8 Principals of Tai Chi


Tai Chi, the Great Universal, is a holistic practice, working on mind body and spirit. Your tai chi movement reflects where you are in your life, your openness and your blockages. As you change so will your Tai Chi form. The opposite is also true, as you develop your Tai Chi form, you can bring the learning into your life.

The 8 principles of Tai Chi help us to develop the Tai Chi movement, but they can also be applied back into our lives.

1. Every Movement Starts from the Centre

All Tai Chi movement comes from the waist, the Tan Tien. This always comes first and leads the rest of the movement. The Tan Tien is the centre of the body’s power. When we move from the centre, everything else follows naturally.

“If we learn to go with the flow of the universe, to work with the natural rhythms of life becomes so much easier.”

2. Maintain Your Thread to Heaven

Keep the back straight and the head drawn upwards towards heaven. Align the 7 Energy centres. Keep the head held upwards, do not let the head drop forward to look at the hands or feet. Follow them with the eyes.

“We learn to maintain our connection to divine guidance, to let spirit direct our lives.”

3. Everything is Curved, Nothing is Straight

Keep the wrists, elbows and fingers unlocked. Keep the shoulders down. Open up the hips unlock the knees and the ankles. Locking any of the joints cuts the energy flow of Chi, the life force. We give way rather than resist. Once we are locked and rigid we are vulnerable.

“We learn the path of least resistance, to flow like a river. Avoid rigidity in our lives, be open to different approaches, different ways.”

4. We All Need Space to Grow

Keep the arms and the hands away from the body, giving your self space. Make sure that there is space under the arms for the body to breath freely. We work not only on the physical level but out into the auric field. The more open and confident you are, the more open and confident the movement.

“In order to make change in your life you need to give yourself time and space.”

5. Strength and Supplenesss, Like a Tree

Make sure that you are well rooted into the ground, that your stance is strong and well grounded. Keep the upper body relaxed and the upper body movement flowing. We keep the connection to earth energy through our strong stance enabling us to balance the strong energy of heaven. Reflect the Yin and Yang of nature into your stance and movement.

We maintain balance in our lives. While we seek spiritual growth and development we also stay grounded in our physical existence.”

6. Everything Changes, Nothing Stays the Same

Always move as if you are ready for the unexpected. Put down the heel first, so you can turn to face a different direction. Sink the weight down gently so that you can lift up again if necessary. Adapt your form to how you feel. Sometimes stronger and more expansive, sometimes soft, gentle and nurturing.

“Tai Chi is the universal dance of life, the constant interplay of Yin and Yang. Expect the unexpected in your life. Nothing will stay the same for long. Be open to change and see it as exciting rather than threatening.”

7. In Stillness We Seek Movement

Always seek stillness when you do your Tai Chi practice. Use quiet surroundings, still the mind and still the emotions. Let the movement rise out of the stillness. We work with the Chi, the subtle energy. Our awareness of the Chi and of our senses comes with a quiet mind, focused and alert.

“If we are to know ourselves as we truly are, we first need to find stillness and peace inside. It is only through this stillness, through knowing our true self that we can make sustained change in our lives.”

8. We Live in a World of Illusion

The Tai Chi movement is illusionary. Minimise the physical movement. Let the movement come from the turn of the waist and the shifting of the weight, with only minimal movement of the arms, wrists and hands. We reduce the physical effort enabling us to go deeper into our meditation.

“Our perception of the world around us is based on judgement and does not represent the truth. Learn to look beyond your perception to see the truth.”

Quotes from Tony Morton, one of the most inspiring Tai Chi Instuctors

The essence of life…  forever learning.