One of the most iconic movements of the Yang Style taijiquan that nearly everyone will recognise is the “Single Whip Posture” (Dan Bian Shi). This is were the individual gently pushes forwards with the front open hand, while the opposite hand performs the Cranes beak hand shape by touching the finger tips and thumb together in a claw shape, as seen in the accompanying photo of Laoshi Keith Ewers performing the Yang Style Taijiquan Single Whip Posture. Not only can this posture be performed alongside other taijiquan postures with each of the postures blending and connected together in a flowing sequence of movements. The Single Whip Posture can also be practiced as a Standing Post Qigong Exercise (Taiji Zhan Zhuang Gong) which offers individuals another option to its practice in being able to strengthen the whole body in it maintenance of health & wellbeing.
In the practice of the Yang Style’s taijiquan Single Whip Posture means that the six components of the legs in the shifting of the body weight from one leg to another, the turning of the waist to lead and guide the arms into their correct positions, plus the circular movements of the arms and hands to perform the Single Whip posture accurately. The use of the eyes to follow the direction of the turning of the waist to lead the two hands into their positions, connecting the mind (concentration) and body together, lastly the co-ordination of the breathing and movements to be joined together, allowing the breath to dictate the speed of movements, inhaling on the raising and closing actions, while exhaling on the lowering and opening actions. Above all the movements must be well timed together in a relaxed, soft and gentle manner with the movements performed in a smooth and even speed.
The actual actions of the Yang Style Taijiquan Single Whip Posture are very beneficial for the functioning of the Lungs and heart organs. As the individual performs the Single Whip Posture with one hand opening, extending out to form the Cranes beak hand shape, the other arm is gently drawn inwards close to the body, before it is then extended and opened out in a sweeping action finishing in front of the body. This closing and opening of the both arms allows the Lungs and heart to be gently massaged by the muscles that surround them, helping to gently exercise them and maintain their functioning in circulating the Qi, blood and oxygen around the entire body. Today many people simply take up the study and practice of taijiquan just to learn how to relax, obviously some practice to help improve their balance, and concentration, but very few are actually aware that correct taijiquan practice is practiced to maintain and improve the functioning of our internal organs, fore which true health and wellbeing is only attained.