Wellness trends come and go nearly as quickly as fashion trends. One week, Zumba is the best thing for you while the next it might be the Atkins diet. However, one thing that is turning heads and changing lives is kai chi do. What is it, and how could it help you become a happier and healthier individual?
There are many benefits to this practice, and it can really make a difference in your life and well-being. Here’s what beginners should know.
What Is Kai Chi Do?
Kai chi do is the brainchild of Charles Robinson, a mental health counselor with degrees in psychology and education. In the 1970s, Robinson was teaching meditation to a group when he got the idea for a non-martial art that could serve as a low-impact aerobic exercise. It is described as a type of movement meditation pairing with music and breathing. It also incorporates the five elements of Chinese medicine — earth, air, fire, water and root.
Each element describes a different part of kai chi do. The root is similar to mindfulness, bringing you into the present moment. Air describes the breathing patterns, similar to those that you would find in tai chi or yoga. Fire is speed and intensity, and water is the flow from one movement to the next. Earth helps to ground you throughout the kai chi do flow.
Now that you know the basics of what kai chi do is, how could this non-martial art help you?
The Benefits of Kai Chi Do
This non-martial art is based on the Chinese medicine concept of Qi, or the lines of vital energy that flow through the body. In traditional Chinese medicine, your vital energy needs to remain balanced — yin and yang. If you have too little qi or too much, or those lines are blocked, it can throw your entire body out of balance, resulting in injury, illness or addiction.
Kai chi do combines breath control, music and movement to free up the flow of these vital energies throughout your body. This is beneficial for anyone who might need to manage their stress levels or restore a healthy sleep pattern.
Other health benefits are similar to another low-impact martial art — tai chi. Both involve slow and purposeful movements and controlled breathing. Practicing either tai chi or kai chi do can help encourage weight loss, decrease anxiety and depression symptoms, and even help people manage chronic conditions like fibromyalgia.
We do recommend that you speak with your doctor before beginning any exercise regimen, no matter how low impact it may seem. It’s always best to ensure you’re healthy enough for physical activity before you start practicing kai chi do or any other martial art.
How to Get Started with Kai Chi Do
If this sounds like something you think you could benefit from, you might be wondering how to get started with this non-martial art. Check to see if there are any kai chi do classes available in your area. You might be able to do this yourself, but it’s always a good idea to have an instructor on hand to ensure you’re breathing and moving correctly. As with any other exercise, proper form is essential to prevent injuries.
If you live in an area that doesn’t offer kai chi do classes, you can still try this non-martial art for yourself. Charles Robinson, the creator of kai chi do, has some basics videos you can watch on YouTube and follow along. Again, make sure you’re paying close attention to your form so you can enjoy your kai chi do practice without injury.
From there, all you have left to do is practice. As with any martial art or exercise regimen, the more you do it, the better you will feel. Try to maintain a regular regimen so you become more comfortable and confident in your abilities. As time goes by, you will move from novice to expert, and may even want to share your newfound skills with others.
Take Things One Step at a Time
Kai chi do may have been around since the 1970s, but it is beginning to gain more popularity as a tool for weight loss, spiritual growth, addiction recovery and overall wellness. Kai chi do is low impact, making it ideal for anyone, regardless of age or ability.
Whether you’re an active person looking for a way to change up your workout routine or someone who is trying to find a way to stay active during recovery, kai chi do may be the best option for you. Try out a class or pop open your computer and follow along with some moves. You might be surprised at how good you feel afterward, and that feeling is what keeps you coming back for more.