Tai Chi Workout Clothes:Clothes to Kick-Back and to Kick-Out In

The tai chi clothes style is easy and elegant: Simply wear clothes that allow you to move freely. Can you flow through the moves of your tai chi set without being distracted by a too-tight waistband? Or, do you worry that your pants might rip when practicing that tai chi kick?
wu single whip student

Choose comfortable tai chi clothes. Faded T-shirts, stretchy yoga attire, and designer athletic outfits are all perfect for tai chi workouts.

In a pinch, tai chi sets can even be done in normal office wear. In Asia, its not uncommon to find people in business suits starting their day off with a tai chi session. But, for safety, avoid wearing diamonds, jewelry and watches when doing partner exercises such as push hands.

Natural Fibers. As with any sport, clothes made from fabrics that allow air circulation are more comfortable to practice in. Most tai chi practitioners aren’t drenched in sweat at the end of a workout, but it’s not uncommon to feel warmth or bursts of heat with the internal energy movements of tai chi.

Clothing made from natural fibers such as silk--conducive for sweat evaporation on warmer days but which can also trap heat on colder days--have been used by tai chi practitioners for centuries.

Tai Chi Uniforms. Historically, martial arts practitioners in ancient China wore silk robes or uniforms when honing their skills. Some modern-day clubs or tai chi schools continue this tradition but most have adopted a more relaxed dress code. Advanced tai chi practitioners usually don formal silks or uniforms when performing for an audience or competing in tournaments.

Dress to Inspire. Some beginners may feel more inspired when practicing in silks. Donning a tai chi uniform may in creating the appropriate atmosphere for a tai chi practice. Some athletes (including Olympians) swear by the effects of wearing favorite clothes, like good-luck socks, to their major events. A uniform might provide a similar boost for some tai chi practitioners.

But, most beginners will find their tai chi clothes already in their closet.

Tai Chi shoes. Most footwear works when doing tai chi. However, flat-soled, good-ground-gripping, flexible shoes are best. Many practitioners choose the black ‘kung fu’ type practice shoes which are fairly inexpensive.

Others occasionally go shoeless, preferring the barefoot experience to help to relax their feet. Practicing without shoes can stimulate a number of acupuncture points on the soles of the feet. This in turn enhances the flow of energy during a tai chi practice session. But, don’t overdo it if you’re not used to going barefoot.

Sometimes less is more. The loose clothes which help make one’s tai chi practice comfortable also make it difficult to see and to analyze the underlying movements.

A number of such grumblings were directed at tai chi master Cheng Man Ching, one of the masters from China to teach tai chi in the U.S. Students found it almost impossible to try to track his movements when he demonstrated his tai chi skills ‘cloaked’ under loose, traditional Chinese silks.

The same is true when assessing one’s own tai chi practice. Practicing tai chi in front of a mirror can help one to see where alignments can be improved. Perhaps a knee is turned in and should be corrected.

Of course, this is more easily seen when the knees are exposed. Being able to see more of one’s skin when practicing in front of a mirror—however awkward this may seem--brings a greater ability to detect areas for improvement. Hence, the occasional practice of nude tai chi in front of the mirror…

Next: Click here to read about Beginners Tai Chi Resources, for establishing and deepening your tai chi practice.