Tai Chi Exercises: Warm Ups for Your Tai Chi Workout

Joggers typically spend some time stretching before taking off on their run. Likewise, tai chi practitioners can benefit from warm-up exercises before beginning their tai chi sets.
standing fiure
Some simple exercises are described here, which can help to deepen your tai chi practice. These include exercises which focus on energy awareness:

Energy ball exercise

Breathing exercise

Standing in a neutral position

• Standing in any tai chi position

Other exercises focus on body coordination, including the:

Circling hands exercise

• Weight shifting exercise

Some exercises explore the applications of tai chi. These include:

Push Hands Partner Exercise

Energy awareness exercises. Some warm-ups are designed to increase practitioners’ sensitivity and awareness of energy. Only the exceptionally sensitive are likely to feel a lot of internal energy or chi during their first year of practice. However, some warm-ups can help with this process.

Breathing. Due to stress, poor posture, and other factors, many people have developed poor breathing habits. Breathing exercises can help to make your breath longer and smoother. Read about these breathing exercises and why they’re important.

Energy Ball Exercise. The practice of holding a ball of energy between one’s hands is especially useful in developing an awareness of qi. Read more about an warm up exercise for tai chi, working with an energy ball

Standing in a Neutral Position. Standing in a neutral position, with the hands at the sides is a common exercise to do before executing a tai chi set. This standing exercise is useful for identifying areas of tension within the body, even before the more difficult positions in a tai chi form. Read more about the standing exercise for tai chi here.

Holding Tai Chi Positions. Take a freeze frame photo of any point in the tai chi form. You can hold that pose, and remain motionless while letting your body learn the nuances of that tai chi position. Ideally and with practice, all positions throughout the entire tai chi form should feel comfortable and full.

tai chi symbol and water
Coordination exercises. Some exercises are designed to give practitioners a better body-sense and to unify the movements of the body. A basic principle of tai chi is that when one part moves, all parts move.

Circling Hands. A simple exercise, the circling hands exercise, is a good way to develop this practice of unified body motion. In this exercise, all parts of the body open and expand smoothly, and then—equally smoothly—close and shrink in clear circular patterns. Read about ways to do the Circling Hands Exercise here.

Working with Tai Chi Energies and Applications. Unfortunately, many practice tai chi as an empty dance. Their forms can be graceful and even beautiful to watch, but completely empty of the energy flows responsible for the many benefits of tai chi.

Push Hands Partner Exercise. Partner exercises such as push hands are a way to test how effectively you’re able to work with the energies of tai chi.

With the external force from a partner, it’s clear when you’re able to effectively work with the tai chi principles or not. You receive immediate feedback on your body alignments and ability to receive and to project energy.

Read more about the specifics of Push Hands Exercises here.

These are just a sample of the many exercises you can do to deepen your tai chi practice. They’re useful in emphasizing aspects of body alignments, ways of movement, as well as working with the tai chi energies. Once learned through these focused practices, it’s easier to incorporate them in your tai chi form.

Next: Read about a simple warm up tai chi exercise, ball of energy.