Relax the shoulders in Taiji and Qigong


Relax the shoulders in Taiji and Qigong

One of the fundamental principles of taijiquan for martial arts and taiji for health is to relax and sink the shoulders. It is so fundamental that it is listed in Yang Cheng Fu’s famous ten points and the principle is shared in all qigong styles.

Relax the shoulders in Taiji and Qigong

Yang Cheng Fu’s 10 Points

1- Head upright to let the Shen 神 [spirit of vitality] rise to the top of the head.
2- Sink the chest and pluck up the back.
3- Song 松 [Relax] the Yao 腰 [lower back/waist].
4- Differentiate between insubstantial and substantial.
5- Sink the shoulders and drop the elbows.
6- Use the Yi 意 [intention] instead of Li 力 [brute force].
7- Coordinate the upper and lower parts of the body.
8- Harmonize the internal and external.
9- Move with continuity.
10- Move with tranquility [Seek stillness in movement].

Besides the obvious martial arts benefits of keeping the shoulders relaxed and sunk in daily life and health gains are truly profound. After all, what happens to our shoulders when we are stressed? They rise up and tense up and we begin to wear them like earrings! Once our shoulders are up and tight then we begin to stress mentally, the breath rises in the body and we manifest the qualities of anger without even knowing it.

I have noticed within myself that sometimes even before I realize I am stressed or fixating on something that is unskillful I can recognize that my shoulders are rising. Seeing this all we need to do is consciously relax the shoulders, song and let them sink back to the natural position. In doing this the stress of the mind fades away with the dropping of the shoulders. The mind can lead the body and the body can lead the mind, the two are intimately connected. This is a truth I find we can use both ways to live a more healthy and peaceful life with the load off and our shoulders down.

The video above talks about this principle which is so vital for taiji, qigong and health, and shows a simple awareness practice of how to counter and relax stress and tension at any time.

Naturally the release of tension and stress can and should be practiced throughout the body, but the shoulders are special trouble makers and deserve extra attention.

The video below demonstrates the five song exercises developed by master Huang Sheng Shyan, these are some of the best methods for releasing stress and tension from the body and mind and particularly the shoulders. The five song exercises as well as many other direct methods for achieving relaxation and release in tai chi chuan and qigong are taught in detail in the Discover Taiji online training program.

This post was authored by Adam Mizner

  • Posted on: 8/12/2016 12:53:03 PM -
  • Tobi

This is an excelent idea Adam! Thanks for sharing this info. My shoulders are often tense after hours of computer work 🙂 So this is a good reminder to practice and improve the quality of life. I also particularly pay attention to this while sitting in meditation for extended periods and the process of relaxing releases all the old tension and can be very painful – particularly when suffering from injuries of the spine or upper back in general. It even leads to emotional and mental release when doing it deeply. It’s so vital to relax – and not only shoulders but every cell of this body/mind vehicle. Thanks again for sharing.

  • Posted on: 8/12/2016 12:53:03 PM -
  • Reggie Kincer

I have been searching utube for the loosenings. I think this was taken off utube but authorized for this article. Very good feedback from the universe. Ha

  • Posted on: 8/12/2016 12:53:03 PM -
  • DiscoverTaiji

Hi Reggie, we’re still on youtube on this channel
And so is the loosenings video, it is called “Song Shen Wu Fa – Sifu Adam Mizner” 🙂

  • Posted on: 8/12/2016 12:50:40 PM -
  • Richard Henriq

Thanks for sharing this!
The traditional art includes exercise and meditation techniques to improve overall health of an individual. it not only treats a specific problem but also aides in improving the overall health, the well being.

Discover the power of Taiji with our Online Training Program
Weekly High Definition Video Lessons with step by step instructions