In the practice of Taijiquan/Tai Chi there are many guiding principles that one is taught to help each individual attain a high standard of Taijiquan practice and development. One of these particular sayings is the “Where the waist turns the eyes follow”. In the practice of Taijiquan it is said that the waist guides the energy (qi) into the arms and hands and the eyes follow the hands.
Many individuals who practice Taijiquan tend to keep their head rigid by just looking ahead no matter were the waist or hands move to. This simply stiffens the neck muscles and shoulders causing the individual to feel a constant build of tension and makes the over-Al enjoyment of their Taijiquan practice not very good. When the waist turns it guides the hands out in the same direction the eyes will then follow the hands which allows the whole of the spinal column to gently twist from either side. This gentle turning of the spine helps to release tension throughout the spinal column and also gently stretches the back muscles improving the feeling of relaxation.
Learning to allow the waist to guide the hands and eyes in the same direction stops the neck muscles and cervical spinal column from stiffening up and causing tension which can hinder the circulation of blood and energy to flow smoothly. A major mistake by many beginners is to simply do what we call ” hand & leg” Taijiquan. This is where the hands and legs are moving at the same time in all directions giving the impression of being clumsy, whereas if you allow the body to move first and let the hands follow giving a much better impression of smoothness, gracefulness and control in your Taijiquan movements. This is only achieved by allowing the waist to guide the hands and eyes, by having your eyes follow the movement of your waist and to watch the hands keeps the mind/ intent (yi) from floating off into a day dream state. As the practice of Taijiquan is both an exercise of developing the physical, mental and spiritual levels of each person.