Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Deep Rooted Confidence 2





A
nother approach to building deep rooted confidence comes from the Chinese martial arts – Chi Kung standing postures.


Practitioners may stand in a specific posture anywhere from a few minutes to several hours. Of these postures, the most popular worldwide is the “standing post” position where both arms are held in a circle in front of the chest with the feet shoulder width apart.

Why spend such an exorbitant amount of time on these skills? First of all, to ease and relax the mind. A deeply relaxed mind over the long term contributes greatly to every part of your health from the nervous system to the cardiovascular system. Coupled with loads of deep breathing, a relaxed mind unifies itself with the body. Everything that is you becomes One.

That combination of a relaxed and unified mind and body steers away from the nervous energy and stress associated with “fight or flight”. Rather than blustering against life’s problems, you deal with them in with a cleaner, clearer light, unfazed, with a strong foundation unpinning everything.


However, the main reason fighters in some of the Chinese systems practise this posture is to grow and develop chi, or internal energy. In Hsing I Kung Fu, we start each class by first settling either into the standing post or the san ti position to build power. Then we use that same power in forms and fighting.

One of the most elementary standing postures – so basic you can perform it while waiting for a bus or standing in line at the grocery store – involves standing with your feet shoulder width apart while allowing your arms to hang relaxed at your sides.

1.  The feet are relaxed; there is no gripping of the floor involved. (If you press into the floor too hard you’ll experience a counter-pressure that may collect in the knees or the lower back, causing pain)

2.  The knees are ever so slightly bent. The idea is to relax naturally without stressing the joints


3.  The hips are relaxed and slightly bent. The lower part of the spine curls gently forward and up.

4.  The spine droops naturally. The shoulders are relaxed. Lower the chin slightly. Place the tip of the tongue to the roof of the mouth to help connect the Governor Vessel with the Vessel of Conception. Inhale and exhale slowly though the nose.

(In the body’s chi meridians, Vessel of Conception runs from the roof of the mouth down the centre of the body to the perineum. The Governor Vessel runs from the perineum up the spine, over the top of the head to connect back to the roof of the mouth).

5. As you relax, imagine energy growing downward from the tips of your fingers into the floor. After much practise, your feet will feel as though they have deep roots. Your body’s aura will expand, like the branches of a tree.





 


Whether in Tai Chi or in the martial art called I Chuan, the traditional way is to develop standing practises first, then you begin to move about, carrying the roots along wherever you go. So you can walk down the street and feel as though you’re one with the world. You can address people (like the teacher in the lead photo) with a smile, secure in your power. Or, like Grandmaster Chen Xiao Wang, have a line of people struggle to uproot you without success.

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