The 7 Best Online Tai Chi Classes in 2020

Learn the Chinese martial art practice

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Our Top Picks

Tai chi classes are known for their gentle approach to movement and ability to improve flexibility, balance, breathing, and strength. They emphasize the mind-body connection and encourage students to adopt a regular practice for maximum physical and mental health benefits.

Tai chi consists of low-impact routines that originated in China as martial arts but have transformed into a practice of meditation in motion appropriate for all ages and skill levels. And the best part? The movements in tai chi are easy to modify and are safe to perform at home.

This roundup includes online tai chi classes from websites that offer on-demand, subscription-based programs, as well as a few videos and apps available for download. With that in mind, here are our top picks for the best online tai chi classes.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Dr. Paul Lam Tai Chi for Energy

Tai Chi Productions

Tai Chi Productions

The eight virtual lessons included in Tai Chi for Energy from Dr. Paul Lam will help you relax, refresh, and revitalize. The class featured in this roundup includes the first lesson, plus an introduction to tai chi’s principles.

Dr. Lam combines two different styles of tai chi: Chen and Sun. Chen combines complex, fast and slow movements, while Sun focuses on agile steps and powerful qi gong for healing. Combining both methods can help improve your internal energy (qi), decrease stress, and boost your overall health.

After viewing the free video, it’s easy to see how this course earned the best overall ranking. In addition to detailed instructions, this class includes close-up views of the moves, diagrams, and a user-friendly format that allows you to follow along with ease.

If you enjoy this free lesson from Dr. Lam, head over to his website and check out the online subscription service. For about $25, you’ll get access to the class for two months. For roughly $10 more, you can add Tai Chi for Energy 2. You can cancel after two months, and all memberships come with access to an online community.

Best for Morning Movement: Tai Chi Morning Ready Routine with Mike

Strala

Strala

Get your morning started on the right foot with this Morning Ready Routine with Mike Taylor.

In as little as 10 minutes, you’ll be able to loosen up your joints and muscles and kickstart your energy for the day. A favorite among students, Taylor has a wide variety of classes and workshops on the Strala Yoga app, says Tara Stiles, founder of Strala Yoga. He has a lifetime of experience in practical tai chi, which really makes his instruction of the principles and the form applicable to moving better in life, not just about memorizing a sequence.

Other tai chi classes with Taylor include Tai Chi for Beginners, Tai Chi Bedtime Routine, Tai Chi for a Healthy Back, and more. After a seven-day trial, the Strala Home Studio app will cost about $20 per month or roughly $200 for the year. This fee includes live weekly classes, complete class library in yoga, meditation, tai chi, and qi gong, access to private community groups, and exclusive workshops and lectures.

Best for Beginners: Master Moy Lin Shin Demonstrates Taoist Tai Chi

Fung Loy Kok Taoist Tai Chi

Fung Loy Kok Taoist Tai Chi

In this 13-minute tai chi class, Master Moy Lin Shin—the founder of Taoist Tai Chi—demonstrates the 108-move set, which is the foundation of tai chi. Each move corresponds to a name in the set.

Some of the more common ones include the Opening of Tai Chi, Grasp Bird’s Tale, Brush Knee, Step Up, Parting Wild Horse’s Mane, Fair Lady Works Shuttles, Cross Hands, and more. The narrator points out the moves as they walk you through the practice.

Like many tai chi classes, the Taoist Tai Chi class covers the history of the course topic and gives tips on how to move and breathe through the sequence. You will learn about the flow of tai chi as the instructor shows you how to move from one posture to the next without pausing. This class is an excellent introduction to the practice of tai chi.

The 13-minute Taoist Tai Chi Arts class is free.

Best for Seniors: Gentle Tai Chi and Qi Gong LEAP Service

Toronto Rehab Brain and Spinal Cord LEAP Service

Toronto Rehab Brain and Spinal Cord LEAP Service / Cara Kircher

Tai chi is an excellent activity for seniors of all levels, and video classes make it easy for seniors to do these simple exercises at home.

The Gentle Tai Chi and Qi Gong LEAP Service course is a top pick since it shows three people demonstrating different options for each exercise, with one person standing and two seated. The instructor takes the modifications further by having each person, including both seated students, modify moves for different mobility levels. This allows you to choose from three different examples.

The total time for the routine is 24 minutes. But there is a natural break about 10 minutes into the class, which allows participants to stop and be finished or continue with the rest of the routine.

The Gentle Tai Chi and Qi Gong LEAP Service class is free on YouTube. If you like the course, you can subscribe to Cara Kircher’s YouTube channel that has other tai chi and yoga videos appropriate for seniors.

Best for When You’re Short on Time: 7 Minute Chi—Tai Chi for Beginners

7 Minute Chi

7 Minute Chi

When life gets busy, physical activity is often the first thing crossed off our to-do list. That’s why shorter sessions throughout the day are sometimes easier than squeezing in one long class.

The 7-Minute Chi—Tai Chi for Beginners class, is part of the popular 7-Minute Chi—Meditate & Move app. In under 10 minutes, Master Li will teach you the proper breathing techniques and demonstrate simple moves from Chinese qi gong and tai chi.

This free class on YouTube gives you a sample of what you’ll get if you download the app. Each of the lessons on the app leads you through a step-by-step demonstration with verbal instructions, so you can follow along. These short routines make learning tai chi accessible and easy. They are appropriate for all ages and levels. 

