The 13 postures and the taolu (form) are ruled by the 13 principles. The 13 principles are guidelines that help a practitioner execute the movements in harmony with mind, body and soul. But they also function as instructions on how to execute the form.

“Where the mind goes, the chi follows”, is an often used phrase and you must connect the mind, chi, and body (movement) all at once to experience the graceful flow of Tai Chi Chuan.

The 13 principles are listed below:

  1. Sink the Shoulders and Drop the Elbows
  2. Relax the Chest and Round the Back
  3. Sink Chi down to Dan Tien
  4. Extend from the Crown 
  5. Relax the Waist and Sink the Hip
  6. Differentiate Between Empty and Full: Yin and Yang
  7. Coordination of Upper and Lower Parts of the Body
  8. Use the Mind Instead of Force
  9. Harmony Between Internal and External
  10. Connect the Mind and the Chi
  11. Find Stillness Within Movement
  12. Movement and Stillness Present at Once
  13. Continuity and Evenness Throughout the Form

To help you with practicing Tai Chi Chuan, the principles can be used as something like a mantra. Before you start, rehearse the principles and say them to yourself.

Then, when you start the form, pay attention to doing them.

Taolu (form)