Within the practice of taijiquan irrespective of what particular style you ar studying they all involve correct body alignment. Learning to maintain correct body alignment allows the individual to have a strong structure to issue power into their movements, today many beginners come into he practice of taijiquan with very little knowledge about what the practice of taijiquan involves, many enter into taijiquan practice simply to learn how to relax or even to improve their sense of balance. But as they gradually progress deeper into their study they begin to realise that taijiquan can also improve their posture and ease of mobility through correct body alignment that conserve they energy levels.
Correct body posture in the practice of taijiquan means that the body is held upright with no leaning of the torso in any direction, the movements of the arms and hands must always remain in front of the torso, there should be no over stretching of the arms again in any direction. The turning of the waist must remain within the range of movement that each individual as in their pelvis or hips, the torso should not over twist or turn so that the lower back becomes tense or that the individual begins to lean.
In-correct body alignment can cause the individual to bring more tension and stiffness into their body, it can also cause them to use to much of their own energy levels. In-correct body alignment and poor hand actions (Shou Fa) and stepping movements (Bu Fa) can have an adverse affect on the individual health by causing them to tense up, raising blood pressure, knee joint pain, tendon pulls usually again in the knees etc. Developing good correct body alignment conserves your energy levels and allows the body to become relaxed and soft in its taijiquan movements. But through correct body alignment the individual should develop strength within each of their taijiquan movements, as the whole body is fully connected and moving in unison.
To develop correct body alignment in the practice of Yang Style taijiquan there are a few basic requirements that each beginner is taught to help give them a guideline in maintaining correct body alignment at all times in their practice of taijiquan.
- The shoulders and hips must remain in line with each other.
- The elbows must not become straight and move beyond the knees.
- The hands must remain in line with the front foot and not go beyond.
These simple guidelines must be used to maintain good body alignment so that each individual can then begin to develop and maintain strength within all of their actions of taijiquan. Again sadly not many individuals spend their time practicing correct body alignment some are happy just to go through the movements of their taijiquan form or sequence not really giving any thought to body alignment or circles they just what to get to the end of their taijiquan form unaware if their body was leanin to any direction, or that their hands are moving before they step or that their actions are more linear than circular.