Leaving aside ‘Standing’ qigong (aka Zhan Zhuang, Standing Pole, Standing Like a Tree , etc.), there are many types of Qigong which are not unlike very short and repetitive Tai Chi Forms.
These exercises quite simply move the body from a static, usually feet-together position, into a particular posture, and then out if it again, not unlike some yoga exercises. Professor Zhang Guangde’s qigong ‘sets’. Digestive system qigong. The purpose of Daoyin YangSheng Gong.
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
From head to foot.
When practicing taiji and qigong, we are often conscious of the forwards/backwards and the left/right of the movements, but it’s easy to forget the crown to feet expansion/contraction.
When doing Tai Chi & Qigong, it’s important to keep that structural line intact. Intact?
By this I mean that any forces that the spine is dealing with are evenly spread over its length; i.e. no part of the spine is taking more force than any other part. (I do not mean tha
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
We don’t usually think much about the way that we move around in our everyday lives; we just do it. However, when people take up tai chi or qigong, they often start moving very self-consciously, and a movement that they would normally do both smoothly and gracefully becomes clumsy whilst the body posture gets lost completely. For example, moving the body from a rear foot to a front foot (this could be a push) is one of those things that brings out the dif
In both in taiji and in qigong there is often the need to raise the knee, either to kick, or perhaps as an exercise for the pelvis, or perhaps just to take a step.
As in raising your arm efficiently, there is a similar method with the leg. What happens inside you when you lift your knee?
There are several muscles involved in lifting the leg. If all you want to know is which are the main muscles used to do the job, then they are: The Rectus Femoris The Iliacus The Iliopsoas
Pelvic tilt, and ‘Sucking & Tucking’
How do you get your pelvis to tilt? When trying to describe it, the concept of the ‘pelvic tilt’ works for some, for others the idea of ‘sucking & tucking’ is useful, and for other people, the exercise below, combined with ‘sucking & tucking’, might work even better. Try the following… Put the knuckles of one hand on the small of your back. By flexing your spine beneath your knuckles, see if you can push your knuckles backwards. [You can
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?
‘Open’ (Kai, pron. ‘Kigh’, as in ‘High‘) & ‘Close’ (He, pron. as in Her) is one of the keystones to the internal aspect of taiji.
Taiji can look beautiful without it, but the beauty is skin deep… and the taiji lacks power. Kai/He of the lower torso/abdomen involves physical effort, in the sense that you have to use your abdominal muscles; and to do it efficiently and effectively, you need to engage them more than most people seem to realise. The Mechanics
Those of you who d