Growing number of Mexican city-dwellers combat stress with Tai Chi

Updated 2017-09-15 10:00:35 CGTN
city-dwellers in Mexico play Tai Chi.

city-dwellers in Mexico play Tai Chi.

Slightly more than half of the world's population lives in cities. That's expected to grow to two-thirds by the year 2050.

And with city life comes city stress. Many are trying to manage theirs through exercise.

As CGTN's Franc Contreras reports, some city-dwellers in Mexico are turning to the ancient Chinese art of Tai Chi.

In Mexico City, a city center specializes in Chinese martial arts including Kung Fu and daily classes in Tai Chi.

The slow, deliberate movements have their roots in the so-called Yang Family method.

Like other Tai Chi methods, it focuses on enhancing 'Qi', or life energy, and getting it to flow throughout the entire body.

Daniel Corona has been practicing the Yang style of Tai Chi for 14 years. He said it's an ancient Chinese tradition similar to meditation in motion.

"Experts believe that these ancient Chinese exercises date back 1,500 years," he explains. "The form that we use now is called Tai Chi, and it's probably about 600 years old, and has been modified over the years to place less stress on the body."

In cities across Mexico a growing number of people are turning to ancient Chinese traditions to improve their health.

Ana Maria Gonzales is 61-years-old. When she was five, doctors diagnosed her with osteoporosis, which weakens the bones. For years, she could barely get up stairs.

Now, after five years of Tai Chi, she recently climbed a mountain in China.

"I did not know about this martial art until I came to this center," she said. "I began gaining knowledge while practicing. That has filled me with satisfaction. A year ago, I climbed the Wudang mountains in China. For me, it was a phenomenal experience."

Twenty-six-year-old Karen Panecatl was diagnosed two years ago with multiple sclerosis. She said she was unable to move her leg or arm, and that Tai Chi helped her regain movement.

"Tai Chi makes me much more aware of what I'm doing because by moving slowly, you have to have much more clarity," she said.

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