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Tai Chi Exercises in a Chair

by
author image Linda Tarr Kent
Linda Tarr Kent is a reporter and editor with more than 20 years experience at Gannett Company Inc., The McClatchy Company, Sound Publishing Inc., Mach Publishing, MomFit The Movement and other companies. Her area of expertise is health and fitness. She is a Bosu fitness and stand-up paddle surfing instructor. Kent holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Washington State University.

Several tai chi exercises can be done in a chair. It's important to sit in the proper position for your exercises and to use a chair without arms. Sit forward and keep your back straight. Keep your legs at a 90-degree angle to the ground. You might have your knees slightly lower than your hips. This encourages your back to stay straight.

Gather Chi from the Side

Hold your palms in front of you at the level of your lower abdomen. This is called Dan Tien. Breathe steadily in as you open your arms out at waist level, similar to a pair of swing doors. Your palms can turn down or outward as you open. Try to open to about 90 degrees to the front, but stop opening if you become uncomfortable. Turn your palms so they face forward. Breathe out steadily as you bring them back in. Pause with your hands. Let your mind dwell here, advises the Beat Chronic Fatigue Syndrome website, before repeating. Do eight to 40 repetitions.

Touch the Sky With Your Palms

Put both hands in your lap with palms facing up. Inhale and slowly let your hands float up to chest level. Gradually turn your palms out. Turn them to face the sky. Stretch until you are fully extended. However, do not strain and keep your elbows bent slightly. Exhale and relax your arms out and down to your sides. Go back to the beginning position. Do this five to 10 times, advises Domingo Colon in his book, "Senior's Tai Chi Workout: Improve Balance, Strength and Flexibility."

Move Chi Up and Down

Start with your palms at Dan Tien. Have your middle fingers one to two inches apart. Breathe in as you turn your palms up and lift your hands in a line straight up the front of your body. When your arms and elbows are level, turn your palms down. Exhale and bring your hands back down in a straight line, ending in Dan Tien Rotate your wrists so your palms face up again. Repeat, doing eight to 40 of these sequential movements, advises the Beat CFS website.

Draw the Bow

Begin with your hands at Dan Tien. Turn your palms up. Bring them up the front of your body to your neck. Have palms facing your throat and tuck your right thumb into the right palm. Close your other fingers to form a loose fist. Meanwhile, turn your head to look 90 degrees to the left. Also extend your left hand at shoulder height. Keep your fingers up and your palm pushing out toward the left. Do not let the left arm lock or get tense. Your posture will resemble an archer's. Turn both of your palms to face forward and turn your head to face front. Extend your right arm to the side. Breathe in and bring your arms in toward the center, keeping them at shoulder. This draws chi in to area of the center of the throat. Repeat this exercise on the other side. Do as many repetitions as it is comfortable to do. Make sure you do an even number on each side. Bring your hands down from the throat to Dan Tien when you finish your set of repetitions, advises the Beat CFS Website.

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