Table 1.

Key features of tai chi

MindfulnessAwareness of the current moment is cultivated during tai chi by focusing on the body’s position, movements, and sensations
ImageryImages are used as a learning strategy (eg, one of the moves is called wave hands like clouds)
Structural alignmentMovements are biomechanically efficient, calling for the least amount of effort
Flexibility and relaxationCircular and flowing motions provide dynamic stretching and help to shift the body and mind into a state of deeper relaxation
Strength and balancePlacing weight on one foot at a time in a slightly flexed position leads to greater strength in the lower extremities and improved balance
Natural breathingRhythmic breathing with movement appears to improve gas exchange and promote calmness
Social supportPositive interactions within a community give a sense of belonging and support
Integration of body, mind, and spiritTai chi creates a practical framework for living a more holistic life
  • Adapted from Wayne.3