You've probably heard that tai chi is great for you. As of 2007, about 2.3 million adults in the U.S. used tai chi to improve strength, flexibility and overall wellbeing, reports the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. While the best way to learn is to take a class with a knowledgeable instructor, videos can give you a taste of tai chi.
Step-by-Step Tai Chi with Tiffany Chen
Instructor Tiffany Chen, daughter of grandmaster William C.C. Chen and martial arts gold medallist, offers an introduction to Yang-style tai chi against a gorgeous desert backdrop in "Step-by-Step Tai Chi." Although it includes a complete version of the set for you to follow, the DVD also offers shorter segments to aid the learning process. "Learning about tai chi is all about repetition," notes Julia Barstow, fitness reviewer for Parenting Without Tears online. She praises the setup of Chen's DVD for allowing the viewer to easily select and repeat segments. Chen's voiceover narration offers helpful insights into how to move energy, according to fitness website Fitsugar's review. If you want to learn a complete tai chi set from beginning to end, Fitsugar recommends following Chen's DVD until you are able to do the set on your own.
Discover Tai Chi for Beginners with Scott Cole
Instructor and wellness consultant Scott Cole, who teaches at the Well Spirit Fitness Center in Palm Springs, offers a complete workout for those who haven't tried tai chi before. Although you won't learn an entire tai chi set from this DVD, Cole covers a lot of ground, He takes you through exercises designed to give you a solid, confident stance, relax your body and teach you to feel your chi. Harry Smith, co-host of CBS's "The Early Show," praised Scott Cole's tai chi instruction during a 2009 interview for allowing him to move pain-free, despite his sore joints. One of the best aspects of this DVD is Cole's discussion of common errors and how to fix them, according to Laurie Peel, tai chi instructor at the Regent Chiropractic and Health Center in Hamilton, Ontario. "You don't see many DVDs offering time for discussion of mistakes. This is a huge help for people just starting out," says Peel.
A.M. and P.M. T'ai Chi with David-Dorian Ross and CJ McPhee
"A.M. and P.M. T'ai Chi" takes you through two beginner workouts--one to energize you at the beginning of the day, and the other to help you wind down in the evening. Tai chi master and faculty member of the International Sports Medicine Association David-Dorian Ross takes you through a workout designed to open you to the uplifting energies of the morning and recharge your spirit, while Portland, Oregon, tai chi instructor C.J. McPhee covers the P.M. workout. Ross approaches exercise holistically, focusing on "the inner experience and energy" involved in the act of exercising, a strategy praised by physician Andrew Siegel in his book "Finding Your Own Fountain of Youth." The idea that exercise should be enjoyable and feel great dominates this DVD. "The A.M. and P.M. workouts allow you to settle into yourself at the beginning and end of the day," says Ron Cruden, practitioner and teacher of tai chi and taekwondo for more than 20 years in Hamilton, Ontario. "Everyone needs to do that, no matter how much experience they have with tai chi."