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  • What is Relaxation and Sinking in Tai Chi Chuan

Tai Chi Chuan is an ancient Chinese martial art. It is celebrated for its flowing movements and profound depth. there are two fundamental concepts for all styles of Tai Chi. These are relaxation and sinking.

Although these concepts seem simple, they are the keys to unlocking the full potential of Tai Chi.

Understanding Relaxation in Tai Chi Chuan

In Tai Chi Chuan relaxation is not just the absence of tension. It is also an active state of being. A better term of relaxation in Tai Chi would be to release.  The key difference is that you are releasing unnecessary muscular effort while maintaining structural integrity.

This kind of relaxation or release will allow you to move with grace and efficiency, conserve energy and enhance your overall performance.

Sinking in Tai Chi

The Concept of Sinking

Here's something you probably don't know about...

Sinking in Tai Chi Chuan refers to your "grounding" yourself, both physically and energetically. 

Tai Chi involves using your mind as much as you body so sinking energetically means that you lower your center of gravity using your mind. You release your body's weight into your feet, and connect with the earth. By doing this you create a stable, rooted stance that is essential when using Tai Chi in martial applications.

Here's what I mean by lowering your center of gravity by using your mind.

I bet that there are times you feel disconnected and out of sync with the world.

Your fast-paced life is often push your energy upward - to your heads, shoulders, and chest. p

And although you seem to get through each day, your body and mind are constantly under strain.

Consider this…

Constantly being in this state can leave you feeling fragmented, and possibly even ill.

Now imagine your body as an upside-down pyramid. With so much energy being pushed to the top, there's no way you can maintain balance. To regain your stability, it's crucial for you to master the basic exercises for developing a downward current of energy.

Tai Chi,  is your answer to this imbalance. At its core, Tai Chi is about understanding the essential energy flows within your body.

As you practice, Tai Chi cleanses and releases any blocked energy.

Sinking in Tai Chi

Before we go any further, I want to set something straight…

You can discern your blocked energy through sensations of extreme muscle strength, tension, or contraction. Relaxing and sinking your energy can dissolve these blockages.

This will leave behind only the pure flow of energy or "chi".

The concept of "Relax and Sink" is two-fold.

First, physically release your body by melting away tension.

Second, mentally guide your chi (energy) downward. Create a connection to the earth and ground yourself.

While physically relaxing is pretty straightforward, sinking is more of a mental challenge. Sinking involves directing your energy within your body, and then allowing it to flow into the earth.

Sinking in Tai Chi

Integrating Relaxation and Sinking in Practice

If you want to fully benefit from Tai Chi Chuan, it is essential to integrate relaxation and sinking into your daily practice. 

  1. Focus on Posture: Ensure your posture is aligned and relaxed. Imagine a string gently pulling the top of your head upward while your body sinks downward.
  2. Breathe Deeply: Deep breathing promotes relaxation and aids in your sinking. As you inhale, feel your body expand. As you exhale, allow your weight to sink into your feet.
  3. Move Mindfully: Practice moving slowly and mindfully. Pay attention to the sensations in your body. Release tension with each movement. Allow your body to sink naturally with each step.
  4. Practice Regularly: Consistent practice is key. Dedicate time each day to practicing Tai Chi.


Relaxing and sinking are more than just concepts in Tai Chi Chuan. These are pathways to a deeper understanding of yourself and the art. If you embrace these principles, you can achieve greater physical mastery, mental clarity, and a profound sense of inner peace.

Bottom line is…

Embrace the flow, release your tension, and connect with the earth beneath you. Your path to inner peace and physical mastery awaits you in the practice of Tai Chi Chuan.