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Tai Chi Movements

A simple program of tai chi exercises you can practice anywhere

Tai Chi Gong (18 Movements)

Provided by D. Poff

Preparation for tai chi movements
With feet together, raise hands to eye level and rub together for five seconds to generate energy.

1. Opening Position
Move feet to shoulder width apart, arms hanging at sides with palms facing thighs. Relax the whole body, knees slightly bent with back straight. Touch fingers to thighs. Breathing in, with elbows and wrists slightly bent, raise both arms slowly to shoulder level, palms down, fingers pointed slightly upward and gently curved. While breathing out, lower arms with palms facing downwards until fingers touch thighs.
Repeat six times ending with arms in front at shoulder level.

2. Broadening Chest
With arms extended in front at shoulder level, turn hands until palms face each other, fingertips gently touching. Breathing in, open arms out until fully extended at sides. Breathing out, draw hands together again with arms extended in front, until fingertips touch. Turning palms down, lower hands until fingertips touch thighs, at the same time lowering body with knees bent and back straight. Then straightening knees, raise arms with palms facing forward as in opening position, to shoulder level.
Repeat these tai chi movements 6 times ending with arms extended at sides, shoulder level.

3. Dancing with Rainbow
With feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, breathe in and shift weight to right hip, turn left from the waist, extending left arm with palm facing upward, elbows stretched back as far as possible, right arm curved with palm facing down just above the head. Turn head to look at outstretched arm throughout the arc. Reverse position – turn to right from the waist, while breathing out shift body weight to left hip, extend right arm to side with palm facing up and eyes focused on right palm, and left arm above head with palm facing down.
Repeat these tai chi movements 6 times.

4. Circling Arms (arms up and cross wrists)
With knees bent, bring arms in front down to thighs, crossing hands right over left at wrist with palms facing into body. Breathing in, raise arms in front to chest level. Turning palms to face downwards, continue to raise arms above your head and raise body slightly, until fully extended with hands crossed over your head, rising on your toes and turning hands palm up. Breathing out, draw hands apart with arms extended at sides. Bending knees, draw arms down to thighs drawing hands together until crossed at the wrists left over right with palms facing into body.
Repeat these tai chi movements 6 times.

5. Twisting waist and Swing Arms Behind Head (stretch shoulders and push palms)
With knees bent, arms extended to front with right palm facing up, breathe in drawing right arm back at waist level into an arc reaching behind the body and hand rotating left until palm is facing down; twisting from the waist with eyes following this arc, breathe out and return hand to front with thumb brushing the right ear and palm down until fully extended in front touching right little finger to thumb of left hand. With right arm extended to front and palm up, repeat sequence with left hand.
Repeat these tai chi movements6 times.

6. Rowing a boat in the Heart of the Lake
With knees bent, touch fingers to thighs and raise arms at sides with palms facing up. Breathe in and raise body on tiptoes, extending arms fully above the head with elbows slightly bent and palms facing front or out. Lower arms in front of body until fingers touch thighs, lowering body with back straight.
Repeat these tai chi movements 6 times.

7. Holding a Ball
With feet at shoulder width apart, knees bent and fingers touching thighs, swing arms to left with left palm facing down, right palm facing up and a little higher, until shoulder width, raising body onto balls of feet and breathing in. Lower arms until fingers touch thighs, breathing out and lowering body until knees are bent. Repeat sequence to the left.
Repeat these tai chi movements 6 times.

8. Carrying the Moon
With feet shoulder width apart, imagine that you have a big balloon between your hands and you turn to look at the moon over your shoulder. Start with knees bent, fingers touching thighs. Turn left from the waist and breathing in, raise body and extend both arms up and over to the left with elbows slightly bent, palms vertical. Left arm will be extended with elbow pushing back, right arm reaching across chest until under right shoulder/armpit. Twisting from the torso, try to keep eyes on left hand. Breathing out, lower body with knees bent/back straight, with palms facing each other, swing arms down and across, touching thighs, then repeat the sequence to the left. End with arms outstretched in front, palms facing down.
Repeat these tai chi movements 6 times

9. Twisting Waist and Pushing Palms
With feet shoulder length apart and knees bent, draw hands to the waist, with palms facing upwards. Opening right hand, breathe in and push right palm left across the chest at 45 degrees to the left with palm forward until arm is fully extended, twisting from the waist, keeping left arm at waist level, elbow bent and palm up. Return to center, drawing right hand back to waist, palm up. Breathing out, repeat sequence with left hand.
Repeat these tai chi movements 6 times.

