Exercise #4 – Backward Arm Swings

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T’ai Chi in a Chair: Easy 15-Minute Routines for Beginners is now available at Barnes and Noble.

“The supreme good is like water,
which nourishes all things without trying to.”
                                                 Tao Te Ching, #8


images-blue-yin-yang.jpg  Seventy five percent of our bodies’ fluid composition is water.  Our brain tissue is believed to be 85% water.  It goes without saying then that keeping hydrated is essential not only for good health but for life itself.

Most of us assume we don’t need to drink water unless we experience dryness in the mouth.   Unfortunately, the need for water to replenish the body’s tissues occurs well before our mouths feel dry.  Many of us have the habit of drinking coffee and/or caffeinated soft drinks all day long.  The overuse of these products may dull our ability to measure when we are dehydrated.  The caffeine in coffee and in most soft drinks not only reduces the water contained in them but also depletes the body’s reserves of water.

Simple hydration, however, is not our only concern here.  Because we are using T’ai Chi exercies to rid our bodies of toxins, we must also consider the importance of flushing them thoroughly so that these same toxins will not remain trapped.  Keep a glass or a waterbottle handy.  As you go through the exercises, take a healthy sip of water at the end of each section or whenever your mouth begins to feel dry.  As a reminder, I will place a graphic of a pitcher and glass of water (see below) at the end of each section. 



images-blue-yin-yang.jpg  The following exercise is recommended for daily use not only by T’ai Chi instructors but by yoga practitioners as well.   By swinging your arms back and forth, you are opening your chest to increase the inward flow of fresh air and expelling toxins that are trapped in the alveoli or small sacs at the bottom of your lungs. 

Exercise #4 – Backward Arm Swings

Posture – Sit with your back against the back of your chair, allowing for the natural curve in your spine.  Your feet should be flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart.

Benefits – Strengthening and tightening of your arm muscles as well as opening your chest for more healthful, deep breathing.

  1. Swing your arms backward with your palms facing the wall behind you.
  2. Allow your arms to swing naturally forward.  In other words, the push occurs on the backward swing then your arms will move forward naturally with the momentum created by the backward motion.
  3. Repeat for 27 swings or 3 sets of 9 swings each.


images-blue-yin-yang.jpg Use the following acupressure point to enhance your exercise session.  This pressure point is called the Great Abyss.   (Don’t forget to drink water at the end of your practice.)

  • This point is located on the palm side of your hand at the base of your thumb in the center of the pad.
  • Press firmly on this point while breathing deeply in through your nose and blowing the stale air out through your mouth.
  • Count at least 6 breaths, then release your finger.
  • Repeat on the other hand for at least 6 breaths.  Use this pressure point as often as you wish throughout the day.

Benefits – This is a convenient and powerful pressure point to relieve coughing or a swollen throat.





–The information in this blog is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended to replace the advice of a physician or medical practitioner.  Please see your health care provider before beginning any new program.–


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