What are the health benefits of tai chi

The Health Benefits of Tai Chi - Harvard Health Publishing

This gentle form of exercise can help maintain strength, flexibility, and balance, and could be the perfect activity for the rest of your life.

Tai chi is often described as "meditation in motion," but it might well be called "medication in motion." There is growing evidence that this mind-body practice, which originated in China as a martial art, has value in treating or preventing many health problems. And you can get started even if you aren't in top shape or the best of health.

In this low-impact, slow-motion exercise, you go without pausing through a series of motions named for animal actions — for example, "white crane spreads its wings" — or martial arts moves, such as "box both ears." As you move, you breathe deeply and naturally, focusing your attention — as in some kinds of meditation — on your bodily sensations. Tai chi differs from other types of exercise in several respects. The movements are usually circular and never forced, the muscles are relaxed rather than tensed, the joints are not fully extended or bent, and connective tissues are not stretched. Tai chi can be easily adapted for anyone, from the most fit to people confined to wheelchairs or recovering from surgery.

Tai chi movement

A tai chi class practices a short form at the Tree of Life Tai Chi Center in Watertown, Mass.

A growing body of carefully conducted research is building a compelling case for tai chi as an adjunct to standard medical treatment for the prevention and rehabilitation of many conditions commonly associated with age. An adjunct therapy is one that's used together with primary medical treatments, either to address a disease itself or its primary symptoms, or, more generally, to improve a patient's functioning and quality of life.

Belief systems

You don't need to subscribe to or learn much about tai chi's roots in Chinese philosophy to enjoy its health benefits, but these concepts can help make sense of its approach:

  • Qi — an energy force thought to flow through the body; tai chi is said to unblock and encourage the proper flow of qi.
  • Yin and yang — opposing elements thought to make up the universe that need to be kept in harmony. Tai chi is said to promote this balance.

Tai chi in motion

A tai chi class might include these parts:

Warm-up. Easy motions, such as shoulder circles, turning the head from side to side, or rocking back and forth, help you to loosen your muscles and joints and focus on your breath and body.

Instruction and practice of tai chi forms. Short forms — forms are sets of movements — may include a dozen or fewer movements; long forms may include hundreds. Different styles require smaller or larger movements. A short form with smaller, slower movements is usually recommended at the beginning, especially if you're older or not in good condition.

Qigong (or chi kung). Translated as "breath work" or "energy work," this consists of a few minutes of gentle breathing sometimes combined with movement. The idea is to help relax the mind and mobilize the body's energy. Qigong may be practiced standing, sitting, or lying down.

Getting started

The benefits of tai chi are generally greatest if you begin before you develop a chronic illness or functional limitations. Tai chi is very safe, and no fancy equipment is needed, so it's easy to get started. Here's some advice for doing so:

Don't be intimidated by the language. Names like Yang, Wu, and Cheng are given to various branches of tai chi, in honor of people who devised the sets of movements called forms. Certain programs emphasize the martial arts aspect of tai chi rather than its potential for healing and stress reduction. In some forms, you learn long sequences of movements, while others involve shorter series and more focus on breathing and meditation. The name is less important than finding an approach that matches your interests and needs.

Check with your doctor. If you have a limiting musculoskeletal problem or medical condition — or if you take medications that can make you dizzy or lightheaded — check with your doctor before starting tai chi. Given its excellent safety record, chances are that you'll be encouraged to try it.

Consider observing and taking a class. Taking a class may be the best way to learn tai chi. Seeing a teacher in action, getting feedback, and experiencing the camaraderie of a group are all pluses. Most teachers will let you observe the class first to see if you feel comfortable with the approach and atmosphere. Instruction can be individualized. Ask about classes at your local Y, senior center, or community education center.

If you'd rather learn at home, you can buy or rent videos geared to your interests and fitness needs (see "Selected resources"). Although there are some excellent tai chi books, it can be difficult to appreciate the flow of movements from still photos or illustrations.

