Monday, 13 August 2012

8 Pieces of Silk - #8

Turn your head slowly to the left

oday’s post on the Chi Kung routine called the 8 Pieces of Silk probably looks like the easiest part of the routine.

You turn your head slowly into one direction and then you turn your head slowly into the opposite direction. Nothing could be simpler!

But that’s the problem I’ve always had when it comes to teaching Chi Kung – or for that matter Tai Chi. Students say: “Hey…that looks easy. I can pick those moves up with no trouble!”

There are 2 general parts to learning any Chi Kung routine

First, the external portion: the physical movement itself (posture; the position of the arms and legs; balance; distance; timing, etc.)

Second, what actually goes on within the body itself (inner movements of organs; blood flow; opening up the energy pathways; directing the energy flow; etc.)

A typical student usually spends a while learning the external attributes of each posture along with the connective flow from posture to posture. Nothing is lost by staying at this level. Students still gain a lot of health benefits: improved cardio-vascular health; improved joint flexibility and range of motion; reduced stiffness and pain from ailments such as arthritis; improved posture; lots of stress release…and so on.

However, the deeper tasks start when a student is confident enough to discover what is inside the postures themselves.

So let’s return to the routine and continue where we left off last week –

Now slowly turn your head to the right

29.  Please bring your legs together again. (Notice how, in this latter part of the routine, we’re continually moving from a position where the feet are together to a more open position, the sei ping mah (4 point horse stance).

With your arms relaxed and by your sides, very slowly turn your head to the left. Breathing – inhale very slowly through the nose as you turn your head to the left.

As I stated, a very simple movement indeed! But let’s dig a little deeper –

Imagine that your head is gently tied to a piece of silk – and that you’re not just turning your head but gently pulling the piece of silk with your head from right to left. And that you’re doing this with the inside of your neck…and the very insides of your entire body.

Now the movement feels completely different!

30.  Believe it or not, the next movement is even more dynamic.

Your head is still tied to a piece of silk, this time from the left. Very slowly and gently pull the piece of silk from the left across to the front and then over to the right. Breathing – exhale very slowly through the nose as you turn your head to the left until you face the front then inhale very slowly as you move your head from the front to your right.

Pull the silk with the insides of your neck – and with the insides of the entire body.

You can perform this movement as many times as you wish or you can simply go on to the next posture.

We have 2 more movements to go in the routine! Please watch for the next section which I’ll post a week from today.

I want to thank Sifu Greg Magwood for posing for these postures. Sifu Magwood can be contacted at Magwood Martial Arts on Facebook.

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