How tai chi helps overcome stress and trauma

One of tai chi’s benefits is helping us overcome stress and traumatic ordeals. It is a movement practice that can allow us to feel centered and calm.

Benefits of Group Tai Chi

Tai chi can be done with a group or individually and is often taught in groups with others. The group energy helps us to compose ourselves. Practicing taiji with others brings a unity and togetherness which is experienced both individually and as a collective.

Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, New York Times bestselling author of The Body Keeps the Score, specialises in recovery from trauma through understanding the neuroscience of traumatic stress.

Dr van der Kolk on StressHis research has demonstrated how effective mind-body treatment approaches are. He specifically mentions the benefits from modalities including neurofeedback, meditation, yoga, mindfulness, and sensory integration methods such as dance and movement. Tai Chi is easily added to this list.

In a video (to be found here) Dr van der Kolk talks about how throwing a ball with a child can help develop the skill of adjusting to the rhythms of another, and the ability of attuning into the other person.

Doing some form of movement together with others (like working a tai chi form in a group), re-establishes rhythms which are important for treating disruptive behaviours in ourselves, This encourages us as adults to develop a biology that can sync with the biology of others around us. In other words, it helps promote co-operation.

“We get to know ourselves because other people know us. When nobody knows us, we don’t know ourselves” says Dr van der Kolk. Practicing tai chi with others can achieve just that.

The skill of being present in the moment

Dr van der Kolk goes on to explain in his next video (to be found here) about the relation between being present and healing from stress.

The main avenues to learn how to be focused and present in the here and now are practices like yoga and the traditional mind arts, like tai chi. These sequences of movements that are synced with breath work, have a meditative effect on the mind and the body.

In order to learn the tai chi forms, you need to pay attention to each part of your body and the specifics of how your limbs need to be held and moved.
This practice gives one the time to be present within your body, noticing your feelings and what’s going on in your body. This kind of awareness helps those feeling highly stressed become more present and calm.

Classes in Johannesburg to de-stress

De-stressing Tai Chi at Secret SunsetTo learn more about how Mings Martial Arts’ Tai Chi lessons can help you handle stress better, come and try a complimentary first session and speak to Leo, to find out more.

Our Beginners classes are in Parkview on Tuesdays at 18:15, Thursdays at 17:30 and Saturdays at 8:30.

For more info contact your Sifu, Leo Low Ming, on 0833780468.