Most of us have seen pictures of Elvis and Bruce Lee doing hard marital arts. Truth be told, many celebrities, performers, musicians and athletes practice a mix of martial arts. It not only improves their health, but also keeps their bodies strong and flexible, and their minds clear and focused.
But you probably don’t hear much about the ones who practice Tai Chi! They aren’t as vocal about it, but there are quite a few.
Lou Reed, the American musician, singer and songwriter asserted that Tai Chi “physically changes your body and your energy and builds you up. People think I lift weights, but I don’t.” Lou practiced Tai Chi two hours a day, and according to his widow, died doing Tai Chi with his hands moving through the air while looking out at the trees.
Iggy Pop lived his life on the edge as the leader of the proto-punk group The Stooges. Now, at age 72, he is still performing but has taken a more gentle approach to life after practicing Tai Chi and qigong for the last twenty years. “To feel good when I was 21, all I had to do was smoke a joint. Now I have to turn off my phones and do Tai Chi for an hour.” Check out his interview!
Actors who practice Tai Chi include Mel Gibson, British Actor Paul Adrian, Indian Bollywood Actor Kunal Kapoor, RZA from the Wu Tan Clan and Terance Stamp. And, of course, Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, and Jet Li know plenty about Tai Chi.
Let’s not forget about the women. Gisele Bundchen, one of the highest paid models in the world, does Tai Chi, as does her husband, Tom Brady. Emmanuelle Seigner, a French actress, musician and wife of Roman Polanski, states “Tai Chi really makes me feel relaxed.” Shirley MacLaine believes that people should take time everyday for moving meditation like Tai Chi or qigong. Bette Midler and Marianne Faithful are two others who practice Tai Chi.
And then there was Phyllis Diller, who summed it up neatly, “I've tried Buddhism, Scientology, Numerology, Transcendental Meditation, Qabbala, t'ai chi, feng shui and Deepak Chopra, but I find straight gin works best.”
And let’s not forget sports celebrities. Robert Parish, an NBA great who played many years longer than average, believes that Tai Chi extended his career. And Tiger Woods has practiced qigong for most of his life.
Of course, some celebrities do more than just practice Tai Chi. American poet, Allen Ginsberg wrote a poem about it. Steven Tyler, of Aerosmith, made up little verses to remember the moves, which is an interesting idea! And of course, Keanu Reeves found that “Man of Tai Chi” was the right story to tell.
No matter what age or profession, whether you are famous or infamous, everyone benefits from practicing Tai Chi. The more you practice, the better the results!