Talk to the instructor. There's no standard training or licensing for tai chi instructors, so you'll need to rely on recommendations from friends or clinicians and, of course, your own judgment. Look for an experienced teacher who will accommodate individual health concerns or levels of coordination and fitness.

Dress comfortably. Choose loose-fitting clothes that don't restrict your range of motion. You can practice barefoot or in lightweight, comfortable, and flexible shoes. Tai chi shoes are available, but ones you find in your closet will probably work fine. You'll need shoes that won't slip and can provide enough support to help you balance, but have soles thin enough to allow you to feel the ground. Running shoes, designed to propel you forward, are usually unsuitable.

Gauge your progress. Most beginning programs and tai chi interventions tested in medical research last at least 12 weeks, with instruction once or twice a week and practice at home. By the end of that time, you should know whether you enjoy tai chi, and you may already notice positive physical and psychological changes.

No pain, big gains

Although tai chi is slow and gentle and doesn't leave you breathless, it addresses the key components of fitness — muscle strength, flexibility, balance, and, to a lesser degree, aerobic conditioning. Here's some of the evidence:

Muscle strength. Tai chi can improve both lower-body strength and upper-body strength. When practiced regularly, tai chi can be comparable to resistance training and brisk walking.

Although you aren't working with weights or resistance bands, the unsupported arm exercise involved in tai chi strengthens your upper body. Tai chi strengthens both the lower and upper extremities and also the core muscles of the back and abdomen.

Flexibility. Tai chi can boost upper- and lower-body flexibility as well as strength.

Balance. Tai chi improves balance and, according to some studies, reduces falls. Proprioception — the ability to sense the position of one's body in space — declines with age. Tai chi helps train this sense, which is a function of sensory neurons in the inner ear and stretch receptors in the muscles and ligaments. Tai chi also improves muscle strength and flexibility, which makes it easier to recover from a stumble. Fear of falling can make you more likely to fall; some studies have found that tai chi training helps reduce that fear.

Aerobic conditioning. Depending on the speed and size of the movements, tai chi can provide some aerobic benefits. If your clinician advises a more intense cardio workout with a higher heart rate than tai chi can offer, you may need something more aerobic as well.

Selected resources

An Introduction to Tai Chi Harvard Health Special Report

Tai Chi Health www.taichihealth.com

Tree of Life Tai Chi Center  www.treeoflifetaichi.com



Stress Reduction, Weight Loss, for Older Adults

What is tai chi?

Tai chi is a form of exercise that began as a Chinese tradition. It’s based in martial arts, and involves slow movements and deep breaths. Tai chi has many physical and emotional benefits. Some of the benefits of tai chi include decreased anxiety and depression and improvements in cognition. It may also help you manage symptoms of some chronic diseases, such as fibromyalgia or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Read on to learn more about the benefits and risks of tai chi, and how you can begin practicing this exercise.

One of the main benefits of tai chi is its ability to reduce stress and anxiety, though most evidence is anecdotal.

In 2018, one study compared the effects of tai chi on stress-related anxiety to traditional exercise. The study included 50 participants. The researchers found that tai chi provided the same benefits for managing stress-related anxiety as exercise. Because tai chi also includes meditation and focused breathing, the researchers noted that tai chi may be superior to other forms of exercise for reducing stress and anxiety. However, a larger-scale study is needed.

Tai chi is very accessible and lower impact than many other forms of exercise. The researchers found it to be safe and inexpensive, so it may be a good option if you are otherwise healthy and experiencing stress-related anxiety.

Tai chi may help improve your mood if you are depressed or anxious. Preliminary research suggests that regularly practicing tai chi can reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression. It’s believed that the slow, mindful breaths and movements have a positive effect on the nervous system and mood-regulating hormones. Further research is being done to establish a clear link between tai chi and improved mood.

Regularly practicing tai chi may help you to have more restful sleep.

One study followed young adults with anxiety after they were prescribed two tai chi classes each week, for 10 weeks. Based on participant reporting, the individuals who practiced tai chi experienced significant improvements in their quality of sleep compared to those in the control group. This same group also experienced a decrease in their anxiety symptoms.

