Tai Chi and Qi Gong combine a well aligned posture with graceful powerful movement and deep breathing. Often referred to as meditation in motion, Tai Chi and Qi Gong can be practiced by everyone no matter age, fitness level or physical condition. Everyone can benefit from regular practice including mums to be; lowering the heart rate, activating the parasympathetic system (automatic relaxation response), flooding the body with oxygen, nourishing the organs, oiling the joints, improving coordination, reducing stress, calming the mind, increasing energy, improving concentration and much more.
During pregnancy, Tai Chi and Qi Gong practice are a soft yet powerful way to keep the body moving without hard impact motion. Both Tai Chi and Qi Gong practices are surprisingly invigorating, giving the whole body a strong yet gentle workout. All movements are done slowly, with intention and fluidity. You work with your body in Tai Chi and Qi Gong, starting slowly and building up the movements within your range of motion and fitness level. This makes them ideal for beginners who have not exercised in a while and would like to start.
Master Yue of the Chen Tai Chi Centre in the UK states that the following exercises in the Health Qi Gong practice of the 5 Animal Frolics, should be adapted during pregnancy; avoid bending the knee and squatting down low keeping the movements higher and gentler. In general women should listen to their bodies, and work in a gentle and comfortable way.
There are some great resources for Tai Chi during pregnancy, the Tai Chi Union UK have a great article on 'Tai Chi and Pregnancy' written by a woman and her experience. There's also a great blog called about 'Pregnancy and Tai Chi'.
And lastly Master Tina Zhang's special 'Qi Gong for Women' set is a great way to combat female specific issues in everyday life outside of pregnancy, helping regulate and soften the menstrual cycle, and empowering women to become more in-tune with their bodies and femininity.
* As with any physical exercise please check with your Doctor before commencing Tai Chi or Qi Gong during pregnancy