Sun style Tai Chi is a popular form of Tai Chi and is generally considered the easiest of the five types. Tai Chi is a kind of martial arts known for favoring gentle, flowing, and non-resistant movements instead of strong, explosive ones. Sun style Tai Chi is distinguished by its small, gliding movements forward and backward, as well as by its high postures that do not require extreme crouching or bending. Sun Lu Tang, a martial arts expert, developed this style of Tai Chi in the early 1900s. The most contemporary of all Tai Chi styles, Sun style Tai Chi consists of 97 different postures, all with high stances.
Basic Sun style Tai Chi moves include light kicking, slow pivots, simple footwork, circular arm movements, and narrow in-line stepping. Contracting and extending the arms in front of the torso in an open-close, repetitive way has also become a signature of Sun style Tai Chi. The health benefits of Tai Chi include lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, better balance, increased bone density, and better heart function. Many who practice Tai Chi fitness report that they develop greater agility and flexibility.
Sun style Tai Chi boasts several fitness benefits. It strengthens the upper body, arms, legs, and the core muscles of the stomach and back. To some extent, it can also be used as an aerobic activity because it does include a few brisk kicks.
Benefits, however, reach beyond the physical realm. Practiced as a type of mobile meditation, it focuses the energy of the mind and spirit to impart relaxation. For that reason, this style of Tai Chi can stave off depression and lethargy in some practitioners.
Many doctors recommend Sun style Tai Chi for physical and mental wellness, particularly to elderly people who suffer from arthritis and diabetes. The improved blood circulation from slow, steady movement and the improved nimbleness from light joint–bending exercises can have a healing impact. Patients generally sleep better, breathe better, have more energy, and feel less pain after taking Sun style Tai Chi classes, some doctors report.
Anyone can learn Tai Chi by studying DVDs, watching online videos, or registering for classes at a local martial arts center or college. Many fitness clubs and community centers also hire certified Tai Chi instructors. Generally, these instructors can teach a range of classes from beginner to master level.