Tai chi can improve sleep for older adults, too. In a study published in 2016, researchers found that two months of twice-weekly tai chi classes was associated with better sleep in older adults with cognitive impairment.

Regularly practicing tai chi can result in weight loss. One study tracked changes in weight in a group of adults practicing tai chi five times a week for 45 minutes. At the end of the 12 weeks, these adults lost a little over a pound without making any additional lifestyle changes.

Tai chi may improve cognition in older adults with cognitive impairment. More specifically, tai chi may help improve memory and executive functioning skills like paying attention and carrying out complex tasks.

Tai chi can help improve balance and motor function, and reduce fear of falling in older adults. It can also reduce actual falls after 8 weeks of practice, and significantly reduce falls after 16 weeks of practice. Because fear of falling can reduce independence and quality of life, and falls can lead to serious complications, tai chi may offer the additional benefit of improving quality of life and general well-being in older adults.

Tai chi may compliment traditional methods for management of certain chronic diseases.

Results from a 2018 study showed that a consistent tai chi practice can decrease the symptoms of fibromyalgia in some people. Participants in the study who practiced tai chi for 52 weeks exhibited greater improvements in their fibromyalgia-related symptoms when compared to participants practicing aerobics. Learn about other alternative treatments for fibromyalgia symptoms.

Tai chi may improve some of the symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In one study, people with COPD practiced tai chi for 12 weeks. At the end of the study, they have improvements in their ability to exercise and reported an overall improvement in their quality of life.

In a randomized, controlled trial of 195 participants, regular practice of tai chi was found to decrease the number of falls in people with Parkinson’s disease. Tai chi can also help you to increase leg strength and overall balance.

Tai chi is a safe form of moderate exercise you can try if you have coronary heart disease. Following a cardiovascular event, regular tai chi practices may help you:

  • increase physical activity
  • lose weight
  • improve your quality of life

In a small-scale 2010 study, 15 participants with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) practiced tai chi for 12 weeks. At the end of the study, the participants reported less pain and improved mobility and balance.

A larger, earlier study found similar results in people with knee osteoarthritis (OA). In this study, 40 participants with knee OA practiced 60 minutes of tai chi, two times a week for 12 weeks. Following the study, participants reported a reduction in pain and an improvement in mobility and quality of life.

When compared to physical therapy, tai chi has also been found to be as effective in the treatment of knee OA.

Always talk to your doctor before starting tai chi if you have arthritis. You may need to do modified versions of some of the movements.

Is tai chi safe?

Tai chi is generally considered to be a safe exercise with few side effects. You may experience some aches or pains after practicing tai chi if you’re a beginner. More rigorous forms of tai chi and improper practice of tai chi are associated with increased risk of injury to joints. Especially if you’re new to tai chi, consider attending a class or working with an instructor to reduce your risk of injury.

If you’re pregnant, talk to your healthcare provider before beginning a new exercise program.

How to start tai chi

Tai chi focuses on proper posture and exact movements, something that is difficult to learn on your own. If you’re new to tai chi, take a class or get an instructor.

Tai chi is taught in studios all over the United States and other countries. Larger gyms, like the YMCA, sometimes offer tai chi classes as well.

Choosing a tai chi style

There are five different styles of tai chi, and each style can be modified to suit your goals and personal fitness level. All styles of tai chi incorporate continuous movement from one pose to the next.

  • Yang style tai chi focuses on slow, graceful movements and relaxation. Yang style is a good starting point for beginners.
  • Wu style tai chi places an emphasis on micro-movements. This style of tai chi is practiced very slowly.
  • Chen style tai chi uses both slow and fast movements. This style of tai chi might be difficult for you if you’re new to the practice.
  • Sun style tai chi shares a lot of similarities with Chen style. Sun style involves less crouching, kicking, and punching, making it less physically demanding.
  • Hao style tai chi is a lesser-known and rarely practiced style. This style of tai chi is defined by a focus on accurate position and internal strength.

How does tai chi differ from yoga?

Tai chi emphasizes fluid movement and has roots in Chinese culture. Yoga focuses on posing and originated in Northern India.

