Taiji Drills

Warmups, conditioning drills, and meditations for Taiji.

Basic Principles

  • In the daytime, do drills and forms facing south. In the nighttime, face north.
  • Do drills and forms before midnight, not after.
  • Yang energy is at maximum after moon sets, before sun rises. (Get up early for best energy and maximum meditation!)


Joint Rotations

  • My series of rotations from top to bottom, which takes about 3 minutes.
  • Alternatively: Silk Reeling exercises.

Side to Side Squats

  • Feet wide, angled out.
  • Stay low as you shift weight from one side to the other


  • Right hand passes under right arm, then out to side as arm and shoulder twist to keep palm facing up
  • Hand circles around and passes overhead, palm still facing up
  • Body bends backward as right arm continues circling back to original position, palm facing up throughout
  • Do several times, then reverse the motion
  • Repeat on left sideNotes:
    • A teacup balanced on the palm should spill no water
    • I like to do this movement while moving side-to-side, to keep it flowing

Deep Side-to-Sides

  • Right hand rises overhead, palm straight, as left hand stays open by side
  • Right hand dips down the centerline and passes down right leg, going to right foot as body sinks low on left leg
  • The body tilts forward to get depth, but back is straight throughout

Swing Arms

  • Dantien twists back and forth. Arms hang loosely, following the motion.
  • Occasionally, exhale forcefully, accelerating the breath and the motion, bringing outside arm to center

Yoga Stretches

  • Just a few.
  • Body is now warm and muscles are ready to elongate.

Conditioning Exercises

Taiji Sphere (ball)

Taiji “Sword” (clubbells)

Taiji Bang (rolling pin)

Taiji “Ruler” (carpenter’s square)

Basic Drills

Written up in 8 Energies:

  • 4 Energies: Multiple repetitions until body is warm
  • 4 Corners: Get body ready for action

Energy Drills

These good as warmups and at the end of a session.

Dantien Rotations (6 directions)

  • Rotate dantien up and out, back and in. Reverse.
  • Rotate dantien left and out, back and right. Reverse.
  • Rotate dantien left and up, right and down. Reverse.

Energy Squats

  • Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder width, toes out in normal Taiji position..
  • Inhale: Open hands cross, palms down, rise to forehead, palms out, then separate and come down, wide apart.
  • Exhale: Hands form fists and press to center, palms up, sinking to low horse stance
    (top of thighs approach parallel to ground)
  • Repeat many times. (On the order of, like, 36. But there’s no need to count.)
  • Finish by

Dantien Energy Circles

  • Men: Left hand over right on dantien. (Left is Yang. “Yang embraces Yin”) Women: Right hand over left.
  • If there were a clock on the tummy, start by rotating counterclockwise (__verify__)
  • Circle 36 times, growing larger as you do. (Final 12 are largest)
  • Reverse, circling backward, growing smaller as you do.


Use one of these to finish a session.

A-Xi-Xu-Chui Meditation

  • Right palm in front of chest, palm facing to left
  • Left hand hook, fingers pinching the needle, in small of back
  • Feet shoulder width apart, sink to deepest possible depth.
  • Repeat the four syllables that go with this meditation: a (ah), xi (zee), xu (zheu), chui (choo-way)
    Learn more:

Embrace the Dantien

  • Men: Left hand over right on dantien. (Left is Yang. “Yang embraces Yin”) Women: Right hand over left.
  • Relax eyes, so they close softly. Relax face. Relax lower back. Sink the kua.

Learn more:

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