The Relaxation Technique in Taiji Quan
by Rennie Chong
Every movement in Taiji Quan is a practice of relexation, generally known as a changing process of Yin and Yang.
When doing Taiji Quan, one is expected to relax the whole body; to achieve this the mind has to be completely relaxed first. In Taiji terms, this is called: "The mental relaxation leads to the release of the spirit; it then leads to the release of 'qi' (a kind of energy of circulation)". Though one cannot see the 'qi', it is some kind of energy circulated in the body, which can be felt and experienced.
A normal person's body consists of several parts, namely: feet, hands, ankles, knees, groin, waist, shoulders, elbows, and writst, altogether nine main joints. They have to be all smoothly linked in order to achieve harmony to function well. That is the main idea of relaxation.
The relaxation of fingers and fitness
Many books on Taiji Quan hardly mention the role of fingers. When talking about the techniques of Taiji Quan, fingers always have been neglected. People who practise Taiji Quan normally do not pay attention to exercising the fingers. In fact, fingers play an important role in one's body fitness.
One has to understand that, according to the traditional Chinese medical belief, on the back of our five fingers lies the path to Yang, whereas on the heart of our palm lies the path to Yin. Our body's internal organs are the quardians of Yin and Yang, which govern our health and fitness. Hence, applying this to Taiji Quan, when one breathes out, his fingers must slightly extend, while when one breathes in, his fingers must then slightly curl in to synchronize with the effects of opening and closing of internal circulation. This explains why when one practises Taiji Quan, he has to keep the mind on the so called Lao Gong point (the accupunctural point, which leads to the heart). When mind is concentrated on this point, it has a calming effect on the heart.
To get to the comfortable median posture in Taiji quan, one has to stand upright, with both eyes maintaining the horizontal vision. Externally, it appears that the body is at a medial position; internally, one must feel comfortable. That means one must attain a state both physically and mentally balanced. Hence, the theoretical demand of Taiji Quan is: "...[T]he body takes an upright comfortable medial position so as to be able to sustain pressure from all eight directions." Doing this at a stand still is easy, to maintain this upon moving is difficult. When one moves according to the change of Yin and Yang strokes, one's centre of gravity also shifts, the body will then go out of balance. To adjust one's attitude so as to breathe smoothly throughout all movements, he must always make sure the centre of gravity should fall and be kept between the two feet, so that the head point and the centre of gravity point always are well aligned.
The Relaxation Technique in Taiji Quan @ 2007 Rennie Chong