The tai chi performent has a sequence of basic movements: ward off, roll back, press, and push.
In every Tai Chi movement the limbs are motivated by the lumbar back which in turn is controlled by the brain. Therefore, the rule is: 'use mind, and not force'. During practice, apart from numerous fine muscular relaxations and contractions the mind and mood remain relaxed and empty. Head and neck posture are maintained.
Almost Tai chi masters included: relax lumbar muscles, drop shoulders and elbows, use mind and not force, maintain correct head and neck posture, etc. All this points to the fact that the lumbar back is the power-house of Tai-Chi movements and its internal strength. A good Tai-Chi practitioner should reach the point where externally he is soft as cotton, but internally as tough as steel. In fighting he behaves like a sharp scalpel in the middle of cotton wool. You will get hurt if you underestimate him.
In prolonged practice it helps to strengthen the trapezium muscle of the neck and the erector spinalis muscle of the back. One feels relaxed with a happy and warm inner feeling after Tai-Chi exercise. This exercise certainly could help patients with chronic lower back and neck pain.
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