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Q and A about tai chi exercises


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If you're happy go straight to the tai chi exercises

Are the tai chi and qigong exercises easy to do?

Gosh another tricky one.

In one way tai chi is very easy - at the beginner levels the moves are all gentle and 'doable'. Remembering the movements and co-ordinating the mind with the body takes time and practice.

qigong moves can be a lot simpler because many of them do not involve walking while doing them and your legs stay more or less in the same place. Which is why many of the qigong exercises are great for people with limited mobility - you can do lots of them sitting down.

If you can't spare much time to practice tai chi and are mainly looking for health and relaxation benefits then the qigong patterns are probably the best place to start.

tai chi at the highest levels takes the same kind of effort and dedication that Olympic athletes put in.


How much effort is involved in learning tai chi?

How long is a piece of string? We don't know how much effort you need to put in - it depends on what level of tai chi mastery you want to achieve.

Do you want reach Olympic standards? Years of effort and dedication - with many hours of tai chi a day.

Do you want to be relaxed and fit? Then 15 minutes a day is all the tai chi effort you need.

As the saying goes "you get out of it, what you put into it'.

And according to our tai chi teacher 'its not the hours you put in that counts, its what you put into the hours'


How long will it take me to learn tai chi?

We like it when you ask the easy questions!!

There are no hard and fast rules about tai chi because there are so many different things to take into account.

What are you trying to learn - the martial art of tai chi Chuan or how to relax and be fit with qigong and tai chi exercises?

Where are you starting from - what kind of skill do have now?. You might have done no exercise in 20 years or you might be a 30 year old ballet dancer. You might only have to see people move to be able to copy them, you might have a great memory.

We know that's not what you want to hear. Just remember that all of the things above make a difference. Ok? So …..

To give you a very rough idea. If you were doing tai chi to improve your health - you would be able to copy the teacher in the very first lesson - and not look silly.

After 3 - 4 lessons you would remember some of the individual tai chi exercises and begin to anticipate the teacher. Some people never progress to working on their own but always follow a teacher or a tai chi exercise video.

That’s fine.

Other people like to be able to do the routines anywhere and need to memorise the sequences and patterns. For qigong this can take a few weeks to memorise 4-6 of the individual exercises. If you are learning the tai chi 24 Beijing form it can take 4-8 months to memorise the moves.

That's fine too!. Learn tai chi at your pace to suit your needs.


How often do I need to practice my tai chi?

To get the most benefits from tai chi you need to practice for at least 15 minutes a day - every day!

It is better to practice every day than to have longer tai chi workouts 2 or 3 times a week. So you might want to think about the balance of classes and practice if you get stuck for time.

In case you are wondering - we're told you should not practice tai chi or qigong for more than 6 hours a day.!!!


What happens when I’ve learned the tai chi form or qigong pattern?

tai chi and qigong are like art forms. Learning the forms or patterns is just the beginning. When you know the tai chi form or the moving qigong patterns thoroughly you can just let yourself go in the movement and achieve a better understanding of the underlying movement principles.

Even tai chi masters practice the form every day to improve their understanding of it. Our teacher who has done tai chi for over 20 years says that he is still discovering new things.

So you can continue to refine the tai chi form and gain all the benefits.

Sometimes, just sometimes, you want to do something different or new. We're the same and so are most of the people we know. The same thing happens with tai chi.

So, we've moved on to longer forms and new patterns. The great thing about tai chi and qigong is there is so much variety to choose from.

Now we're much better than when we started, a number of years ago, and we're still learning and improving. And we know that there is lots more to tai chi to discover.

But hey, this is exactly why we didn't sign up for gym exercises.

The most important thing is to enjoy what you do - move on if you are ready - otherwise stay with the tai chi forms and patterns that you like.


Can doing tai chi cause injuries?

Any exercise can cause damage if it is not done properly.

That said, tai chi for health and relaxation and qigong have lots of flowing easy movements unlikely to cause injury or damage if done correctly.

One area to be careful is with the knees. There is a lot of shifting of weight from one side of the body to the other in tai chi and a lot of turns where the weight is one leg - not the one you are turning on!!.

Check out our basic posture information tai chi technique - basic guidelines or if you are looking for more details on tai chi posture check out the tai chi technique - perfect posture


Sometimes people get aches and pains. Often this is because we have picked up a lot of bad habits, we slouch, always hunch our shoulders up - that sort of thing - and when you do the tai chi exercise with the correct posture your body thinks something is wrong.

If you do experience pain or discomfort - stop what you are doing. Check your tai chi posture and figure out if it is because you are correcting a bad habit or if it is something else.

Work within your limits - there is no hurry - take it slowly let your body gradually adapt to tai chi.

If it’s a while since you did any exercise it’s a good idea to check out your exercise plans with your health care professional.



What is the best time of day to practice my tai chi?

The best time of the day is when you can fit it in!

It also depends on whether you want tai chi to relax and energise you for a good start to the day.

Or whether you want tai chi to help you wind down at the end of the day and feel peaceful and calm. If you're one of those people that start to buzz after exercise ask yourself if it will keep you awake!

tai chi exercises are so versatile there's nothing to stop you doing both.

If you have arthritis or are stiff you will know when your joints are at their best and you might want to do the tai chi warm up exercises - just to get you going.


Enjoy your tai chi! top