Establishing Your Tai Chi Workout Routine
The founder of the Yang style, Yang Lu Chan, only had the late night and early morning morning hours to develop his tai chi skills--and only after rushing about all day as a servant. On top of going without much sleep, he was always pretending to be both deaf and dumb to gain access to the Chen tai chi secrets. This was his routine for several years.
It’s not a routine for everyone—very few, in fact. But it does attest to the power of consistent practice, in the face of everything else going on in one’s life.
The best way to progress in your tai chi practice is through regular workout sessions.
Here are some tips for establishing a regular workout routine:
• Set a regular workout time
• Set a minimum workout length, but aim for 20+ minutes
Set a regular tai chi practice time
. Try to set aside a specific time of day for your practice. For some, this may be in the quiet of the morning, before breakfast.
For others, jumping out of bed to practice may not be very appealing. They may choose evening practice sessions instead. Tai chi may become their way to relieve stress after a day at work.
Some prefer to practice slowly and mindfully in the late evening. With a gentle (i.e. non-martial) approach, most find that a late tai chi practice does not interfere with sleep. In fact, a calm and meditative practice may help one fall more quickly into a deep, restful sleep.
A regular, daily practice time helps to make tai chi a normal part of your life, like eating and brushing your teeth.Workout length. Choose the time of day that works the best for you. Start off with a piece of time that is do-able, and then expand it as your practice deepens.
20+ Minute Practice Sessions. But, if you can, try to aim for a practice session of 20 minutes or more. The body needs about 20 minutes of continuous exercise to really get its juices going—or in more scientific terms, for the blood vessels to be significantly engorged for increased blood flow. The increased blood and energy flow is responsible for that “I feel good” feeling after a tai chi workout.
Even if you only have a few minutes to practice, jump into a workout session anyway. Even a few minutes practice can yield big benefits. Think about how good it can feel, to simply stretch or walk around for a few minutes after struggling with taxes or a computer problem. The same goes for taking a small tai chi break from the normal stresses of life.
Funnily enough, as people do tai chi, they often find themselves wanting to do even more. Practice sessions tend to expand naturally.
Next: Read about the importance of setting up a regular location for your tai chi workout.