5 Principles of Internal Tai Chi

What is Internal Tai Chi as opposed to regular Tai Chi? First of all, the goal of all Tai Chi is to be internal. Following are 5 principles of Internal Tai Chi.

1. Sustained Relaxation

To gain some understanding of this first try to relax your body as much as you can so that your entire body wants to relax into the floor then move your body such as in taking a step. When you begin to take the step feel inside of your body and relax every unnecessary body part that tensed just as you thought about taking the step. Then, begin to step again and repeat. Perform the entire Tai Chi set this way and be honest with yourself. Most people will have to stop and re-relax many times.

2. Deep Inner Calm & Focus

Real internal practice is quite calm while staying focused on the here and now. Practice staying extremely calm and placid while keeping your focus on the here and now without letting your mind wander. Most people have difficulty because either tension will creep in, they will pick up the pace of their movement or their mind will start to wander.

3. Whole Body Breathing

Breathe with your entire body so that you can feel all of the cells getting oxygen. There should not be any strain or tension. Simply breathe with every part of your body and feel the cells softly respond to the air exchange.

4. Body Connection

The entire body moves as one with itself and ideally with its surroundings. When you are moving up everything is still connected to the ground but everything moves up. When you are sinking the air holds you up like strings holding up a puppet and yet everything is sinking down to and into the ground.

5. Energy Movement and Connection

The practitioner needs to be sensitive and have the ability to control and move with the energy so that with any movement the mind moves first, the energy follows the mind and then the body naturally follows the energy. If the energy movement is proper and the connection between the energy and the body is true and correct then the practitioner’s movement will seem to flow on its own and can be felt and seen by anyone else who has any ability to sense energy.


  1. This is a great post about integrating internal energy into
    Tai Chi movement and postures. Gives me an idea about
    practicing individual postures as well using these guidelines.
    What it feels like when standing in a single posture, tensing and relaxing muscle groups. Sinking, yet floating. Do you push up the crown point, bring up the shen, then allow the whole body to breathe?

    • Sigung Clear says

      Hi Dan,
      Thank you. I am glad you are enjoying this post.
      You can definitely push up the crown point to bring up the shen while sinking and floating and it will allow you to easily perform whole body breathing. This method plus a large number of others are covered in the Clear Tai Chi Intermediate curriculum.
      Keep up the good work.
      Best Regards.

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