When first learning tai chi, decide which of the discipline's many forms most interests you: some involve more meditation, while others focus more specifically on exercises of martial arts techniques. When first learning the movements of any tai chi style, concentrate on making the movements flow fluidly, gracefully and softly. Avoid harsh or jerky motions that can harm the body.
It is incredibly important for beginning tai chi students to be patient with themselves, as it is a universal challenge within this art to learn individual techniques painstakingly over a long period of time. Students may feel frustrated by the slow pace, but it is critical in achieving proper form and maximum health benefits. Focus on the basic shapes created within each exercise, refining them gradually. Always complete tai chi warm-up exercises before practice, such as standing posture, energy ball and circling hands.
As with all meditative and martial arts styles, breathing is particularly important in tai chi. Begin by placing the tongue on the roof of the mouth, as if pronouncing the French word "le," and keep it there throughout practice. Avoid breathing through the mouth whenever possible. Relax the eyes, jaw and chest, and breathe deliberately to and from the belly, as this produces a massage effect for the internal organs.