Before I trumpet the health benefits of Taiji, I would first like to say that ANY movement is good for your health. A sedentary lifestyle (including sitting for long periods) ALWAYS reduces functionality and freedom of movement. Furthermore, there are now several studies that point to sitting as the modern day equivalent of a major crisis in health. View the ‘Sitting’ menu for more information.
So why do this particular type of Taiji over another?
This Practical Method is different to other Taiji style in that it includes rotations of the various body parts. That is the simplest explanation I can come up with. Squeezing the body, opening the shoulder and kua (which are usually stuck in 99% of the population) (Note: The opening of the shoulder is a concept used in the Practical Method to denote that the shoulder is ‘pulled down’, rather than ‘popping up’. Most folk suffer from an unconsious ‘fear response’, pulling the shoulders up, tensing the scalene muscles of the neck, inducing headaches, etc…)
The latest studies on the benefits of freeing up the body by proponents such as Thomas Myers (Myofascial Meridians and anatomy trains) shows that an increase in range of movement (not only linear but also rotational), increases functionality, improves tissue adaptability, improves segmental relationships between body parts, and releases underlying strain patterns.
The release of strain patterns is the bread and butter of the physical therapy world. But here we have the opportunity to produce these effects for ourselves through a movement modality liek no other. The Practical Method Yilu (first) form is a meticulous blueprint for integrating new patterns that include health benefits as well as the ability to learn unique Martial Art skills unlike any other Taiji in existence.