Wu Style is characterized by really slow and small movements that can be accomplished even if you have limited space. Each movement targets different parts of your body. Through the opening and closing of your joints as they move, internal pressure is generated. Through the deep stretches demanded by certain movements, tension-holding areas across the neck, shoulders, back, and pelvis are relieved. Through dropped elbow stances and compressed stances, the internal organs receive waves of both low and high pressure, resulting in a healthy massage of your internal cavities. The overall result is a deep sense of calm that’s akin to doing proper meditation.
There’s even a study that not only links tai-chi to relaxation and sleep, but also to the reduction of inflammation in the body. It involves 123 older adults who are suffering from insomnia, randomized into 3 groups. While sleep seminars were proven to be ineffective at alleviating insomnia and inflammation, two other methods were found to be most effective: cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, and the long-term practice of tai-chi.
Archery is the ancient martial art that deals with properly and accurately wielding the bow and arrow. You need more than steady hands and a good eye to succeed at archery. Controlling the entire body is necessary to controlling the movement of your bow and how it moves the arrow. It starts with the proper posture. From there, you can better control the movement of your arms and hands. As you pick up an arrow, line it up with the bow, and pull on the bowstring, you need to breathe in and out properly and slowly. With only minimal movement from the rest of your body, your abdomen, or your center, should be in charge of regulating your breathing. Sounds familiar? That’s because archery is largely considered to be a form of meditation.
From achieving and actively maintaining the proper archery posture to releasing the bow as you’re breathing out, archery requires your mind and body to enter a state of calmness and intense focus. The more you practice archery, the easier it is for both your mind and body to re-enter this state – just like with basic meditation.
Which One is Best for You?
Whichever one is most convenient for you to try is the best anxiety-relieving exercise that you can do. Whether you prefer archery, Wu Style Tai-Chi, or basic meditation, you can achieve a deep sense of relaxation that will alleviate anxiety and act as a treatment against insomnia.
If you have the time and resources, you can even try doing all 3 exercises. In the same way that insomnia, stress, anxiety, and depression affect one another, so do archery, tai-chi, and meditation have interrelated methods and techniques.
The training in mental focus that you attain from any one of the 3 exercises can be used in the others. And the better you get at attaining this focus, the better you’ll be at willing your mind and body to enter a state of deep calmness.