5 Element Tai Chi that my friend Randy Johnson found in China lends itself to seated exercise.  This page will show how you can do the exercises from a chair if standing  is a problem for you.

When you begin to do 5 Elements always do the “warm ups.”  Later if you do 5 Elements very very slowly  and repeat it at least 5 times you can use it as your “warm up” for more strenuous exercise  or instead of other exercise if  you have little time or energy.


(New drawings are in progress.  Meanwhile just do the exercises shown while sitting and go very slowly through each exercise without stepping or moving your legs any more than you want.  If you want to shift your body as you move, that is ok too.  Remember if it HURTS don’t do it.


Warm Ups –

To protect yourself from unwanted pain ALWAYS warm up before doing exercises.


The following are suggested because they work and are used in many martial arts, sports and exercise programs:


Do each exercise 5 or more times.  Do the same number everyday and you will form a “Warm Up” habit that will be good for you.


  1. HEAD:  Very slowly move your head up and down.


  1. 2.     NECK:   Slowly Turn your head to one side as far as you can,  lift your chin up over your shoulder.  (Imagine you are placing it on the back of your shoulder.)

Turn your head to face forward and perform the same head turn in the opposite direction


  1. SHOULDERS:  Simply roll your shoulders in a large circle.  Go forward then backwards.


  1. CHEST:  Begin by placing the back of your hands together (fingers down) in front of your chest.  Turning your wrists roll your fingers inward toward your chest, then continue by raising your hands upward over your head and form a diamond shape with your thumbs and index fingers.  Then slowly separate your hands and extend your arms to your sides palms facing down.  Allow your arms to lower down to your sides.

Pause relax

  1. UPPER BACK:  (The Wave) Begin by shifting your weight to one hip as you extend the same side arm out, and over your head.  At the top of your reach, turn your shoulders 90 degrees toward the opposite side (or as far as you are comfortable).

Lower your arm  (pause turn to the front relax) then repeat the process on the other side.

As you progress add an extra step here.

Begin as you did in part one.  Extend your arm out and over your head.  At the top or your reach, turn the center of your body 90 degrees bend you’re the outstretched arm at the elbow and lower your arm,  Bring your elbow to the center of your chest and bend your body forward.  Again bend as far as you can but not until it hurts.  Sit up and turn forward resting your arms at your sides.

Pause relax 

  1. WAIST & LOWER BACK:  (Willow Hands)  Relax and face forward.  Raise your hands as if holding a large bottle.  The bottom hand is palm up holding the bottom of the container and the other hand is holding the neck.  The hand holding the neck of the jug is your guide.  Turn your body in the direction of the back of the hand holding the neck of the jug.  Turn your body from your center and allow your arms and hands to follow as your turn.  (Turn slowly as if to hand someone the jug).  Rotate your hands from top to bottom.  Turn back to the center with your center and continue to the side holding the neck of the bottle.  Repeat 5 times.

Pause relax

  1. HIPS:  with your arms relaxed on your knees or hanging by your side bend at the waste and imagine placing your chin on your knees.  Hold the position for a little then very slowly bend back up.  (You may use your arms to help you get back up straight.

Pause relax 

Some days you may only want to do the Warm Ups.  That’s ok.

Some times if you do the 5 Elements very very slowly you may skip the warm ups

Later we will practice the warm ups using special breathing patterns.  This makes them even more effective and healthy.


Begin with your feet shoulder width apart, arms relaxed by your side.  Check your posture for correct alignment.  Take several breaths to relax before moving.  Once relaxed, you can begin.



Execute the element FIRE – As you shift your weight forward from your hips, allow your arms to swing out and up to shoulder height in front of you—then, as you settle back allow your arms to return to slowly to your sides.



 We begin the element WATER.    your right arm moves away from your side,  circle the arm out over your left shoulder and head.   Allow your body to turn from the waist so you face the opposite side.


When your left arm is over your head, bend the arm at the elbow and allow your arm to drop in front of you to chest level while at the same time raise your right hand up to your chest.  Turn your shoulders so you face forward and you move the two hands parallel.  With the both arms bent and your wrists parallel in front of you.
As you begin to exhale, push  both arms forward.Then settle back relax and return your arms to the same paralleled position.
 – Metal  Place the back of your hands together in front of your chest.
  As you begin to inhale, roll your hands inward toward your chest and continue upward over your head.          
Exhale as you open your hands and separate you arms as
Continuing to circle your arms outward and down to your sides.       
Push your hands and arms down as if into sand.(The more you can bend and slowly stretch with these
exercises the better your health benefits.)


Allow your body to rise evenly while raising both arms in front of you to shoulder height as if you were running your hands up a column or tree trunk.


EARTH – Exhale as you turn your hands outward and extend each fully to your sides. EARTH
Lower them forming a circling effect and return your arms slowly to your sides  ready to begin the series again.
Always do Tai Chi as slowly as you can and stretch out those muscles.  Breath deeply and slowly with the exercises.  The lower you can go and move your body, the more benefits you get.  Except.  If something hurts, skip it or do it in a soft manner that does not hurt.  Pain has no place in Tai Chi exercises for Stress and Health.