What Is Tai Chi and How Can I Start?

Many people want to try exercise but do not know where to start, or are afraid to try something straining or vigorous. If you have the same sentiments, why not try something that’s easy, low impact but has plenty of health benefits like Tai Chi?

If you are looking for a form of exercise that can help you relax and reduce stress, then you might want to consider Tai Chi. While originally developed as a method for self-defense, tai chi is popularly known as meditation in motion, which is a graceful style of exercise practiced by many all over the world.

What is Tai Chi?


Tai chi stems from ancient Chinese tradition stemming back from the 12th century, and has been practiced for hundreds of years. It traces its influence back to Buddhist and Taoist monasteries and is divided into five different styles, which all have their own principles and methods. These different styles are the following:

  • Chen-style
  • Sun-style
  • Yang-style
  • Wu- or Wu (Hao)-style
  • Wu-style

The whole practice involves a series of slow, focused movements, which are done with proper concentration. Much like yoga but with a little element of dance or ballet. One moves through the series of postures without stopping, making sure that the body is constantly in motion.

Benefits of Tai Chi

When practiced properly and regularly, Tai Chi can play an important role in your quest for overall health. Some of its benefits include the following:

  • Improved relaxation
  • Reduced anxiety and stress
  • Better flexibility and balance
  • Improved blood circulation
  • Improved cardiovascular function
  • Increased energy
  • Increased muscle strength and tone

Regular practice has also been shown to reduce instances of insomnia, lower blood pressure, alleviate joint pain and give you an overall feeling of wellness.

Who can do Tai Chi?

Tai Chi is a low impact kind of practice, which puts very little stress on your joints and muscles. This makes it safe for all fitness levels and ages. In fact, it is so low impact that it is recommended for elderly participants or those who have never exercised before. If you haven’t exercised for a long time, then Tai Chi is a good place to start.

What also makes this exercise appealing to many is that it is very easy for you to begin your practice. You do not need to buy special equipment or gear. All you have to do is join a Tai Chi class or watch instructional videos.

While the practice is generally safe, it is not recommended for pregnant women or those who have joint pain, osteoporosis or bone fractures. If you have any of these conditions, you should consult your health care provider first.

Starting Your Practice


While there are many videos and books that teach you how to do Tai Chi at home, I recommend that you find a class taught by a qualified tai chi instructor before anything else. Join the class for a month or two, so that you can fully understand the basics of the practice, learn proper techniques and how to execute poses safely. Practicing with supervision is important especially if you are just starting out or if you have problems with coordination or balance.

Tai Chi is very, very popular today and you are bound to find one in your community. Ask around in local health centers, fitness clubs or senior centers. Classes are usually practiced in parks, and early in the morning.

Over time, you may eventually feel confident enough to practice Tai Chi all by yourself, and that’s where the books and videos will eventually come in.

Have you tried tai chi before? How was it?

About the author

Justine R

On an eternal quest for happiness, Justine tries to lead a positive lifestyle by giving back to the universe and following natural approaches to parenting, health, food and beauty. When she's not on the beach, she keeps herself fit (and sane) by running and doing yoga.

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