How to: Beginner Tai Chi in 6 Moves

Follow along on this 'How-to: Beginners Tai Chi in 6 moves' class. It is an ancient form of movement that anyone can learn. Most of us think of Tai Chi as a complicated philosophy that requires memorizing ancient words while moving into difficult poses. Nope. Not me anyway.

I needed to find ways to keep moving while dealing with hip and back pain. What I discovered was that I could easily reduce stiffness, focus on my breathing, and get a calming workout. All of this could be done in my living room. I talked to my medical provider before beginning. That's always a good practice.

Warming up

Stretch first

At the beginning of every sequence, take time to do a few gentle stretches. Clasp your hands in front of you and curl your shoulders forward to stretch your back. While standing, roll the ball of your foot in circles in both directions. Now stretch the other foot. You may want a sturdy chair nearby.

Spine and neck opener

Lift the crown (back) of your head high, pulling it up toward the sky. Feel your spine stretching long, all the way to your tailbone. Pull your shoulders up and then back, squeezing the shoulder blades together. Rest your chin toward your chest and slowly look over each shoulder. Now you have completed your stretch. When first beginning your practice, that may be enough movement. You can rest now. Move ahead to do the entire practice at your own pace.

How to: Beginners Tai Chi 6 Moves

Feet first

Stand with your feet about 12–14 inches apart, or hip distance. You will do 2 types of movement with your feet. One is using clock movement by stepping out at 10 o’clock with your left foot and 2 o’clock with your right foot.

The other is stepping out to your side, first right and then left. Smaller movements out are better. These are the only movements you will do from the waist down. Arms will change, but your feet will always do these 2 movements. 10 and 2, and step outside to side. See how easy this sounds? It truly is!

Before you begin

With each set of arm movements, you will move your feet. In the beginning, I ended up sitting in a chair and practicing the arms portion. This is wise if you are having shortness of breath.

Really, if you have not been exercising, or have any hip, leg, back, or pain in any area start in the chair. Then when standing, you will have the arms somewhat memorized. I still forget movements and keep a list in front of me while practicing and teaching. No matter what, just keep moving.

Arm movements and foot movement

  1. Calming the water - 10 & 2
  2. Pushing water - side to side
  3. Fanning the wind - side to side
  4. Over the drum - 10 & 2
  5. Ball to the mountain - 10 & 2
  6. Ball to the valley - 10 & 2
  7. Focus on the arrow - side to side

Repetition and rest

This may feel too easy at the beginning. By practicing these forms every day, your body will begin to feel stronger, and your oxygen uptake will improve. You can follow along on the video to get started. Remember to stop and rest whenever it is needed. Listen to your body. Do the arm movements from a chair if that is more doable. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!

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