Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The 8 Pieces of Silk - #4

Beginning from deep within the body, slowly turn to the left

e’re reaching the mid-point of the exquisite 8 Pieces of Silk routine.

At this point, we’re going to turn to the side and backwards. But as in all the postures - and the connective movements between the postures - 2 principles should be observed…

1.  All movement in the 8 Pieces of Silk should begin from deep within the body. The first active physical/mental spark to any Chi Kung movement comes from the mind…or the I…the intention. The mind initiates the first energetic wave - either from an area just below the navel; or from a specific organ; or from the marrow of the bones; or from a point found on a chi meridian…etc.

The wave travels outward, moving the musculoskeletal system step by step until the tips of the fingers reach the conclusion of the posture.

That’s what I tell my students. We’re not just simply flinging the arms around and exercising; we’re stretching - and massaging - the insides of the entire body!

2.  The breathing differs from ordinary exercise. In the 8 Pieces of Silk, we don’t exhale when we go into a movement, we inhale.

I enjoy teaching the 8 Pieces of Silk, especially to beginners. Folks first starting out view each posture as a simple stretch, a slow form of calisthenics.

After the first 5 minutes they realize that the routine is anything but that. The internal workout is tremendous. That’s why the movements have to be done slowly, so that the body has time to adjust - and that there is also enough time to bring the innermost parts of the body on board.

Let’s continue -

19.  Having, in #18, placed your fists back on your hips, slowly begin to turn to the left while opening your hands again. Turn back as far as comfortable. At the end there is a slight upward tilt to your left shoulder.

The fingers of your left hand face toward you with the palm facing the ground.. The fingers of the right hand face up over your left shoulder with the palm facing the sky. Your eyes are looking at a point behind you and to the left, as though you were looking up at someone at a 2nd floor window. Breathing – inhale through the nose.

Now slowly turn in the same manner to the right

20.  Next, turn slowly back to the front. Breathing – exhale through the nose. Your hands cross slowly in front of you as you return to facing to the front. Begin turning to your right. Everything is the same as in #19, except the left hand is up and the right hand is down. Both hands hold the same finger/palm positions as in #19. Your eyes are gazing up to a 2nd floor window back behind your right shoulder. Breathing – inhale through the nose as you begin to turn to the right.

Same movement again but this time with the left fist clenched at the hip

21.  We exit #20, by tuning back to the front. Breathing – exhale through the nose. We cross our hands again in front of the body and turn to the left once more. We stretch into the same hand position as in #19 except that the left hand arrives at the left hip as a clenched fist. Breathing – inhale through the nose as you begin to turn to the left.

Adopt the same posture while turning to the right

22.  Lastly, we turn back to the front bringing our hands out in front. Breathing – exhale through the nose. We turn to the right once more, the left hand reaching up behind and the right hand stopping at the left hip, clenched in a fist. We’re looking up behind us to the right. Breathing – inhale through the nose as you begin to turn to the right.

The power of suggestion - and visualization - can work well with any of the postures in the 8 Pieces of Silk. I often suggest to students that their arms and spine “become like water”. The effect is incredible, especially when done slowly. The suggestion seems to seep into the joints and make them more fluid. People with back problems or stiff or frozen shoulders seem to increase their range of motion by following this suggestion!

Allow me to go to the next part of the routine in a few days!

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