By Hope Rehab client X
Most of us are going to be physically out-of-shape by the time we reach rehab, and Tai Chi offers a great way to begin regaining our fitness. It is a low-impact activity that we will likely feel comfortable doing no matter what our current level of physical fitness. Tai Chi gently improves our flexibility, strength, balance, and it can even benefit our cardiovascular system.
One of the most commonly used descriptions of Tai Chi is that it is a type of ‘meditation in motion’. It can be a particularly good choice for those of us who find it hard to sit down and meditate right away. If we practice Tai Chi on a regular basis, it is going to improve our general level of mindfulness as well as providing us with other mental health benefits.
One of the great things about Tai Chi is it is something we can really practice for the rest of our lives. One of the difficulties with the more high-impact forms of exercise is we likely pick up injuries, and we will often reach a point where we feel we can’t do it anymore. This is far less likely to happen with Tai Chi, and the fact that there are so many practitioners of an advanced age is a testimony to this.
A common complaint many of us share in early recovery is difficulty sleeping. If we have been abusing alcohol or drugs, it may be many years since we last experienced ‘normal’ sleep, and it is going to take a little time for our body to adjust. One of the things you are likely to notice if you practice Tai Chi regularly is that you find it easier to get to sleep at night – the sleep-promoting effects of this practice are increasingly being backed by research.
If we spend too much time ‘living in our heads’, we start to lose touch with reality as we become a prisoner to our thoughts. This is one of the reasons many of us turn to alcohol and drugs in the first place. When we are more grounded in our bodies, it means we are not so lost in thoughts about the past and future. It means we are experiencing what is happening right now rather than being caught up in a story about what is happening right now. Tai Chi is a fantastic practice for helping us to get more in touch with our bodies, and in my experience, the more we do this, the happier we become.