Around 2,000 years ago, tai chi was developed in Ancient China.
Tai chi is perfect in this fast-paced world as it lets us slow down, get in tune with our bodies, and reap the many health benefits. But tai chi is as good as the environment it’s practiced in.
If you’re unsure where to start, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s everything you need to know about tai chi practice.
What Is Tai Chi?
To recap, practical tai chi is where you combine your mind, body, and spirit to cultivate “Qi” or life energy. You do this through a combination of deep breathing and flowing movements.
There are many styles of tai chi but the main ones are Chen, Yang, Wu-Hao, and Wu.
How to Do Tai Chi
Here we'll discuss how to practice tai chi at home. Although beginners may benefit from attending classes, it's possible to create the perfect environment yourself.
Not sure how to practice tai chi?
The best advice is to focus on the present. Tai chi trains you to combine mental focus and physical action, so be aware of your body and your surroundings.
If you’re in the park, observe the process of nature like the sun warming your face or hearing the wind rustle the leaves. Noticing the flows of energy in nature lets you tap into your Qi.
In tai chi, you find inner stillness while moving your body. This means you don’t tighten or use your muscles too much.
When you do this, you fall into a rhythm that will let you focus and move freely.
Keep a Natural Posture
During your tai chi daily practice, you must maintain a natural pose. This means you keep your body upright, back straight, and align your shoulders over your hips.
Most importantly, keep your feet flat to stay balanced.
Put On Tai Chi-Friendly Music
Playing tai chi music when you practice creates a perfect, calm atmosphere. Relaxing music declutters your mind so you can focus on your session.
As a result, it’s easier for you to focus on each position and tap into your inner stillness so you’re fully immersed in your tai chi practice.
Notice Your Breathing
Breathe naturally through your nose as you practice. You should relax your stomach so it expands as you inhale and contract as you exhale. When you’re focusing too hard, especially as a beginner, it’s easy to hold your breath but avoid this as it blocks the fluidity necessary in tai chi.
Many sports or exercises focus on exertion or straining to improve your strength and endurance. But tai chi builds this through slow, relaxed, movements when you’re flexed. This means that the slower you move, the stronger you’ll be.
Separate Your Weight
An important aspect of tai chi is separating your weight. You’ll notice practitioners balance on one foot otherwise known as “separating the weight”. This practice increases your leg strength and maintains a good balance.
When you do this, keep your body upright and make sure your weight rests on your stable foot. Focus on your connection to the ground at all times as it’s one of the most important aspects of tai chi.
Move From Your Center
Make your body a single column where your upper body is perfectly aligned over your bottom-half. Any arm or hand movements must rotate on either side without tensing or twisting your spine. Remember, you must be fluid when practicing tai chi.
Feel Your Body Become Connected
Don’t control the movement. Instead, let it arise naturally from inside and then follow. For instance, your arms move because energy flows from your base and not on their own.
Wear Softer Soled Shoes
Because your base is so important in tai chi, you must feel the earth beneath your feet. Wear thin-soled shoes like moccasins to connect with the earth so the energy rises up through your body.
You should also wear softer shoes more in your everyday life so you feel a renewed sense of energy.
Persevere With Your Practice
Like with every new skill, you must consistently practice so you can absorb and understand the main principles of tai chi. Only through practice will you reap the health benefits and improve steadily.
For motivation, ask your friend to practice especially if you feel embarrassed doing tai chi alone in the park.
Find the Right Style For You
As mentioned, there are various tai chi styles so it’s important to find the best one for you. For instance, the Yang style is the most practiced around the globe and it emphasizes slow, gentle movements.
Chen style is the oldest and it alternates between fast and slow movements alongside jumping and stomping. Wu Hao style, or “the first Wu style”, is a blend of Chen and Yang styles where practitioners have slow movements and maintain a high posture.
The second Wu style, or “Wu style”, is the second most popular practice characterized by its hand darm where you push energy towards your hands.
That's How to Start a Beginner Tai Chi Practice
Now you know the best ways to have a successful tai chi practice.
Tai chi emphasizes stillness so you can focus on movements and reap the benefits. To tap into this, play relaxing music so you can concentrate on the flow of energy and fully immerse yourself in tai chi. Have fun!
If you're looking for music for your tai chi practice, we'd love to help. Check out our royalty free tai chi music here.