The first thing that everyone is taught in their very first taijiquan class is that you must remain relaxed and loose (Song Jin) at all times. At first each individual will relax their muscles and joints, but the teacher will mention that your relaxation has to reach deeply inside of you to go deeper into the marrow of the bones and into the internal organs (Zangfu), as well as your meridians and energy points (Qixue). Ultimately the more the deeper into oneself you can become fully relaxed and loose the better it will be for the individuals health and wellbeing.
Obviously the more softer we can become through learning to relax deeply into ourselves the more we can release the build up of stress, tension and anxiety from our body and mind. The practice of Taijiquan encourages each individual to become soft, loose and light in their actions promoting strong blood and energy flow throughout the entire body. This feeling of relaxation is greatly enhanced by each individual combining their breathing in time with their movements, the deep rhythmic breathing that is used in the practice of taijiquan has a strong effect on soothing and calming the nervous system which helps to speed up this feeling of being totally relaxed.
As in the use of taijiquan as a internal martial art this feeling of being relaxed and loose is important because the individual can generate a tremendous amount of strong springy power into their fighting techniques. Because they have learnt over the many months and years to fully relax and loosen their muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints which develops this soft springy type energy that the individual can tap into at anytime, as well as learning how to connect their whole body movements into one smooth,flowing action that can produce this strong springy (Peng Jin) energy from any part of their body in any direction.
Relaxation in taijiquan does not mean to totally relax like a wet fish, it means that you still have shape, but you are loose and soft on the outside,yet strong and full on the inside. For some individuals it can take them a very long time to attain this deep state of being loose and relaxed in their taijiquan training. But as Lao Zi mentions “the tree that does not bend against the storm is up rooted and broken, whereas the tree that is soft and supple and bends against the force of the storm survives”.