Beginner Tai Chi Exercises and the Practice of Tai Chi

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Tai Chi is a martial art form that originated in China. It was originally used for self defense but now being used more for health purposes. Tai Chi is referred to as “moving meditation” because of the slow movements and deep breathing that occurs during the practice. Tai Chi is used to improve health and well being. It can be practiced alone or in a group. Most people practice in peaceful atmospheres in the early morning. At all times, the body is in constant motion and proper posture is very important. Although perfecting the Tai Chi practice can take many years, beginner Tai Chi exercises can help learn the basics of the martial art.

Getting Started

The smooth and measured movements of Tai Chi take practice and skill to successfully master. Concentration, balance and coordination are needed to perform the art of Tai Chi. It is best for a person to start with beginner Tai Chi exercises.

Listed below are a few beginner Tai Chi exercises ideal for someone who is new to the practice.

The Kick Start (Opening Move)

This is the step that will lead you into every Tai Chi move. Before starting any of the following movements begin with this step. You will also incorporate the Next Step as well.

Start with your feet shoulder width apart. Keep your back straight and your knees slightly bent. Keep your eyes straight forward and your chin tucked slightly in. Now follow these steps:

  • Raise your hands from your waist. Extend your hands in front of you, keeping them level with your shoulders, and continue lifting upwards.
  • You will release your hands at shoulder level, but until you do so, keep them perpendicular with the ground.
  • Your palms will now face forward and push back towards your waist.

The Next Step (The Palm Move)

  • Lift your hands up slowly bringing them close to your heart. Both palms should be facing each other.
  • Drop your knees slightly. After your hands cover your heart, hold this position as long as possible.
  • Once you are tired, return to the starting position by doing the steps in reverse.

Beginner Tai Chi Exercises

These exercises follow the movements listed above. You will perform the Kick Start and the Next Step before moving on to these movements.

The Ward Off

  • Begin where you ended the Palm Move.
  • Raise your right leg above your knee, then step with the same foot in the same direction (right).
  • At the same time, extend both your hands to the right. Your right palm should be facing your chest and your left palm should be facing down with your fingers pointing to the right.

Roll Back and Single Whip

  • Begin where you ended the Ward Off move.
  • At the same time, roll your hand over and pull your weight back.
  • Bring your hands together and press them together. Push them to the right. Now move to the single whip.
  • Move your hands across your body. Move your hands until your right hand does not come back on the right side.
  • During this time, make a crane head with your fingers while lifting your left leg.


National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Tai Chi -