Tai Chi has been developed over thousands of years to help bring the body and mind to a meditative state and initiate relaxation. The best way to achieve this is by going slow, and doing the techniques and forms over a period of 30 minutes to an hour.
I've talked about the benefits of a Tai Chi routine before, in multiple posts. I've also spoken on how to keep your mind from wandering when you exercise, and how to make your routines feel like they are going by faster. But today I'm going to touch on another reason I hear all the time for why people don't have a mind-body routine.
"I don't have enough time."
Specifically, these people tell me that they have some free time, just no enough free time for a whole mind-body routine. So, they figure, what is the point of even trying if you can't fit a whole Tai Chi form in?
The point is that your mental health can still be improved with those five to ten minutes a day. You may not lower your heart rate much in a seven minute Tai Chi exercise. You may not engage much muscle relaxation with only four minutes of stretching (which would be about one or two good stretches, in my book). But, you can do wonders for your mind with six minutes of slow Sunset Tai Chi in the evening. You really will see a difference if you commit to five minutes of Sunrise Tai Chi each morning.
It's about getting your mind into that quiet place, no matter how long you stay there. Your mind isn't like your heart. You don't need to do 20 minutes of warm up cardio, and then a full exercise routine before you see improvement. Your mind and overall health will benefit from even a few deep breaths while you wait at a red light.
So the next time you tell yourself, "Gee, I'd love to do Tai Chi, but I only have ten minutes in the morning and ten minutes at night to exercise, and that isn't even worth trying," think about this post. Your mental health will thank you for it.