Wisely and Slowly

By Linda Ebeling, Master Trainer, Minneapolis, USA.

The Tai Chi principles state that we should move slowly. Let’s examine the benefits of moving slowly for improved Tai Chi practice and physical benefit.
Slow allows for Mindful Movement: Tai Chi is frequently called meditation in motion. Moving slowly allows us to access that mind body connection, key into our breath, and promotes relaxation.
Moving slowly builds the Slow Twitch muscles: Slow twitch muscles support joints, help maintain proper posture, and improve flow of blood and oxygen to muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints.
Moving slowly engages the Fascia: The fascia is connective tissue that surrounds, encapsulates and connects muscles and organs within the body, much like the sections of an orange. This tissue needs to be fluid and able to slide. Slow motion and dynamic stretching allow this to happen. Conversely, this does not happen with fast movement.
Slow motion is good for the tendons, ligaments and joints: When moving slowly, we can properly align the joints for safe movement. Slow movement increases flexibility and aids dynamic stretching. This increases blood flow to these areas.

Slow is safe: Mindful stepping, postural awareness and proper alignment take time.

There are many physical reasons for moving slowly as we do our Tai Chi, yet it will deepen our technique as well.

Slow allows you to incorporate the rest of the Tai Chi Principles:  Posture, proper weight transfer, resistance, song and jing are all built on slow movement.