How To Learn Tai Chi For Free

I’ve been learning Tai Chi lately, because I find the gentle movement more engaging than sitting meditation. It’s relaxing, and since it’s a very light form of exercise, I find that I don’t overdo it. I did some local classes early in the year, which was good in terms of getting out and meeting other like-minded people, but I found the teacher frustrating and nights still aren’t great for me.

So I decided to learn at home using this YouTube video Chris Pei. Tai Chi For Beginners:

At four hours long, it’s an epic undertaking; but remember that learning Tai Chi is a life-long process, and it’s not like something you just master first time. I suspect that my old attitude that life was about pushing through to the next accomplishment is part of what made me sick, so now it’s more about enjoying the learning process.

Pay attention to the introductory instructions in the video, then move on to the warm up. Since it takes several views of the different sections in the video to learn the whole routine, I’ve included each section from the video that you need to repeat multiple times below.

The camera position jumps around sometimes, but you can orient relative to the river which is always behind his starting position.

When the guy on the video is facing you with the river behind him, mirror his moves because his left is on the right side of the screen. When his side is towards you, face the opposite direction to him on screen: if he’s facing the left side of the screen, you should be facing right.

When you can’t see the river behind him and you can see his back, it’s because the camera is pointing away from the river, so don’t mirror, just follow: his left is your left.

Remember to make the learning process itself relaxing: I often get caught up in wanting to rush learning things; but that’s the exact opposite of the effect you want!

Warm Up

If you don’t feel well enough to tackle the whole routine, even just the warm up will loosen up your body and get your blood flowing. I start every day with this now after getting out of bed:

Section 1

Part 1

  • Opening position
  • Parting the wild horses mane
  • White crane separates it’s wings

Part 2

  • Brush and push
  • Hands on the loom

Section 2

Part 1

  • Repulse monkey steps backward

Part 2

  • Grasping the birds tail
  • Ward off
  • Roll back
  • Squeeze
  • Push forward

Section 3

Part 1

  • Single whip
  • Wave hands like cloud

Part 2

  • Hand pat on horse
  • Right kick
  • Box opponents ears
  • Left kick

Section 4

Part 1

  • Snake creeps down
  • Golden rooster stands on one leg

Part 2

  • Fair lady works the shovel
  • Picking up the needle from sea bottom
  • Fan through the back
  • Chop with fist
  • Block and punch
  • Apparently closed
  • Closing

Whole Routine

Author: Graham

I'm a guy in his late 40's, recovering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome since May 2009. I now offer coaching and support to other people with CFS/ME.