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The Silver Lining Chronicles- Tai Chi, Yoga for Strength, Balance

May is Older Americans Month - For strength, balance and flexibility, why not try something new?

TAI CHI, an ancient Chinese martial arts is regularly practiced in China by people of all ages.  These days, you can find groups in city parks all across the U.S. as well. 

Slow, controlled movements, with enticing names like "Wave Hands Like Clouds" are comfortable and easy to do.  The circular motions made by arms and legs and the body as a whole increase endurance and strength without the use of external weights. Its meditative quality improves mental clarity and it is terrific for fighting fatigue and stress. 

Studies have shown it is beneficial for elderly people because it reduces their risk of falling by half.  Doctors believe that improved balance is the reason for this benefit. 

YOGA, is a discipline developed in India more than 5,000 years ago.  The movements of yoga are another great way to develop balance and flexibility and teach you how to relax your mind and body. 

Different varieties of yoga include Astanga (a challenging power yoga), and other types better suited for the elderly and beginners like Viniyoga (which is slow and purposeful), and Restorative (Yin) yoga (for a deep and complete rest with surprising health benefits).

One of the advantages of yoga is that it encourages you to work within your abilities.  According to the experts, pain, shaking muscles or a desire to hold your breath are signs you're overstepping your capabilities.

To complement our various physical abilities and the many stages of our lives, nothing beats the ancient arts of both Tai Chi and Yoga as therapeutic ways to unite mind, body and soul.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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