1) Gently prepare the body for more vigorous exercise. Specifically in Tàijí we "open the gates of qì" to increase the effectiveness of our Tàijí practice. These "gates" are the joints where qì and blood tend to stagnate.
2) "Check-in" with our bodies. Gently work each part of our body to see and see what state they are in, today. This is a chance to get feedback on areas of concern, as well as determine a focus for exercise for that day.
3) Ground awareness in our body. One of the secrets of yoga is that it uses the physical-ness of the body, the concrete, tangible structure of the physical body to train and hone the mind. Warm-ups ground and focus the mind in the body. This is great training for the mind, increases the effectiveness of our exercise, and reduces the likelihood of injury.
1) Be gentle. Think of the movements as exploration, not goal-oriented work. We are checking-in on our body not accomplishing a specific task.
2) Pay attention. Note how areas feel, how they respond to movement.
In our Tàijí practice, we use a basic warmup that should be practiced daily at home. Though it may very slightly, it follows the outline below:
i) Spine twists
You may download this PDF of the warmup and use it to take notes to help you remember how to do the exercises or as a daily journal to track sensations and experiences.