Both tai chi and yoga are forms of exercise that involve meditation and deep breathing, and they have similar benefits, such as:

  • relieves stress
  • improves mood
  • Improves sleep

Tai chi is an exercise that can benefit both healthy adults and adults living with a chronic condition.

The benefits of tai chi include:

  • better sleep
  • weight loss
  • improved mood
  • management of chronic conditions

If you’re interested in trying tai chi, an instructor can help you get started. Classes are offered in specialized studios, community centers, and gyms.

Benefits of constant practice of tai chi for the physiological and mental health of a person.

Benefits of constant practice of tai chi for the physiological and mental health of a person.

The beauty and youth of the body can be maintained by various methods. The martial technique of tai chi is one of them. This is a soft and simple way to transform the body and activate the natural abilities of the human body.

Tai chi consists of successive sets of exercises that repeat the plasticity and movements of animals. In slow motion, the technique creates a meditative and gymnastic effect on the body. When accelerating the movement - acts as elements of hand-to-hand combat or self-defense.

With this practice, you can solve health problems, improve your well-being and increase stamina. The constant practice of tai chi helps to eliminate:

  • high blood pressure;
  • problems with the cardiovascular system;
  • insomnia;
  • joint pain;
  • arthritis;
  • stress and depression.

    It is one of the main tools of Chinese medicine to fight chronic diseases.

    Attention! The art of tai chi is practiced by all age groups, including children. Practice can improve not only physical but also mental health. Daily exercises normalize sleep, relieve stress, stabilize the emotional background.

    Consider the effect of tai chi on the human body in more detail.

    Headache relief

    Classes in the tai chi system in a couple of months are able to give the first results. Statistics show that more than 90% of Chinese practitioners have eliminated frequent headaches. Their migraine attacks disappeared completely or ceased to manifest themselves with a high frequency.

    Bone tissue

    Tai chi exercises favorably affect the health of the joints and bone tissue of a person. They do not imply a serious weight load, but they have a positive effect on the condition of the skeleton

    Attention! Practice reduces the risk of inflammation in the joints. In adulthood, the tai chi technique allows you to hold a lot of bone tissue, protecting a person from injuries and fractures.

    Blood pressure

    The benefits of tai chi have been proven in many studies. Some of them demonstrate the positive effect of combat practice on blood pressure.

    Several months of daily training can improve the lipid profile, relieve anxiety, and normalize vascular function. This is one of the most effective ways to keep your health in order without making any serious effort.

    Heart disease

    The tai chi technique repeats aerobic exercises, saturating the body with oxygen. Constant practice lowers the heart rate, making it easier to endure stress and nervous shocks.

    Exercise also increases heart rate variability. This is a good practice for the prevention of cardiovascular disease.

    Slowing down the aging process

    Frequent tai chi classes can give adults and the elderly a second youth. Repetitive movements can slow down the aging process, affect the condition of the body and improve the physical shape of a person.

    Attention! Frequent classes allow you to feel a surge of strength, vivacity and activity in everyday life.


    The benefits of the tai chi technique are not only in the elimination of chronic diseases. With its help, mental health improves, emotional balance comes, and social relationships with others change.


    Please note that all information posted on the site Prowellness is provided for informational purposes only and is not a personal program, a direct recommendation for action, or medical advice. Do not use these materials for diagnosis, treatment, or any medical procedure. Consult your physician before using any technique or using any product. This site is not a specialized medical portal and does not replace the professional advice of a specialist. The Site Owner is not liable to any party who has suffered indirect or direct damage as a result of misuse of materials posted on this resource.

    Expert: Maria Elagina Business Profi of the Siberian Wellness company and nutritionist in cosmetics

    Reviewer: Ekaterina Vorobyova Adept of a healthy and active lifestyle

    Is it worth practicing tai chi for health and longevity

    proven effects of Chinese meditation gymnastics and tells you where to start training.

