When you sit down on to a chair, you automatically, and without forcing it, do a pelvic tilt. If you don’t, you run the slight risk of hurting your spine.
The same thing should be true in tai chi and qigong when you move your weight from the front leg to the rear leg of a Bow stance; you need to do a pelvic tilt (see previous blog). Forcing it.
Without repeating the previous blog, I’ve noticed that quite a few people force the pelvis under Stretching or rel
If you are unsure where it is, it’s the same muscle you use when trying to stop urination in mid-flow, as well as the one that women practise using both pre- and then postnatally to help the recovery of the pelvic floor. The pelvic floor’s function.
It’s function is to hold the bowel, digestive, and reproductive organs in position (intestines, womb, uterus, bladder). Without it, gravity would allow those organs to drop between the thighs. It’s the bottom of t
What is a pelvic tilt? How does it affect you?
Amongst other things: More flexibility in the lower (lumbar) spine. Ultimately, less discomfort, as well as less risk of injury. Improved abdominal activity; the intestines get an internal massage and function more efficiently. Strengthened abdominal muscles; less risk of hernias. Has a knock-on effect on the neck. Because the lower back starts to free up, over time the neck also changes. When you start to strengthen and opera
If you constantly try to sink your boat, your posture will improve, and if you have back problems, sinking your hull will almost definitely help relieve those problems. Why?
Because, when you sink your boat, your pelvis releases and softens,
⇒ which means that the angle of your pelvis alters,
⇒ which means that the alignment of your spine alters,
⇒ which means that your lumbar spine changes position and your vertebrae cease compressing and open slightly, and
Practising the art of sinking is essential; it’s not going to happen on its own. When?
The good thing is that you can practise it all the time, whilst doing anything – lying down, standing, walking, cooking, sitting, gardening… etc. Walking.
Walking is a very good way to practise it, the knack is not to try it every step you take. At first try doing it with only one foot, or for example, every 4th step. Practising boat scuttling.
Step forward, and as you put
Above the hull is the equipment that makes the sailing boat functional – mast & boom, shrouds & sails, sheets & cleats, and a burgee if you have one.
This is your upper torso. The rigging
The mast (spine) supports most of these bits of above-deck equipment – the shrouds (arms), the burgee (tiny head!), the sails, (torso – chest/back/rib cage); and the spreader (in the diagram) is a little like your shoulders running from port to starboard. The boat in the picture even has
Crown of head (not to be confused with the hair whorl) Perineum (muscle between genitals & anus) Point directly on the line between your 2 feet (variable if moving your weight back/forward between the feet). The Spinal Line (when pushing an object/person). To continue the water analogy, it’s the pressure of the water behind your tap that causes the flow, not the water itself. So, for example, when shifting a piece of heavy furniture, if you overuse the arms, you can strain t
Your neck controls your future comfort.
It’s never too late to do something about your posture, although it’s probably true to say that the earlier you start, the more comfortable your later years will be. The ‘Seesaw Law’.
In some respects, your spine works like a seesaw; if you do something to one end, there will be a reaction not only at the other end, but across the entire length of the seesaw. In other words, if you position your neck incorrectly on your body, you are
How is it at the moment? Where does your neck begin and end?
Anatomically your neck is 7 vertebrae long, starting at the skull (under and up inside), and finishing at the slightly more protrusive vertebra C7 (the 7th cervical vertebra) which is at the base of the neck, above shoulder line height. To be honest, I’m not actually very interested in its anatomical length, I’m much more interested in its functional length.
Functionally it finishes around about T3 (i.e. the 3rd t
You breathe (hopefully). Maybe you breathe efficiently, maybe you don’t, but in order to live you obviously need both an ‘in’ and an ‘out’ breath; you must have both. One breath cannot exist without the other.
You feel the end of an in-breath, and you convert it seamlessly to an out-breath.
But when moving, many people don’t do so in the way that they breathe; they often move as though they’re continuously breathing either out or in.
Breathing is yin and yang. It’s expan
Whilst teaching, I’ve noticed that people do a number of unusual things when turning their heads.
Some tilt one ear nearer the shoulder which, in effect, lies the head slightly on its side, others lift the chin, some drop the chin, whilst others push the chin forwards.
None of these are much good for the neck, and some of them are potentially damaging. Using the neck.
There’s a considerable amount of use of the neck in both tai chi and qigong, although perhaps for differen
Often in both tai chi and qigong it is necessary to ‘grip the floor’ – part of rooting and making the body more stable. This is particularly useful in tai chi when working with a partner, e.g in pushing hands, or a 2-person form, or when testing postures. In qigong, ‘gripping’ the floor has the function of not only providing stability, but also of stimulating the acupuncture channels that either start or end in the feet, whilst at the same time connecting the root (the feet)
The classics say:
“Head upright to let the shen [spirit of vitality] rise to the top of the head. Don’t use Li [external strength], or the neck will be stiff and the qi [vital life energy] and blood cannot flow through. It is necessary to have a natural and lively feeling. If the spirit cannot reach the headtop, it cannot raise“. Actually, it’s a great description! But it begs the question, how should you position your neck … not just in Tai Chi, but in day-to-day use?