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DVD Review: Step-by-Step Tai Chi with Tiffany Chen

If you're like me, you use fitness DVDs to get in a good cardio workout on a rainy day or when your kids are napping. A friend lent me this Step-by-Step Tai Chi ($20) DVD recently, and I decided to give it a whirl one afternoon when I was feeling mellow. Tai Chi master Tiffany Chen begins saying that most people think of this discipline as an elderly person's exercise (just what I thought!), but that everyone can benefit from it. Just like yoga, it's a wonderful complement to all sports because it teaches you how to focus and be aware.

This style of Tai Chi involves a series of 60 movements. You can learn them individually (in the Step-by-Step Movement section of the DVD) or you can do the Complete Form. Chen's verbal explanations as she performs the movements are really helpful, especially when she talks about the energy of your body being like a bouncing ball. Every time you relax and exhale, think of the ball sinking all the way down, and then catch the momentum of the ball bouncing back up to guide you into the next movement. The most important thing she stresses is not to rush through the movements but to breathe and to relax. Eventually you'll memorize all 60 movements, and you'll be able to move through them on your own, at your own speed. Although I didn't feel like I used my muscles too much, my body did feel calm, relaxed, open, and aware. I can see why doing this regularly could have a positive effect on your mind and on your other workouts. If you're interested, you can order it through Acacia. Trust me — it's much better than that Nude Yoga & Tai Chi DVD I told you about.

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