Exercise #10 – Holding Up Sky

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

Find great deals on home exercise equipment at the Exercise Equipment Super Store




   “In harmony with the Tao,
the sky is clear and spacious,
the earth is solid and full,
all creatures
flourish together,
content with the way they are,
endlessly repeating themselves,
endlessly renewed.”
       Tao Te Ching, #39, Translated by S. Mitchell



  Ask the Sage: When and where should I practice my T’ai Chi exercises?

Traditionally, T’ai Chi exercises are performed early in the morning and in the evening at about sunset.  If at all possible, this is a good way to plan your practice times. 

As you’ve probably seen on TV, people in Asian countries generally gather outside in parks or other open areas to practice their exercises.  Hauling a chair outside, however, may not be convenient or even possible.   The next best thing is to choose a spot in your home or apartment that is quiet and has at least one comfortable chair.  Pick a chair with low or no arms so you don’t injure yourself when you swing your arms.  Wear comfortable, loose clothing.  If you wear shoes, make sure they’re soft and comfortable.

To enhance your exercise session, I would suggest using background music   If you have a piece of music that you particularly like, use it.  But, choose carefully.  If the beat is too heavy,  you may find yourself distracted rather than helped by it.  If it’s too fast, you’ll have trouble performing the exercises as slowly and smoothly as they should be.  You can find relaxation music online or at most music stores.

Another addition to your practice room that you might consider is a tabletop fountain or waterfall.  The sound of water is soothing and will help you to de-stress.  These items are readily available at most deparment stores, art galleries and online.


Exercise #10 – Holding Up Sky

Benefits – This exercise circulates the energy or ch’i while stretching the arm and shoulder muscles.

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

  1. Take a deep breath in through your nose relaxing the muscles of your abdomen as you lace your fingers and begin to swing your arms over your head.  Your palms should be facing the ceiling.
  2. As you blow out through your mouth and tighten your abdominal muscles, lower your arms back to your lap and then, breathing in again, swing your arms back over your head.
  3. Repeat the swings over your head 6 times.
  4. On the 6th swing, lean to your right (arms still over your head), then left, then right again for a total of 6 times. 
  5. On the 6th lean, swing your arms downward over your lap and back around ending with your arms overhead again.
  6. Begin the leans again for 6 times and then repeat the swing downward stretching  as far forward as you can.
  7. This exercise finishes with 6 more arm swings straight overhead and back to your lap.

Note: If your arms become overly tense or uncomfortable, rest them on your lap for a few seconds and then begin the exercise where you left off.



Illustration by Jane Ramsey


To further enhance your exercise session, use the acupressure point, Third Eye Point.

  • You can find the Third Eye Point between your eyebrows in the small indentation above the bridge of your nose.
  • Press gently but firmly on this point for at least 30 seconds.
  • If you have allergies or sinus problems, hold the middle finger of your left hand on the Third Eye Point and, at the same time, use the third finger of your right hand on the top of your head where a baby’s soft spot is.  Hold both pressure points and breathe deeply for 60 seconds.

Benefits: The Third Eye Point relieves glandular and emotional imbalances as well as depression.  Using both pressure points at the same time will lessen sinus pressure and headaches from allergies.


   Don’t forget to drink water after your exercise session.


~~~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 fitness program.~~~

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