    Iya Zorina

    Author Lifehacker, athlete, CCM



    What is tai chi

    Tai chi (Chinese: "great limit", "space") is a traditional Chinese practice that consists of smooth movements - forms flowing from one to another like a slow dance.

    Forms have poetic names, often associated with animals or objects - "white crane flapping its wings", "horse urging", "playing the lute" - and are combined into continuous complexes.

    In addition to movement, an important aspect of the practice is breath control and concentration on body position and state of mind. All together turns classes into a kind of meditation in motion.

    Initially, tai chi developed in China as a martial art - taijiquan ("fist of the great limit"). However, throughout the world this practice has become known as gymnastics with a very gentle effect on the body.

    Since most styles of tai chi do not involve sudden movements, force and shock loads, or extreme joint positions, the practice is often used as a system of exercises for people in old age, as well as during the period of recovery from diseases and injuries.

    Why do tai chi

    Most of the studies on tai chi have been conducted on people aged 60-80, as well as on patients with various diseases that reduce the quality of life. As a result, it turned out that for people weakened by age or illness, this gymnastics helps to improve their physical condition in several ways at once.

    • Increased bone density . As people age, they begin to lose bone mass, which increases the risk of disease and injury. Tai chi helps stop bone breakdown and reduces fractures in the elderly.
    • Better heart and lung health . Tai chi significantly lowers blood pressure and heart rate, increases heart rate variability and other indicators of cardiovascular health.
    • Increased functionality . With minimal impact on the body, tai chi still increases muscle strength, flexibility and a sense of balance.
    • Improving the sense of balance . The relationship between tai chi practice and the development of a sense of balance has been well documented: regular training improves the ability to maintain balance and almost halves the risk of falls. Gymnastics works especially well with low-intensity aerobic work like walking.
    • Improving the quality of life and mental health . Due to the meditative component, tai chi helps fight stress, reduces anxiety and improves mood, increases self-esteem and self-confidence, and generally improves the quality of life for people recovering from a stroke and heart attack, oncology, arthritis and other diseases.

    Who should try tai chi

    Tai chi is a great choice if you:

    • Crossing the 50 mark and looking for a safe way to increase your physical activity.
    • Recovering from surgery or injury and are at a stage where you can start exercising.
    • Are you looking for a way to increase physical activity, but at the same time you have not been involved in sports for a long time and you hate fitness in any of its manifestations.
    • Want to reduce stress and anxiety, increase awareness and find harmony with yourself.

    Tai chi is suitable for people of all ages and has virtually no contraindications. However, there are still conditions in which it is better to consult a doctor before classes:

    • Pregnancy.
    • Problems with joints and spine.
    • Exacerbation of osteoporosis.
    • Hernias.

    Who shouldn't try tai chi

    Tai chi is not for you if you want to:

    • Lose weight, increase muscle mass and develop endurance.
    • Improve athletic performance in any sport.
    • Learn self-defense techniques that will allow you to effectively defend yourself against opponents.

    Soft gymnastics does not provide enough incentives to improve the fitness of healthy young people.

    Which style of tai chi to choose

    All styles of tai chi include soft and flowing forms that change continuously. However, there are some differences that may influence your choice.

    Currently, there are several main branches of tai chi:

    • Chen. This is the oldest style of tai chi and is most reminiscent of a martial art. In addition to soft and fluid movements, it also includes jumping, explosive elements, and kicks and punches. Unlike other types, Chen provides a cardio load and is more often practiced by young people.
    • Jan. The most popular style, featuring sweeping stately movements. There are no jumps or hard hand and foot techniques, so the style is suitable for people of all ages and abilities.
    • Wu (U). The second most popular style of tai chi. Includes deviations of the body from the center line. During flexion and extension of the body, the standing leg behind serves to maintain balance. Movements in Wu-style are less amplitude than in Yang forms.
    • Sun. Includes a mix of tai chi styles and martial arts elements. The style is characterized by unique footwork and soft, circular hand movements.

    For beginners, the Yang and Wu options are best - they are most often taught in Russian schools and fitness centers. These styles provide minimal stress to the muscles and joints. If you are looking for something more active, choose the Chen style: it will help increase leg strength, improve stretching and build endurance.

