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What is Tai Chi and how much sleep should a person get everyday?

Q: What is Tai Chi? Is there any book available on the subject? Does it give the same benefit as Pranayam? Recent articles and research indicates that one should sleep for about 7 hours a day? Is that true for Indian conditions? Does this include the afternoon siesta also or is that separate?

A:Tai-chi is a Chinese Taoist martial art discipline of meditation in movement using slow, controlled deep breathing techniques together with deliberate, graceful physical movements. Because it works the body and mind in unison, it relaxes the muscles while calming the mind and nerves. Tai chi involves performing a series of movements while maintaining awareness of both the body and breath. The exercises are especially effective for developing balance, focus, coordination and graceful, centred movement. It can be an excellent way to gently ease into movement, particularly if you sit all day at your job or have been inactive for awhile. There are many web sites and books available on the subject. The amount of sleep a person requires is dependant on the person's need, as is also the quality of sleep. Some people can function normally on even 5 hours of sleep. A good benchmark to know whether you have had enough sleep or not is to see how fresh you feel as you get up. The afternoon siesta cannot be counted as part of this time requirement unless that is the only sleep you get through a 24 hour period.

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