Tai Chi Instruction: Wave Hands Like Clouds

In two weeks, I will teach my first continuing education class of the year, Tai Chi for Therapists for a clinic in the far Northwest suburbs of Chicago.  As a result, I have Tai Chi on my brain.  This week’s post features two versions of Wave Hands Like Clouds, one of my favorite Tai Chi movements. 

Traditionally, Tai Chi practitioners perform a series of 24 or more movements in a row, working to blend them effortlessly together.  This takes many months or years to perfect, so I teach my patients and students to begin practicing one movement at a time in order to really master it prior to flowing them all together.  I recommend starting with “easy cloud hands” first and really focus on making the movements slow and fluid prior to practicing the full version.  Enjoy!

Easy Cloud Hands

 

Review of horse stance: feet shoulder width apart, knees gently bent, abdominals engaged and shoulders relaxed, see horse stance entry for more details.

Begin in horse stance with your weight on the Right leg and the trunk rotated to the Right.  Place your hands close as if holding an invisible ball with the Right hand on top over towards the R shoulder.

Simultaneously, shift your weight and rotate Left as you float the hands across your body as gently as clouds moving across the sky. Try to coordinate the entire body to move at the same speed.

Once you have fully shifted to the Left, switch the hands to have the Left hand on top, then weight shift and rotate Right as you move both arms across your body.

Repeat this cycle for 1-5 minutes, focusing on equal weight shifting and rotation to both sides.  Be sure to breathe deeply during the entire time and keep the arms relaxed. 

Note: this is a modification I have developed for educational and therapy purposes.  Please see the next set of instructions for the formal version of Wave Hands Like Clouds.

Wave Hands Like Clouds

 

Stand at the Right side of a room or hallway.  Begin in horse stance with your weight on the Right leg and the trunk rotated to the Right.  Place your hands close as if holding an invisible ball with the Right hand on top over towards the R shoulder.

Step straight out to the side with the Left leg, then rotate and weight shift to the Left as you float both arms across your body towards your Left shoulder.

Next, step the Right foot in close to the Left leg and switch your hand positioning (Left hand on top)

Rotate and weight shift to the Right as you float both arms across your body towards the Right shoulder

Repeat, slowly stepping towards the left side of the room for 1-5 minutes as space allows.

Health Benefits:

  • Improved balance
  • Improved lateral (side to side) weight shifting during gait
  • Improved strength of the gluteus maximus, obliques, quadriceps, iliopsoas, peronials, deltoid, multifiti
  • Improved rotation flexibility of the spine
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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tai Chi Lessons
    Jul 30, 2011 @ 14:03:14

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    Reply

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