During my years in Tai Chi, sinking is the word which comes to mind the most. It is the key to laying down a good foundation in Tai Chi, if you can fully understand the true meaning of sinking. The only way to learn is through practicing the forms and applying this principle. Recently I have been working with you all, regarding the principal of holding the head in the correct position, which is upright and with the chin slightly lowered.
The head is held correctly by being relaxed so there should be no tension carried in the neck or shoulders. With the head in the correct position then one is able to relax the entire spine, or feel it should I say. If the spine is relaxed then the all three Tan Tiens (Energy centres) are able to function correctly, which will allow the Qi to sink and rise correctly.
You can achieve correct relaxation at the beginning and at the end of the form by just standing still. If you focus on your mind on your lower centre, just below the navel, when exhaling, let everything sink down to that lower centre of you body. You must work your way through your body, by using focus instead of force, relax your head, forehead, neck and shoulders and continue down the entire body. The feet should be stretched and relaxed and the weight evenly distributed across both feet.
You should be upright allowing the knees to naturally bend and they should not be locked, neither should the bend in the knees be forced, which will cause you to strain the back and hips. True relaxation is not about being happy, of course happiness will be achieved once you have discovered the true meaning and the feeling of relaxation, it is in fact about mastering the body, by taking away all of the tension, so by standing still you get to eventually experience softness and becoming without effort or strain to stand or move. If you practice this for five minutes either side of a form, you will begin to feel the true Tai Chi. Once you have learnt this stage, you then need to apply the relaxation technique to the forms and Qigong, which may take some time, but this journey is worth it because it is the foundation of true Tai Chi.
Try not to worry about breathing too much for now, let the breath become relaxed and remember to sink from within your mind to your lower centre when exhaling and filling up the body with Qi when inhaling. Eventually you will become internally relaxed, which will radiate outwardly, creating softness in others.
Master Vasilios © 2014 -2015