One of Tai Chi’s classic principles is not to be caught “Double Weighted” (Shuang Ding) that means the bodyweight should not be placed evenly between both legs. In many cases there are two many practitioners of the Li Style (Lishi) Tai Chi who do not pay enough attention to this very important T’ai Chi classic principle. Learning to shift the bodyweight from one leg to another has many health related benefits for which I will talk about a little later in this particular blog, firstly alternating the bodyweight from one to another brings the famous Yin & Yang (Tai Chi Lun) symbol into actual use, as the leg that carries the bodyweight is considered to be Yang, full, strong, active. Whereas the leg that carries no bodyweight is considered to be Yin, empty, light, non-active hence the constant shifting of the bodyweight allows Yang to change into Yin and vice-versa.
This constant shifting of the bodyweight from one leg to another either in a forwards to backwards direction or from side to side becomes a gentle rocking or swaying action that is performed throughout the entire form. Slowly placing the bodyweight onto one leg will gradually strengthen the muscles, tendons and bones of the lower extremities, plus it will develop an aerobic exercise that will raise an individual’s heart rate to 50-74 percent of maximum, depending on the type of intensity of T’ai Chi and your age.
Another reason why the shifting of the bodyweight from one leg to another in the practice of the Li Style (Lishi) Tai Chi is so important is that it increases the flexibility of each individual. It allows the muscles, ligaments, tendons, fascia around the joints of the ankles, knees and hips to warm up and have enough time to adapt to stretching, changing shape and releases any tension and stiffness that may have built up without being torn or strained.
The rocking of the bodyweight from one leg to another also allows the individual to relax more into themselves, as the rocking action is like a mother who holds her baby in her arms and gently rocks and sways to allow the baby to fall asleep. Well this rocking action allows the T’ai Chi individual to achieve a deeper state of relaxation as their nervous system becomes more calmer and soothed due to the slow, predictable gentle rocking of the bodyweight, which will gently allow the tissues to gradually feel safe and release their holding patterns and tensions.
So above are just a few reasons why it is important to transfer the bodyweight from one leg to another in the practice of the Li Style (Lishi) Tai Chi for the maintenance of health, fitness and wellbeing and not to be caught using Double Weighted postures which sadly many practitioners of the Li Style Tai Chi still perform.