You may have seen them congregated in urban parks as a group or standing alone, moving in slow rhythmic patterns that appear very simple, and you may have wondered why they do it. Those who practice tai chi do it for the stress relief and healthful benefits of a daily routine, and these life-giving properties must be working because it’s been around since the 6th century.
A Shao-Lin monk named Bodihdharma is credited with developing six of the moves that are still practiced in modern tai chi. He noticed how poorly-conditioned his fellow monks were due to their sedentary meditative practices and introduced a form of exercise into their daily rituals. This practice was also incorporated into Kung-fu martial arts at the time; indeed “tai chi” is the shortened term for “tai chi chuan,” which means “supreme ultimate fist.”