    Tai Chi Essentials

    This practice does not require special equipment or clothing. It is enough to find comfortable things that do not restrict movement. You can remove your shoes and go barefoot or find soft and non-slip sneakers with thin soles that do not restrict the foot.

    It is best to start your practice with a coach who will help you learn the forms and follow the correct execution and breathing. If there are no courses in your city or you want to master the practice alone, try studying with instructional videos.

    How to practice tai chi at home

    Tai chi forms of different styles may differ in name or method of execution, but they all share the basic principles of smooth continuous movement, breath control and body position. As a rule, training begins with a warm-up, which helps to warm up the muscles and tune in to the lesson.

    How to warm up

    Head tilts

    Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, breathe deeply and naturally. Gently raise your arms in front of you to shoulder level, turn your palms towards you, bend your elbows and pull your chin in, stretching the back of your neck. Then turn your hands palms away from you, straighten and lower, while tilting your head. Repeat the movement three times.

    Turns of the head

    Raise your arms again, bend your left hand and turn it with your palm towards you, and lower your right hand and point it towards the floor with your palm. Then move your left hand to the left and turn your head with it, continuing to look at the palm. Return to a straight position, change hands and turn to the right. Perform three movements in each direction.

    Shoulder Warm-up

    Do three shoulder rotations forward and three back. With an inhalation, raise your hands in front of you to shoulder level, with an exhalation, turn them palms down, lower and bend your knees slightly. Repeat the movement three times.

    Back Stretch

    Raise your arms in front of you as if holding a large beach ball. Place the left one on top, just below the level of the collarbones, and turn the palm down. Hold the right hand at the level of the stomach with the palm up. From this position, move your right hand up, turning it with your palm towards the ceiling, and lower your left hand, pointing your palm towards the floor.

    Then again assume the position as if holding a ball in your hands, only now the right palm is on top and the left palm is on the bottom. Repeat the movement: raise your left hand up with your palm to the ceiling, and lower your right hand, as if pushing the floor.

    Repeat the chain of motions two more times on each side. Bend your knees slightly as you return your arms to the ball-hold position, as you move your arms up and down, straighten your knees and stretch your back.

    Body Turns

    Leave your hands in a ball-hold position with your left hand on top. Gently bend your knees and turn your torso to the left. In a circular motion, switch hands and turn your body to the right side. Continue changing hands and turning your body left and right. Repeat three times on each side.

    Hip Stretch

    Slowly raise your arms to shoulder height with palms down, then bend your knees and lower your arms. Bring your left foot forward and place it on your heel. Bring your arms back for balance. Then move your hip back and place your foot on your toe while raising your arms in front of you. Alternate leg forward and backward. Repeat this exercise three times with each leg.

    Lateral Stretch

    Shift your weight onto your right foot and gently bend your knee. Raise your right hand to shoulder level and turn it with the palm away from you. Imagine that you are leaning your forearm and palm against a wall. Keep your left hand under your right elbow.

    Stretch your left leg out to the side and place it on your toes. Then put your left foot on the whole foot, transfer your body weight to it and move your hands to the left side, and put your right foot on the toe - now you are leaning on the wall to your left. Repeat three times on each side.

    Knee warm-up

    Clench your fists and keep them at hip level. Shift your body weight onto your right leg, bend your knee slightly, bring your left knee forward and straighten your leg. At the same time as you take out your leg, raise your right hand and perform a smooth kick. Bring your hand back to your hip and your leg back to the floor, and repeat the movement on the other side. Do three times each.

    Step forward

    Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, bend your knees slightly and step forward with your left foot. Straighten your left knee, place your foot on the floor, and keep your body weight on your right leg.

    Then bend the left leg and transfer the weight of the body to it, while striking forward with the right arm. Swing back, again returning body weight to the back standing leg, lower your arm and return your legs to a position shoulder-width apart. Repeat the same on the other side. Do three times on each side.

