How to Add Basic Tai Chi Hand to a Mind-Body Routine

Basic Tai Chi hand positions will greatly benefit your mind-body session by providing additional intent and focus to your mindful practice. Here the movement is broken down and isolated because it helps you master a movement or position when you set it in motion.

The goal for your arms and hands is to keep them curved and soft, but still full of energy and not limp. You do not bring your middle finger in a little, as ballet dancers do.

  1. Hold both arms straight out in front of your shoulders, palms facing in, hands and fingers straight.

  2. Let your fingers and thumbs soften slightly so your palm develops a slight cup.

  3. At the same time, allow your elbows to soften and widen outward slightly (something they want to do when you soften your hands).

    You now have one smooth curved line (remember that curves are a key principle of Tai Chi) from your shoulder, around the outside of your elbow and down the back of your wrist and hand to the end of your fingers. Your wrist is soft, but not bent in so much that you have an abrupt change in angle between your forearm and back of your hand.

The names for this hand position are inspired by what it looks and feels like, Hold Balloon, Holding the Ball or Embracing the Moon. Your arms and hands look and feel as if they are conforming to the circle of a large inflated balloon.

Start standing in a feet-parallel stance so you don’t have to think about it. After you have that down, you can try Hold Balloon with a Centering Step, too.

  1. Bring your left hand palm up and arm across your body at the level of your hips, but don’t extend your left hand beyond your right side.

  2. Bring your right hand palm down and arm across your body at the level of your chest, but don’t extend it beyond your left side.

  3. Soften both elbows and remember to practice Basic Tai Chi Arm! You are now holding a balloon between your arms and hands.

  4. Try the same position with the opposite hand on top.

The hand positions and levels change slightly based on the form you are going into or coming out of, as do they also change a bit depending on a teacher’s style.

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