Free Workshop

August 12, 2021 | 5 - 6 PM Pacific Time

Missed the workshop?

Watch the Replay Here

or scroll down to view footage.

Tai Chi Clouds Hands

A 7-Week Introductory Course To Taijiquan

In Taijiquan (Tai Chi) studies, Wuji Standing Meditation lays the foundation for stillness and rooting, while Cloud Hands (also known as Silk Reeling Exercises) are the building blocks of movement. These seemingly simple arm circles embody Taijiquan’s essential movement principles: 1) the external kinetic princple of whole-body movement with the Dantian as the center, and 2) the internal energetic principle that qi follows the mind, body follows qi, and mind, body and qi move as one). 

This course introduces the beginner to:

1. the foundational Cloud Hands / Silk Reeling Exercises including natural circles and reverse circles in various single-hand and double-hand combinations (scroll down to Curriculum for more details); 

2. in conjunction with the Cloud Hands arm movement: Five Steps (五步 wu bu) - center/fixed, left and right, front and back. 

These arm movements and steps are foundational to all styles of Taijiquan. 

At the end of this course, you will have acquired: 

1. A standalone practice offering the major health benefits of Tai Chi such as:

  • greater balance and lower-body strength,
  • better upper-body alignment (posture) and relaxation,
  • quicker access to calmness,
  • and many of the resuling benefits including enhanced immunity and reduced stress;

2. A reliable foundation for further studies of any style of Taijiquan (Chen, Yang, etc.) in a number of ways: 

  • a good coordination between the arms, legs and body weight that will make it easier to learn complex moves in form sequences (the beautiful choreographed flow you see in Tai Chi performances); 
  • a conceptual and (more importantly) embodied understanding of the kinetic and energetic principles of Taijiquan;
  • drills and routines you can keep using to refine your Taijiquan skills. 

All this of course depends on consistent participation in classes and practices.

A glimpse of what you will be learning and practicing

This is a clip from the free Workshop on Tai Chi Cloud Hands where I lead participants from fixed-step to moving-step cloud hands. We will be doing this around the second week of the course, after practicing proper alignment, relaxation, and stepping.

You can watch the recording of the entire workshop here.


Cloud Hands doesn't have to be always slow. When practiced fast with free stepping, it is energizing and trains our adaptability. We will work on this in the later part of the course.


Course Format

This course includes about 60 minutes of instructional videos and a led practice (45 minutes) each week. 

Instructional Class


  • Warm up the joints
  • Wuji Standing
  • Cloud Hands of the week (see curriculum below), including instructions, led practice, and self practice
  • Q&A and individual feedback during class (if desired by individual students and if time allows) 

Led Practice Session


  • A 40-minute guided continuous practice including warmup, Wuji Standing, Cloud Hands of the week (in a flow), closing


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  Week 1: Natural Circles, Single-hand 單手順纏
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  Week 2: Natural Circles, Alternating Hands 雙手交替順纏
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  Week 3: Reverse Circles, Single Hand & Alternating Hands 單手逆纏; 雙手交替逆纏
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  Week 4: Double-hand Chasing Circles 雙手交替順逆纏
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  Week 5: Double-hand Synchronized Circles with Forward Steps 進步雙手同纏
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  Week 6: Front and Back Circles with Alternating Hands 雙手前後交替逆纏
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  Week 7: Putting it all together
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Select an Enrollment Option

LIMITED TIME OFFER: Enroll in Cloud Hands and Wuji Qigong together and save $20 (40%) off of Wuji Qigong course. (An option to add Wuji Qigong is available at check-out.)


Self-paced learning

Start any time and learn at your own pace.

Life access to course materials.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this course suitable for beginners with no experience in Tai Chi, Qigong, or Meditation?

Yes! This course is designed for beginners with no prior experience in Taijiquan (Tai Chi).

Is this course only for beginners?

No. This course can be taken by current or past students of Taijiquan who:

1) are looking to improve and refine their taiji skills, including barehand forms and push hands (although we will not be learning or practicing push hands in this course);

2) have taken a break from Tai Chi and are looking for a way to ease back in to practice;

3) have not studied Silk Reeling Exercises systematically.

I have more questions. How do I contact you? 

You can email Yan at [email protected]

cloud hands, tai chi hands...

And, just for fun - this is a cloud hands routine played at 20x speed.


Instructor: Master Yan Li

Yan Li (李艳) is a Master Instructor of Chen Style Taijiquan certified by American Chen Taiji Society (2019) and by Chen Qingzhou Taiji Institute (陈庆州太极功夫院) in Wenxian, Henan, China (2011). She is also a faculty member at California University - Silicon Valley (formerly Nine Star University of Health Sciences), and was a Taiji instructor in the Health Improvement Program at Stanford University for 8 years. Yan was a multi-year gold medalist and judge at regional Chinese martial arts competitions, and has over ten years of experience teaching Taiji and Qigong in group or private settings, and leading Taiji workshops and intensives.

Yan's approach to Taijiquan instructions and coaching draws from her multi-disciplinary background as an academic and educator. She earned her PhD degree in sociology from Stanford University and her master's degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from Peking University, and taught college-level language courses in China and sociology courses in the United States. She practices student-centered teaching and coaching models where each individual is met where they are and encouraged to take the lead in growing and transforming from within. She works with students and clients of all ages and backgrounds.