She might not have been a Tai Chi master, but grandma was right…

You should keep your back straight.

Most people have a slight curve in their spine. Below the neck, the spine curves outward and then on the back side of the belly, the spine curves back inward. Over time, this curved shape increases.

Poor posture is one of the leading causes of lower back pain.

While it’s good to avoid being a hunchback – and this is probably what grandma was going for – in your Tai Chi practice it is very important to keep your back straight, especially your lower back.

Incorrect alignment can separate the upper and lower body.

The slight arch or gap in the back that most people have is a real problem for Tai Chi practice. It separates the top of your body from the bottom.

As a martial art, Tai Chi uses the weight and the strength of the entire body against opponents. It’s not just the force of the arm that counts in Tai Chi. It’s connection of the arm to the body to the legs and feet, and on into the ground.

The Lower Back is very important for Tai Chi whole body connection.

When Tai Chi is practiced correctly, the opponents find themselves encountering not simply the force of a possibly very small opponent, but the force of the ground itself. They might have thought that they could easily shove their opponent, but it’s very hard to move the ground. With proper body connection, this is exactly the challenge that a Tai Chi artist sets up for an attacker. When the lower back is not kept straight, this body connection is completely lost.

This whole body connection is also important for energetic purposes.

Keeping your lower back straight is an important part of the Wu Chi posture. If you are doing it correctly, this posture opens up the macrocosmic and microcosmic orbits – two important channels of energetic flow through the body. Many of the health benefits of Tai Chi are based on this flow.

So keep your lower back straight. It’s foundational to the art.

In the my post, I’ll discuss some ways of straightening your lower back.

Speak Your Mind