    Ankle warm-up

    Place your hands on your hips, bend your knees and shift your weight onto your right leg. Straighten the left forward and slightly to the side. Keeping your body weight on your back foot, alternately touch the floor with your heel and toe. Perform three times with each leg. Then do the same movement, only alternately touching the floor with the outer and inner sides of the foot.

    How to do forms

    The main part of tai chi training is learning and repeating complexes consisting of a different number of forms.

    Below is a small set of eight forms from tai chi instructor Harry Smith. In the video, Smith reveals that he often uses this moveset for beginners. The complex does not contain complex elements and is carried out in one direction, which facilitates perception and orientation in space.


    Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, while inhaling, raise your arms up through your sides and lower them in front of your body, palms down. Repeat two times.


    Raise your arms in front of your body with your palms down to shoulder level, then lower them gently while gently bending your knees. Repeat two times.

    Playing the guitar

    Turn your torso to the left, transferring your weight to your left leg, and spread your arms out to the sides, palms down.

    Extend the right arm in front of the body, as if pointing the open palm to the corner, straighten the right leg and place it on the heel. Move your left hand forward and leave it in front of the body at the level of the diaphragm. Take a step forward, transferring your body weight to your right foot. At the same time, move both hands forward and slowly lower them down.

    Turn the body to the right and repeat the same on the other side: now the weight of the body remains on the right leg, the left straightens and is placed on the heel, and the left hand points the direction.

    Stop in this position and move on to the next form.

    Step back to drive the monkey away

    Gently bend your knees and step back from your left foot while extending your right arm in front of your body, palm forward. Describe a full circle with your left hand, following it with your eyes, and then raise it to the level of your head. Place your right foot next to your left on your toes.

    Now step back with your right foot, changing the position of your hands. Bring your left hand forward, and with your right hand, describe a full circle from the bottom up, looking through your palm.

    Make two more such backward movements. Then step back from your right foot, put your left foot on the toe next to it, and fold your hands, as in a warm-up: leave the right one at the top with the palm on the floor, the left one at the bottom with the palm up, as if holding a large sphere in front of the body.

    Wild horse mane stroking

    Take a step to the side with your left foot and transfer your body weight to it, straighten your right foot. Simultaneously with this smooth sliding movement, raise your left hand with your palm up and move it to the side, and lower your right hand with your palm down.

    Move your hands smoothly, as if petting a wild animal that could run away at any moment. Bring your right foot to your left, and fold your arms again in front of your body, as if holding a sphere. Perform the same movement on the other side, stepping on the right foot.

    Single whip

    Extend your arms forward. Fold the fingers of the right hand into a pinch and bend the wrist, leave the left palm open. Take a step to the side with your left foot and transfer your body weight to it. Turn the body to the left, move the left hand to the position in front of the chest, gently bend at the elbow and turn the palm forward. Leave your right hand aside with folded fingers.

    Place your right foot on top of your left foot, bring your right hand in a circular motion from below, and squeeze the fingers of your left into a pinch.

    Repeat on the other side: step off the right foot, turning the body to the right, bring the right hand in front of the body with the palm away from you, and leave the left hand to the side with the fingers gathered and the wrist bent. Then turn the body straight, and spread both arms to the sides to shoulder level.

    Crossed arms

    Lower your arms down through your sides, then cross them in front of your body and lift them up with your palms towards you to shoulder level. Stretch your arms in front of you with your palms down, bend your elbows slightly and lower them with a gentle stroking motion.


    Bring your left foot in front of your right and let your arms rest freely at your sides.

    Where to get tai chi training

    You can learn several forms and routines from YouTube videos. Below we have put together a playlist of free tai chi lessons and demonstrations.

    There are also several applications with tai chi lessons, in which the masters show forms and complexes in detail.


    Price: Free


    Price: Free


    Price: Free


    Price: Free


    Price: Free (Paul Lam) is a physical therapist and tai chi instructor.

    How often and for how long to practice tai chi

    Gentle practice of tai chi does not tire the muscles and nervous system, so it does not require a long recovery. You can practice every day without taking the rest days that are required for more intense workouts.

    Learn more