Five Tips to Sink the Shoulders in Tai Chi

Aug 29, 2022

1. Tuck your hips and but don’t lean backwards. Maintain stable footwork. This will bring you lower body stability to relax your upper body and shoulders.

2. Breathe with your belly. This way you avoid the rise and fall of your chest and removes tension in your neck and shoulders. This will avoid the rise and fall of your center of gravity and keep you grounded in your lower body.

3. In order to sink the shoulders first, be sure to drop the elbows and point them to the floor.

4. Sink your shoulder blades into their pockets. Even when you raise your arms do not allow your shoulders to shrug upwards. Reduce any big shoulder movements to only what is functionally necessary.

5. Shrug your shoulders. If you aren’t sure if you are raising your shoulders, then raise them on purpose and then let them settle back down with a long exhale. The long exhale will activate the parasympathetic system and relax any underlying tensions associated with the shoulders.

The more your practice relaxing your shoulders the more you will notice when they are lifting upwards and tense. This takes time as you retrain your muscles after a lifetime of tension.

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