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Mekong River Cruise Experiences: Morning Tai Chi Class

All passengers onboard a Mekong River Cruise may start a new day with a Tai Chi exercise on the sundeck with the guidance of a staff member, while the cruise glides through the authentic landscapes of the mighty delta. It’s an interesting experience with a lot of benefits, so read on and find out more about this special morning class.



What is Tai Chi?

Tai Chi Chuan (often known as simply Tai Chi), which translates literally as "ultimate shadow boxing", began centuries ago as a form of self-defense. Nowadays, this ancient martial art is quickly becoming one of the most popular forms of exercise in the west and is practiced by millions of people in the east.



More than just keeping the body physically healthy, Tai Chi is recognized for its meditative qualities as well as its ability to control stress and mood. It's no surprise that Tai Chi has become so popular across the world given its comparatively easy learning requirements for novices of all ages.


History of Tai Chi

Tai Chi draws its fundamental ideas from its almost 4,000-year-old Chinese form, qigong (pronounced "chi gung"). The cultivation and balance of qi, sometimes referred to as chi, is paramount to qigong. Simple practices concentrating on physical motions, regulated breathing, or meditation are used to establish spiritual harmony.



Through the centuries, a number of qigong styles have developed, each with differing degrees of focus on the body, breath, or mind. And Tai Chi, a relatively recent branch of qigong, had its first appearance in the latter half of the 16th century.


Martial Art of Tai Chi

Tai Chi was first developed as a martial art for self-defense, and it now incorporates many of the same concepts of its predecessor. Therefore, physical motions that emphasize strength and flexibility take precedence over meditation and healing. Tai Chi's cloud hands and parting the horse's mane are employed to deflect the opponent's blows, much as Mr. Miyagi's wax-on/wax-off and paint the fence gestures in The Karate Kid.



Tai Chi enables chi to flow throughout the entire body, in contrast to qigong, which focuses on a particular area of the body. The movements are more intricate and include both the lower and upper part as they are coordinated with the person's breathing patterns. Tai Chi uses the force of water to create movements that flow smoothly into one another while remaining in motion. Additionally, the four limbs are always moving, thus the practitioner must learn to achieve and keep bodily balance.


Schools of Tai Chi

There are five main kinds of Tai Chi, and each one is named after the Chinese family that created it. Just like the different types of qigong, each focuses on different aspects of the body or mind.

Chen style, which was created in 1580, is the earliest form of Tai Chi. It emphasizes fast movements like those in a traditional martial art. Chen style can be harder for beginners because it needs strength and agility to do powerful punches and high jumps.



For two hundred years, only members of the Chen family learned the Chen style of martial arts. Then, a man named Yang Luchan became the first person outside the family to learn it. In 1799, he invented a new way of doing Tai Chi. This is the most well-liked form that people do today. Yang style is different from Chen style because it has slower and more graceful movements which help to make your body more flexible and give you the internal benefits of Tai Chi.


Tai Chi Benefits

Regularly practicing Tai Chi can provide many benefits:

- Reduced tension

- Improved mood

- Increased ability to move and stability

- Better-looking and stronger muscles

- Enhanced sleep quality

- Lower chance of falling for the older adults



Tai Chi on board Mekong River Cruises

In Southeast Asia, the beautiful views of the river and bay are the best setting for a refreshing morning workout to begin your day of excitement. Every day, Tai Chi sessions are held on board Mekong River Cruise with a master guiding you each slow movement.



There are a lot of fascinating experiences onboard Mekong River Cruises and Tai Chi class is a special activity for early risers. Waking up early and warming up with a slow exercise will give you full energy for a long day of excursions in the Mekong River. For more information on a Mekong voyage, feel free to contact our cruise experts at any time. 

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