The question has been raised asking why business leaders practice tai chi. Today’s executive faces stresses and challenges like never before. Is it really possible that the best answer to all their problems is an ancient Chinese exercise? Investor’s Business Daily is calling tai chi (pronounced tie-chee) the newest trend among busy executives. Known for its unique stress-busting abilities, tai chi also has many documented health benefits: It has been shown to lower blood pressure, decrease pain, improve sleep, and even help reverse diabetes.
However, it is its ability to teach one to “let go” and “live in the moment” that makes tai chi such a powerful tool for high-stress, type A executives. Tai chi imparts numerous mental as well as physiological benefits. The cultivation of inner calm the practice of tai chi confers extends far beyond the exercise session.
Tai chi is actually a martial branch of qigong (pronounced chee-gung), which used to be a secret internal energy practice of monks and the Chinese elite. Today, however, tai chi is mostly taught as a series of smooth, slow, and gentle movements, sometimes known as a “moving meditation.” Tai chi also trains your breathing, which can very effectively and quickly induce profound effects on your body and mind.
The simple but powerful exercises of tai chi reprogram the mind to stay calmer during high-stress situations, which allows for clearer thinking and faster decision making. Ancient Chinese rulers were taught specific postures and breathing to maintain their focus and alertness during hours of official meetings. Jonathan Miller, former CEO of America Online and current CEO of Digital Media at News Corp, says, “I work in a high-stress environment—turning around a major Fortune 400 corporation. Stress tends to disperse one’s energy. I have found that Chen tai chi enhances one’s focus.”
According to Forbes, Terremark Chairman/CEO Manuel Medina even believes that practicing tai chi is the key to his success! Studies are now showing tai chi improves decision making, and heightens creativity. The Mayo Clinic, the National Institutes of Health, Oprah, Dr. Oz, and many other high profile figures are now recommending tai chi for better focus, concentration, and overall well-being. “Tai chi gives me a stronger focus, better crisis management skills, and it controls my asthma so that I’m off my medications,” says Elizabeth Holmes, business manager of a food processing company in Boston, who takes private tai chi lessons.
Whether just a few exercises performed while seated before a meeting or a full tai chi form during breaks in your office, the regular practice of tai chi is guaranteed to better your state of mind and your health.