4 simple tips for learning tai chi

November 3, 2015

Tai chi is a collection of ancient Chinese movements that offers many benefits to practitioners. Here are four simple tips to help you get the maximum fitness benefits and master the techniques of tai chi.

4 simple tips for learning tai chi

1. Find a practice partner

When you first start tai chi, you're going to want to practice regularly to learn the movements and techniques and get them into your muscle memory.

The best way to do this is to find a buddy who is already well versed in tai chi or who is learning along with you.

Having a practice partner will help hold you accountable for practicing outside of class. And, practicing with a partner can help make you feel less self-conscious if you practice out in public!

2. Wear thin-soled shoes, or no shoes at all

One important aspect of tai chi is a feeling of connectedness with the earth. So if you're learning tai chi, do it with very soft, thin soles on your shoes, or don't wear shoes at all.

Along with perhaps finding it more comfortable, there's a bit of philosophy at work in this suggestion, too. In tai chi, the belief is that not having big blocks between the Earth and your feet will allow the energy of the Earth to flow into your body more readily.

3. Learn how to breathe

Mindful breathing is essential to tai chi practice, and many people who start learning have to teach themselves how to breathe mindfully.

In order to start learning mindful breathing, keep the tongue on the roof of your mouth while you breathe, then breathe only through your nose.

Also, imagine breath going into and out of the belly to ensure deep breaths that send air to the bottom of your lungs.

Finally, you should try to relax at the start of your tai chi practice sessions. Doing so allows tension to release and air to flow readily to all parts of the body when you inhale.

4. Learn the names of tai chi movements

Learning the names of tai chi moves can help you remember individual movements more clearly than if you just copy your instructor.

Learning the movements names can also help you learn the sequence that movements regularly come in, so when you're in a class or learning a new sequence and you experience a move you know, you can predict what move might be coming next.

As a study aid, write notes after your tai chi classes and read them over before your next class to help you memorize all the different tai chi terminology you come across.

Help yourself get the most out of tai chi

If you want to stand a better chance of excelling in tai chi, put these four simple tips into action.

Doing so will help you learn the movements more clearly, make it easier to reap the physical and mental benefits more readily, and help your tai chi practice have more of a positive effect on your daily life.

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