There are a lot of things to consider when practising tai chi and chi kung.
The numerous rules added to the movements and breathing can be quite overwhelming.
Here are my ten tips for beginners practising chi kung, tai chi and meditation in general:
- breathe through the nose – the tip of your tongue should be touching the roof of your mouth so gently close your lips and breathe through your nose
- breathe into the abdomen to help you to relax and feel more “rooted”
- stay upright – maintain a straight back but try to keep your muscles relaxed; when you’re suitably upright you should be able to relax the core but remain upright
- don’t practice within 1 hour of eating – when you eat food, your stomach will be full and to do any sort of exercise will make you feel physically sick; additionally, chi is said to focus on the stomach to aid digestion
- if you are thirsty, you will feel more comfortable if you have a sip of water; it will also help as the deep breathing may make your throat dry
- don’t practice outdoors in windy weather – apart from being a distraction, the chi can scatter in strong wind
- don’t practice in the rain – it is a distraction; similarly, don’t practice in sweaty clothing
- wear loose clothing – this will enable you to move more freely
- don’t practice if you need to go to the toilet – apart from being a distraction, you may also have an “accident” if practising the trickier moves!
- be patient to experience the benefits – the benefits only come from regular practice although you should benefit immediately in terms of relaxation.
This brief list should get you started but don’t worry if you forget things. As always, listen to your body and if something doesn’t feel right, ask your teacher for help as he or she can look at what you’re doing and advise as appropriate.