Choosing Your Tai Chi or Qigong Wardrobe

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Choosing Your Tai Chi or Qigong Class Wardrobe

Ultimately you can do Tai Chi in any kind of clothing, but certain clothing is suggested for class.

Typically, Tai Chi students wear anything they want. It is helpful to wear something loose and stretchy and to leave jewelry at home; however, the rest is often up to you.

The most common Tai Chi suit is a T-shirt and sweat pants. Spandex or body suits, although not prohibited, are not typically worn in Tai Chi. Also, longer dresses can make it more difficult for an instructor to see posture or leg placement, but if your class is in an office environment, don't worry about it.

If you practice Tai Chi at the office, everyone will likely be wearing office clothes, but they will kick off their heels. If you go from the office to a studio or community class or if your company holds classes in an exercise area, bring some sweats and tennis shoes to change into.

Some studios, especially martial arts studios, may require more formal attire. If they do, they will direct you to a martial arts supply store that sells the appropriate garb, or the studio may provide them.


Some Chinese masters caution against practicing Tai Chi barefoot because it opens the feet up to "pernicious influences." This sounds sinister, but it may only mean that you could chill if the ground is cold or pick up an infection if the ground is dirty. Conversely, others say it is good to practice barefoot because it connects you to the earth, whereas your rubber shoes electrically isolate you from it.

Footwear depends on the location. For most Tai Chi classes, tennis shoes are fine. However, some studios that offer Tai Chi, such as martial arts or yoga studios, will require bare feet. It is not advisable to wear only socks in these studios because socks can be slippery. If you need arch support and attend a class in these locations, you may be able to wear tennis shoes that have never been used on the street or Chinese kung fu shoes. These nonstreet shoes will not damage the floor, but check with the instructor before purchasing them.

The only hard and fast rule that all instructors follow on footwear is that you cannot wear heeled shoes. This is hard on your back, makes balance difficult, and changes the way the whole body moves. If doing Tai Chi at the office, just kick off your heels, or bring tennis shoes if they feel more comfortable.

TEACHERS, this page is a great resource for your new students.

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