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Course Background Material - Tai Chi Beginners Session 1 - Elemental Tai Chi
 
Tai Chi Beginners I
Warmups
Form
  • Preparation: Balance, Relaxation
  • Bend to knee
  • First Position
  • Rise/Fall/Open Qigong (exercise)
   Waving Hands in Clouds
  • Turn waist side to side, letting arms follow
  • When turning to left, let right arm float across and up
  • When right arm floats up on left, turn waist to right
  • As waist turns, let arm float up, over, and down
  • Repeat
  • When turning to right, let left arm float across and up
  • When left arm floats up on right, turn waist to left
  • As waist turns, let arm float up, over, and down
  • Repeat
  • Practice with both arms - one above, one below
  • All movement comes from waist. Do not use chest, shoulder, or arm muscles.
Standing Meditation - First Steps
   Standing / centering
  • Stand with feet parallel, shoulder width apart
  • Arms by side, palms facing leg, space under armpits
  • Crown up, Chin in, Throat relaxed
  • Relax/Sink the Shoulders
  • Sink the rib
  • Relax the tailbone, lower back
  • Relax the hips and legs
  • Let all your weight drop down through the center of your legs into your Bubble Spring.
   Breathing
  • Tongue to roof of mouth; breathe through nose only.
  • Use to create internal awareness
  • Make inhale and exhale of equal length
  • Make the breaths long, slow, thin, and deep
  • Completely inflate the chest and abdomen when inhaling
  • Completely deflate the chest and abdomen when exhaling
  • Never hold your breath. If you need to hold your breath, your breaths are too long. Shorten them.
  • To improve cardiovascular fitness, slowly increase length of inhale/exhale
  • Relax and sink with each exhale
   First Position
  • Wuji Stance - feet parallel, shoulder width apart
  • Exhaling, drop straight down to touch fingertips to knees
  • Inhaling, float arms up, with fingertips curved slightly downard at first
  • Keep the wrists straight
  • When the hands reach ear height, raise the fingertips by straightening the fingers, letting the energy rise up into the fingertips
  • Simultaneously drop the elbows, allowing the shoulders to relax
  • Fingertips should be no higher than bottom of ear lobe
  • Extend through palms
  • Arms not straight; drop elbows somewhat
  • Relax the shoulders, chest, upper arms, forearms, wrists, fingers, palms. Do not use chest, shoulders, or arms to hold up arms.
Hip Circles - 20 times each side
  • Stand with feet parallel, shoulder width apart
  • Hold palms facing naval, one half to one foot out
  • Rotate hips 20 times to left so that naval traces an oval, and palms follow naval
  • Rotate hips 20 times to right so that naval traces an oval, and palms follow naval
Waist Exercise #1 - 20 times each side
  • Stand with feet parallel, shoulder width apart
  • Drop arms by side
  • Relax - legs, hips, waist, shoulders, elbows, wrists, fingers. Make a light, hollow fist. Arms should hang almost limp.
  • Rotate waist to left 120 degrees or so. Let fists and arms follow the waist, making no effort to move them.
  • Rotate waist to right 120 degrees on other side. Let fists and arms follow the waist, making no effort to move them.
  • Continue rotating back and forth, observing how the fists and arms follow the waist, like a rock on a string.
Shoulder Circles - 20 times each side
  • Stand in right forward (bow) stance, back leg straight to provide support through back foot
  • Turn waist to left, letting arm with hollow fist rise up
  • Turn waist back to right, letting arm follow over top of circle and back
  • As hand drops to bottom, turn waist back to left and repeat
  • Stand in left forward (bow) stance, back leg straight to provide support through back foot
  • Turn waist to right, letting arm with hollow fist rise up
  • Turn waist back to left, letting arm follow over top of circle and back
  • As hand drops to bottom, turn waist back to right and repeat
Leg Stretch/Swing - 3 times each side
  • Stand in left forward (bow) stance, back leg not too far back.
  • Swing back (right) leg up, straightening leg, heel to shoulder. Hold right arm out, palm down, with fingertips extended so that toe of foot touches fingertips. Drop heel to ground lightly.
  • Swing the back (left) arm up, back and over. Fold at waist, keep back straight, until chest touches right knee or leg and fingertips extend out.
  • Move weight over forward (right) foot and rise up in right-side Golden Rooster.
  • From Golden Rooster drop raised (left) foot down and back, then swing up as before, dropping left heel lightly onto ground.
  • Swing the back (right) arm up, back and over. Fold at waist, keep back straight, until chest touches left knee or leg and fingertips extend out.
  • Move weight over forward (left) foot and rise up in left-side Golden Rooster.
  • From Golden Rooster drop raised (right) foot down and back, then swing up as before, dropping right heel lightly onto ground.
  • Continue back and forth on each side.