10. Playing with Clouds
With feet shoulder width apart and knees bent, draw left arm to face level, palm facing body. Drop right hand to just below waist level, palm facing body. Turn body from the waist to left, breathing in, drawing left hand across face, right arm just below waist level in scooping motion, twisting at waist until lower arm is behind the shoulder. Keep eyes on the hand that is being drawn across the face. When fully stretched to the left, switch arm positions, and maintaining elbows slightly bent, draw right hand up and across the face, left arm at waist level in scooping motion, breathe out and turn fully to right. Switch arm positions.
Repeat these tai chi movements 6 times.

11. Scooping from the Sea
Take one step forward with left foot and transfer weight to left foot. Bend forward at the waist drawing both arms downwards and toward left knee. Cross hands left over right over left knee with palms facing upwards and top of head aligned with left foot. Scoop up, transferring weight to right leg, breathing in and gradually straightening body upright and stretching back. Bring crossed palms up above your head with palms facing back. Raise head to watch hands; separate and extend arms out and down with palms facing the ground as you breathe out.
Repeat these tai chi movements 6 times.

12. Playing with Waves (Pigeon)
With left foot still outstretched, heel up and weight back on right leg, breathe in and draw hands back toward chest until under arms, palms facing down. Reach forward with both arms extended and palms down, raising hands from waist height to chest level, breathing in and shifting weight to left foot until right heel is raised. Curling fingers, pull hands back toward chest and then down to waist level, breathing in and transferring weight back to right foot, with left heel only in contact with the ground. Finish with arms extended in front.
Repeat these tai chi movements 6 times.

13. Spreading your Wings
With left foot still forward, and arms extended in front from the last move, turn palms in to face each other. Breathing in, open both arms wide to sides and then over the head until backs of hands touch, transferring weight to right foot, and left foot raised until only heel is in contact with the ground. Keep eyes on your raised hands and stretch back. When arms are fully extended over the head , breathe out and bring arms down at sides and then front until fingertips touch in front, transferring weight back to left foot until right heel leaves the ground.
Repeat these tai chi movements 12 times.

14. Punching (Stretch up with fist)
From last position with arms extended in front, close fists with palms up, draw left foot back, and arms back until elbows are tight to the body, bending knees. Breathing out, punch left fist forward and up to chest level. As you punch turn the fist palm down. Pull left fist back to waist, turning the fist to palm-up position and breathing in. Repeat sequence with right fist. Punch with your brain – with deliberation and control, not speed or force.
Repeat 6 times.

15. Flying like a Goose (Flying Eagle)
Drop hands to sides with palms facing the body. Raise heels, breathing in. Raise body with both arms extended at sides like wings until arms are over the head with backs of hands touching and eyes on your raised hands, (or alternatively until arms are at shoulder height with palms facing the ground and elbows slightly bent). Raise both heels so weight rests on ball of each foot. Lower heels, breathing out and sink body by bending knees, keeping back straight and curving arms downwards.
Repeat 12 times.

16. Spinning Wheels (Spin the Flying Wheel)
With feet shoulder width apart, and knees bent, bring extended arms together in front at the thighs, as if holding a small ball with palms facing each other and elbows bent, and breathing in. Raise body twisting to left, keeping arms in ball-holding position over the heads with left arm above right arm. As you stretch upwards, keep eyes on the imaginary ball. At the top of the arc (over your head), rotate the hand position so that the right hand is over the left hand. Continue the circle, breathing out as you begin the downward arc, twisting body to the right until you are bent down to original position with knees bent. Repeat this circle three times to the left (clockwise). At bottom of third circle, reverse and do 3 circles in the opposite direction (counter-clockwise). Repeat this total sequence three times (18 circles).
Repeat 3 times.

17. Bouncing the Ball
With feet shoulder width apart, raise body and bring arms to sides. Shift weight to right foot, breathing in. Raise right arm to chest level and raise left knee until parallel with the ground. If possible, lift to ball of right foot and lower again twice with right hand moving as if bouncing a basketball. Bring down right arm. Shift weight to left foot and repeat sequence with right knee and left arm raised, bouncing on left foot, breathing out.
Repeat 6 times.

18. Pressing the Palms
Feet shoulder width apart and knees bent. Bring arms down in front of torso until fingers touch, palms up. Breathe in 3 times as you raise arms to chest level in front, keeping fingertips together, raising body until knees are straight. Extend arms to the side, with palms down, breathing out. Lowering hands to torso, lowering body to original position.
Repeat 6 times.

After completing the tai chi movements, repeat entire sequence of 18 movements ONCE each. End with raising hands above head and rubbing palms together. Do not sit or eat for 15 minutes after completing the tai chi exercises.

NOTE: As you advance, you may increase the number of repetitions in increments of 3, e.g. from 6 to 9 etc.

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