The Best Morning Tai Chi Routine

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Are you looking for a way to start your mornings with more energy and focus? If so, then introducing a tai chi routine into your morning schedule could be just what you need! This ancient Chinese practice involves performing slow, gentle movements that can provide an incredible amount of health benefits, from reducing stress to improving balance and physical stamina.

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Not only is tai chi beneficial for both your body and mind, it’s also relatively easy to learn – all it takes is patience and dedication. In this article we’ll cover the basics of why you should incorporate tai chi into your daily routine as well as how to assemble the best morning tai chi routine tailored specifically to meet your individual needs.

Start your day with a few gentle stretches to limber up your muscles and joints

Starting off your day with a few gentle stretches is a great way to limber up your muscles and joints. This is especially true for those who practice morning tai chi. These stretches help to prepare the body for the movements that will be performed during the routine, as well as warm up the muscles and joints.

Limbering up the body is especially important in the morning, as the body is stiff from a night’s rest. Taking the time to stretch and warm up the body will make the morning tai chi routine much more comfortable and enjoyable. So take a few minutes each morning to stretch and loosen up your body before diving into your morning tai chi routine.

Here is a sample stretching routine:

  1. Up-down neck stretches
  2. Side-to-side neck stretches
  3. Arm Swings
  4. Wrist Rotations
  5. Torso Rotations
  6. Middle Stretch/Splits
  7. Side Lunge on both sides
  8. Squats
  9. Knee Rotations In and Out
  10. Hip Rotations

Do some breathing exercises for relaxation and to help clear your mind

Breathing exercises are another fundamental part of a successful tai chi routine. Deep, mindful breathing not only helps to oxygenate the blood and energize the body, but it also aids in establishing a calm, clear mental state. As tai chi is as much about mental wellness as it is about physical wellness, establishing this mental clarity is crucial. Pay attention to your breath, inhaling deeply through your nose and exhaling slowly through your mouth, and aim to make each breath as smooth and steady as possible.

The beauty of these breathing exercises is that they can be performed just about anywhere, and at any time. However, practicing them right before your morning tai chi routine can set a peaceful, focused tone for the rest of your day. Start by inhaling slowly while counting to four, hold your breath while counting to seven, and then exhale slowly while counting to eight. Repeat this cycle for a few minutes, and you’ll likely feel a sense of calm wash over you. This is your body responding to the increased oxygen levels and the mindful focus on your breath, setting the perfect mental state for your tai chi practice.

With each breathing cycle, you want to focus on relaxing your muscles. After all, the art of Tai Chi is about relaxing your muscles and aligning your skeleton properly.

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Move into the seated position for a few minutes of meditation or mindfulness

Once you have completed your breathing exercises, transition into a comfortable seated position for a few minutes of meditation or mindfulness. This step is crucial to your morning tai chi routine as it allows you to channel your focus and prepare your mind for the exercises that lie ahead. Find a quiet, distraction-free spot where you can sit comfortably with your back straight. You can choose to sit on a chair, cross-legged on a mat or even on a meditation cushion. The key is to find a position where you can maintain your posture without straining yourself.

Now, close your eyes and take a moment to scan your body, starting from the top of your head and gradually working your way down to your toes. As you do this, pay close attention to any sensations or tension you may feel. Acknowledge these sensations without trying to change them. Your goal is to simply observe your body in its natural state. This practice of mindfulness will help you stay present and connect with your physical self, setting the foundation for effective tai chi practice. You may also choose to include a short visualization exercise, such as imagining a stream of energy flowing through your body, reinforcing your connection with your physical self.

Begin your tai chi movements, with a focus on what you want to improve on

After your mindful meditation, the real movement of your tai chi practice begins. This is where you focus on what you specifically want to improve on. Perhaps you’ll want to concentrate on the way you stand — your stance. Tai chi emphasizes the importance of grounding through your feet, maintaining an even distribution of weight, and ensuring your knees are slightly bent, not locked. This stance, known as the “horse stance”, forms the base of all your tai chi movements, promoting better balance and stability.

Another crucial aspect you could focus on is your spine alignment while executing the forms. Tai chi instructs practitioners to maintain a straight but relaxed spine, fostering the flow of Qi (energy) along the meridians of the body. As you move through your routine, consciously ensure your back remains straight, yet not rigid. This focus not only augments your posture but also minimizes the risk of back strain and enhances overall movement fluidity.

Move into a non-thinking tai chi form

Tai Chi, at its core, is a practice designed to foster mindfulness and encourage complete presence in the moment. This can be most exemplified when one commences the non-thinking Tai Chi form. This stage of the routine is not about precise choreography or perfect form, but instead about surrendering to the natural rhythm of your body and letting the movements flow. It’s during this non-thinking form that practitioners often experience a heightened sense of relaxation and tranquility, as their minds are free from the constraints of analytical thought and can instead just be.

This intrinsic mindfulness element in Tai Chi serves a dual purpose. Firstly, it promotes relaxation by allowing the mind to disengage from external stressors and focus solely on the present moment. This can provide a much-needed respite from the often frenetic pace of modern life, thereby reducing stress and promoting mental wellbeing. Secondly, it aids in the movement and balance of Qi, or life energy, within the body. By casting aside distracting thoughts and being fully present in the form, practitioners can better facilitate the smooth flow of Qi, thereby enhancing vitality and overall health. This combination of relaxation and energy movement underscores the holistic nature of Tai Chi, offering

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End with knee and hip mobility exercises to protect your joints

To conclude your Tai Chi session, it is advantageous to perform some knee and hip mobility exercises. These exercises are designed to protect your joints and maintain their flexibility, which is a key aspect of maintaining and improving your Tai Chi performance. Here are a few standing stretches that can be incorporated into your routine:

  1. Knee Circles: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees slightly and place your hands on your knees. Make small circles with your knees by moving them to the right, back, left, and then forward. Repeat this circle 10 times, then reverse the direction.
  2. Heel-to-toe Rocks: Stand straight and shift your weight forward onto your toes, lifting your heels off the ground. Hold this position for a few seconds, then slowly lower your heels and lift your toes, shifting your weight onto your heels. This stretch is excellent for enhancing ankle mobility and balance.
  3. Hip Circles: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and place your hands on your hips. Without moving your shoulders or feet, move your hips in a circle to the right. This will help loosen up the hip joints and lower back.
  4. Standing Quad Stretch: Stand next to a wall or chair for support. Bend one knee, bringing your foot towards your glute, and grab your ankle with your hand. Hold this position for about 20-30 seconds, then switch to the other leg.

Remember, it’s essential to perform these exercises in a controlled and mindful manner, paying attention to your body’s signals and not pushing into any discomfort or pain.


Morning Tai Chi is a holistic practice that cultivates physical vitality and mental tranquility. Through a unique combination of mindful meditation and rhythmic movements, it allows you to perfect your routine by understanding and harmonizing with your body’s natural rhythm and energy flow. From grounding your stance to aligning your spine, every aspect is designed to enhance your overall well-being. Incorporating Morning Tai Chi into your daily life can bring improvements not only to your physical health but also to your mental clarity and emotional balance. Embrace the journey and let Morning Tai Chi guide you towards a more mindful and balanced lifestyle.


  1. Harvard Medical School. (2018). The health benefits of tai chi. Harvard Health Publishing. 
  2. Tai Chi for Health Institute. (n.d.). What is Tai Chi? Tai Chi for Health Institute.
  3. Yang, J., & Grubisich, S. (2005). Taijiquan: The Art of Nurturing, The Science of Power. Zhenwu Publications.