This page is designed as a reference for those who have participated in the "T'ai Chi Warm Ups" classes at the various music camps and festivals that have me to share these ancient exercises in addition to my teaching music.
While the suggested links and books are useful for anyone interested in Tai Chi, I have geared my recommendations to those that will hopefully inspire beginners to continue this path to self cultivation.
Stand like a tree.
Stand straight with aware relaxation. Weight evenly distributed between
Arms gently hang to the sides with the space of a small egg in your armpits.
From the diaphragm down:
gently sink your energy through relaxed feet, like a tree sinking roots
into the ground.
From the diaphragm up: gently stretch your energy up through the crown
of your head, like a tree’s branches stretching up towards the sky.
Your spine should feel a slight stretch. Relax. Let your bones support
Stand as above. Gently place your tongue on the roof of your mouth.
Breath through the nose. Breath slow and deep. An in breath causes your lower
abdomen to gently expand. An out breath causes your lower abdomen to gently contract.
Stand as above. Visualize that a pole runs vertically through your body. It runs straight up and down. 90 degrees to the ground. It doesn't tilt in any direction.
When standing, the pole runs through the crown of the head, through the spine, and through the center spot on the ground between the feet.
When shifting your weight, the center line maintains it’s 90 relationship with the ground. As the weight shifts, the center line ends up passing through the crown, spine and foot that the weight is on. Also called the substantial or full foot. The insubstantial or empty foot is relaxed.
When turning; the body rotates around the center line. In the following Three Box Exercises.
Box Exercise A
Relaxed breathing. Maintain your center line. Shift weight, moving from center of box, to one side, and then to the other. Hips face straight ahead. Distinguish substantial and insubstantial. Repeat from three to twelve times.
Box Excesses B
Shift the weight as in Box Excesses A, Gradually turn the hips as you shift the weight. Hips stop at the corner of the box. Repeat from three to twelve times.
Box Excesses C
Move as in Box Excesses B, only once the hips stop at the corner of the box, continue turning the upper body to face the side of the box. Repeat from three to twelve times.