation, better sleep patterns and reduction in bone related ailments.

Stress Management

Yoga teachings, and by extension benefits, are grouped into 3 aspects – physical, mental, and spiritual. The physical aspect features flexibility and balance. This aspect has been known to increase energy and vitality, facilitate breathing, relieve pain, result in weight loss, and rejuvenate one’s passion for life.

The physical aspect is also responsible for building body muscle, alleviating carpal tunnel syndrome and asthma. The mental aspect offers mental relaxation, especially when dealing with stressful situations, by fostering positive thinking and reaffirming self-worth. Lastly, the spiritual aspect facilitates consciousness of one’s body, feelings and environment. This promotes reliance between the mind, body and spirit.

Tai Chi is also effective in causing mental relaxation and relieving stress. The technique is known for developing body balance, strength and flexibility. The body exercises help in reducing stress, building stamina and rejuvenating the body. Since it applies low impact exercises, it is ideal for aged students and those ailing from arthritis.

However, stillness of Yoga exercises ‘speaks to your soul’ hence it enhances meditation, thus relieving stress first. Nevertheless, if you fancy the constant body movements of Tai Chi as opposed to the stillness of yoga postures, then Tai Chi might be more suitable to relieve your stress.

Body Balance

Despite common perceptions that Tai Chi is more suitable for improving body balance, studies have shown yoga to be more effective, especially in standing postures. Most critics credit Tai Chi because of its slow and gentle body movements over yoga’s relatively strenuous body movements.

However, research has shown that yoga’s emphasis on static movements makes it more suitable for improving body balance. As earlier pointed out, the physical aspect of yoga builds body muscle and re-energizes the body which is vital for effective body coordination and balance.

Injury Recovery

Tai Chi and Yoga are both effective in assisting you to recover from injury, however the choice depends on the nature and location of injuries sustained. Tai Chi exercises are best suited for back and upper torso injures since the body movements are less strenuous and the focus is more on gentle spine movement.

The shoulder and abdomen movements applied in Tai Chi are ideal for spine injury healing and any other back complications. On the other hand, yoga is essentially a pain relieving exercise most suitable for joint injuries. Yoga has been adopted by physiotherapists especially when treating wounded soldiers returning from war. The deep relaxation benefits of yoga have also been found to be effective in hastening recovery periods.

In conclusion Tai Chi is more of a practice of the mind, while yoga is a practice of the mind and body. Additionally, yoga uses the arms to support the weight of the body, while Tai Chi exercises fully depend on the legs to carry the weight of the body. Tai Chi and yoga offer numerous benefits ranging from good health, better stress management to improved body balance. However, it is advisable to learn either Tai Chi or yoga under qualified instructor. Attending these classes will help you avoid causing unnecessary injuries to your body and it will make the whole experience more enjoyable.

Bio
Jamie Cody is a writer for center networks and often writes about technology and reviews on various products and services like hosting.

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