You can try the 7 Minute Chi—Tai Chi for Beginners series free on YouTube. If you enjoy the class, consider downloading the app, which expands on correct breathing techniques and postures for every move. The 7 Minute Chi—Meditate & Move app is available for free on the App Store.

Best for Arthritis: Dr. Paul Lam Tai Chi for Arthritis

Tai Chi Productions

Tai Chi Productions

Arthritis is a chronic condition that causes inflammation and pain in the joints. For many people, the pain associated with arthritis limits their options for physical activity. The good news? Taking classes like Dr. Paul Lam’s Tau Chi for Arthritis may allow you to get moving with minimal discomfort . This in-depth program includes 12 lessons that are safe, easy-to-learn, and designed specifically for people with arthritis. Dr. Lam introduces the online videos with a lesson about the benefits of tai chi for arthritis, followed by a gentle routine. In the lesson, he teaches with step-by-step instructions while explaining the reason behind every move. Participants of all levels will appreciate the different angles he uses to demonstrate the moves.

Tai Chi for Arthritis is part of Dr. Lam’s online subscription service. For about $25, you’ll get access to the class for two months. For $10 more, you can add Tai Chi for Arthritis 2 or jump up to $15 and receive instant access to both levels of arthritis and Seated Tai Chi for Arthritis. You can cancel after two months, and all memberships come with access to an online community.

Best for In-Depth Learning: Tai Chi Online Classes

Tai Chi Online Classes

Tai Chi Online Classes

If you’re ready to expand your practice into something more than the occasional tai chi lesson, consider trying Tai Chi Classes Online.

This monthly membership program gives you access to a library of training videos and courses. Year-one beginner courses include stretch and warm-up, Yang Style Tai Chi 108 Form, basic skills, stances, and weight positions, 13 Jins, Yang Cheng Fu’s 10 Essential Tai Chi Principles, and more. In year two classes, you will deepen your practice with intermediate and advanced training. To get a better idea of the program, check out the Tai Chi Online Classes Intro by Michael Paler.

There are four membership options available for the Tai Chi Classes Online program. The easy plan consists of 24 payments of about $40 per month and includes instant access to new videos each month. The second option is the year one instant access membership for about $400 for 12 months. This gives you instant access to all of year one’s videos, and there is no waiting period for the next monthly video.

Once you’ve completed year one, you can sign-up for year two instant access for around $400. And, if you’re really committed to your practice, consider their most popular option: All videos and lifetime access is approximately $500. This gives you instant, lifetime access to year one and two videos.

How We Chose the Best Online Tai Chi Classes

Our picks for the best online tai chi classes are taught by expert instructors trained on tai chi techniques, and skills. We included classes for all levels, with Master Moy Lin Shin’s Taoist Tai Chi video being our top pick for beginners, and the Tai Chi Online Classes an excellent choice for anyone interested in a comprehensive program.

To make this roundup, we also considered courses appropriate for all ages and levels, with the Gentle Tai Chi and Qi Gong LEAP Service course earning our top pick for seniors and Dr. Paul Lam Tai Chi for Arthritis leading as our favorite for anyone dealing with chronic pain. We also featured the 7 Minute Chi—Tai Chi for Beginners as a perfect fit for anyone short on time. You can view all of these tai chi classes on a phone, tablet, or computer.

What Are the Best Online Tai Chi Classes?

When it comes to the best online tai chi classes, the first thing you should consider is the instructor’s qualifications. To get a solid foundation and learn proper techniques, make sure a qualified tai chi instructor teaches the course. Look for teachers and institutes that are reputable and have a long-standing reputation. Most classes are gentle, slow, and low-impact, so the level of instruction is not as important as the quality of the lesson.

Another consideration when choosing the best online tai chi class is the length. Some instructors offer comprehensive programs with several lessons and modules, while others offer a short class you can do in under 10 minutes. While both options are beneficial, you may want to consider a more comprehensive program, especially if you plan on doing any in-person classes.

How Much Do Tai Chi Classes Cost?

In general, online tai chi classes can range from about $15 to $50, and this includes classes you can stream and videos you can buy. If you go with a subscription-based program like Dr. Lam’s, you can expect to pay about $12 per month.

In-person courses also vary and can cost between roughly $15 and $50 per class, with punch cards and memberships being a popular choice for people who practice tai chi regularly. There are a fair amount of low-to-no cost options available, so check with your local senior centers, community and recreational centers, and fitness facilities for affordable classes.

Who Should Use Tai Chi Classes?

Tai chi classes are appropriate for most ages and fitness levels—especially seniors and people with chronic health conditions like arthritis. The benefits include improvements in your physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional health. A regular practice may also have healing benefits ranging from a decrease in arthritic symptoms to improvements in body posture and alignment.

Participants of all ages can benefit from tai chi’s ability to reduce stress and anxiety. Plus, it’s low-impact and gentle on your joints, so you can do it daily. If you are pregnant or have a serious health condition, you should consult your doctor before beginning tai chi.

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Article Sources
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  1. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. "Tai Chi and Qi Gong: In Depth."

  2. Harvard Health Publishing. "Tai Chi May Be As Good As Physical Therapy for Arthritis-Related Knee Pain."