Tai Chi for Beginners: Raising & Lowering of Hands

Today we're learning the most famous Tai Chi move of all time, the Raising and Lowering of Hands. Since learning it, I've seen the move a number of times in various Hollywood films while a martial arts character is training during a musical montage. Raising and Lower of Hands is the first posture in the Tai Chi Long Form, which we will be learning later once we work up to it.

Here's a slow motion demonstration of Raising & Lowering of Hands, also known as the Opening Posture:

It's a three part manuever:

1) Raise your left knee while bending your right leg slightly as you shift all weight to the right leg. Step to the left with your left leg, touching the ground softly first with your heel and then with your toe. Both knees remain slightly bent and your weight is now evenly distributed between them. 

2) Slowly raise both arms, keeping the arms mostly straight but with the very slight bend in the elbows. Your hands remain limp and droop down. You are inhaling as you raise your arms.

3) Once your arms reach about eye height, begin moving them downward as you exhale. Your hands are now upright as if they are sliding down a lubricated glass wall in front of you. Continue lowering your arms until they are at rest by your side. Make sure to keep your arms loose and relaxed, especially at the bottom of the cycle, which is when they are most likely to tense up. 

Here's another video demonstration without the onscreen instructions and simply with the repetition count. Sometimes I get so relaxed I lose count, so I thought this version might be helpful as well.

Lastly, here's a third version of the video without any onscreen dialogue or counting at all. 

In case you missed them, here are a couple of related articles that you might find useful in practicing your Tai Chi moves:

We also released a handy video introduction to the key concepts in Tai Chi. Check it out here

This article teaches you how to learn Tai Chi for free. Today we are discussing the Opening Posture, also more popularly known as the Raising and Lowering of Hands. I like to call it zombie hands. This is the latest installment in our series teaching you Tai Chi Chuan Qigong. Enjoy!

Photo credit: ebatty via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA. Primary use in this case is educational rather than commercial.