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Place your feet hip-width apart, lift your arms, and give them a shake to summon your chi, or energy. “The idea is to wake up your energy and also notice where you're holding too much tension, so you can literally shake it off and move more easily,” Taylor says.
1. Keep feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent.
2. With arms at sides & palms facing backward, take a deep inhale.
3. Allow wrists to rise to should height, elbows soft.
4. Exhale, straighten arms.
5. Feel the energy extend from your core through your fingers.
“Breath begins and ends each movement,” Couvillion says. “Think of the inhale energy coming into your core and increasing the space within you, and the exhale energy distributing outward — like water pressure — to express from the core to the outer surface of the body.”
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Once you feel balanced, shift your weight from left to right. “Keep going with this side to side rolling movement, allowing your arms to swing without trying to control them, and pulling your weight out of one leg and then the other, rather than pushing,” Taylor says.
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When you’re ready, try the “rising sun” movement.
- Stand with feet hip-width apart, arms hanging easily in front of you, crossed at wrist.
- Take a big breath, allow body to lift a bit, then breathe out & relax.
- Take another breath, now lift arms & reach up.
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Hold this pose, stretch up, then relax down with a long exhale. “This practice creates a moving and healing relationship between your breath and body, so not only can you move more easily, but you can also remain relaxed and destressed even when things get hard,” Taylor says.
- Resist the urge to be “perfect” when practicing tai chi, Couvillion says.
- While you can follow videos online, it helps to practice with a group.
- Look for teachers who seem peaceful, since “that is what we each ultimately seek,” he says.
- Practice, practice, practice.