Relaxtion in Yang Style Tai chi

In Tai Chi Chuan, relaxation (Song) is the most important and fundamental principle. It is the goal that every Tai Chi practitioner continually strives to achieve. This is because only through relaxation can one sink; through sinking, one can become soft; through softness, one can become light and agile; and through lightness and agility, one can achieve a state of emptiness and seamless flow, reaching the higher levels of Tai Chi Chuan. In the dynamic practice of Tai Chi forms, one must be completely relaxed and soft, with no tension in any part of the body. This is very difficult to achieve, even with a master’s guidance, and can only be gradually attained through long-term practice and refinement. Many principles are involved, and almost all Tai Chi principles are directly or indirectly related to relaxation. Any deviation from these principles affects the relaxation and softness of the form to varying degrees. However, this does not mean that relaxation has no inherent rules. This article discusses two methods to achieve self-balance in Yang-style Tai Chi Chuan, which is one aspect of finding relaxation during form practice. The primary goal in form practice is to achieve self-balance. If one’s posture is unstable during practice, muscle and joint contraction is required to restore balance, generating tension. Thus, mastering the methods to achieve self-balance during form practice is crucial for achieving relaxation. From a modern scientific perspective, the issue of self-balance in Tai Chi forms is essentially about effectively controlling the body's center of gravity. During practice, the center of gravity continually shifts between the feet and should always be controlled directly above the line connecting the feet (or directly above one foot for extreme cases), without deviation. If the center of gravity moves away from this line, it leads to instability and a tendency to topple. In the process of opening and closing movements, controlling the center of gravity is relatively easy, and instability is rare. However, during transitions, such as stepping in and out, it becomes more challenging. Using the two methods discussed in this article, one can effectively control the center of gravity, ensuring smooth transitions and achieving lightness and stability in practice.

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