[Path to Mastery 3/10/10 – Wk26 D3 (Str 9.12.09)(Ph2 11.15.09)]
Continuing our Tai-Chi Journey:
Once you take care of your head and tailbone, you take care of your chest and back.
The principle today is called ‘Contain Chest Raise Back’. When the empty spirit is strong in the summit of your head, the crown, then the neck lengthens followed by the rest of the spine. When that happens, your collar bone rises and your chest lengthens. Now, as the spine lengthens, your back becomes expansive. When you back expands, and your collar bone rises, your chest relaxes and recedes. This explanation may not be clear just from reading it, but when it happens you will know exactly what I am talking about.
Now here is the mental imagery that will help you get this principle in case you had trouble with the explanation above.
1. Imagine that your crown is being pulled up by a golden string.
2. As your head is pulled up by the string, and you feel your neck lengthen, you should feel your chin being pulled in. In case you don’t feel this, your neck is too tight. Relax, and tuck in your chin.
3. As your head rises and your chin tucks in, imagine that your back is up against a wall, and your spine is becoming so straight that the head shifts back so it is touching the wall. The key here is that as your head shifts back to touch the wall, you are very likely to raise your chin. Be sure to avoid this. Check yourself against a reflection to make sure you are not raising your chin as your head shifts back.
4. Then imagine that the crown of the head aligns with the center of your body all the way to your Hui-yin (perineum). When the head shifts back, it sits directly in line with the spine and the pelvis. This allows for your back and shoulder muscles to relax since the muscles no longer need to work in order to pull your head up from falling.
5. Now imagine that your shoulder blades are drifting apart from each other. If you look in a mirror, you should see your shoulder blade edges disappear and your back becoming an expansive roundish surface. You should kind of feel as if your back is that of a turtle shell. When this happens, your collar bone will feel as if it lengthens, and as your collar bones lengthen, you will feel your chest relax, and the relaxation sinking to the lower abdomen (This is called Chi Sinks to Dan-Tien, however the specifics will be covered later in the lower body principles). As the back expands, the chest, which consists of ribs, have enough space to just hang naturally from the spine, while the shoulders have drifted apart to either side enough to create more space in between. This creates a feeling as if everything is just hanging from the spine.
If you have been paying attention, you would have noticed that both ‘Tailbone Centered and Upright’ and ‘Contain Chest Raise Back’ are really the same principles as ‘Empty Spirit Summit Strong’. This will be a reoccurring theme as you study Tai-Chi. You will notice that the principles are really just describing different aspects of the same thing. This is what is fascinating about Tai-Chi. Tai-Chi can become as detailed as you want, but can be as simple as to be described with just one principle. Hope you are curious as to the rest of the secrets that make up ‘Empty Spirit Summit Strong’!
To be continued tomorrow!
History of Tai-Chi Journey up to this point:
Before the blog opened to the public, we covered the single person part of the system.
1. Chi-Gong (Taoist Longevity, White Crane Chi-Gong)
2. Standing Meditation
3. Stepping Meditation
4. 7 Basics
5. Basic Form
6. 30 Form
7. 108 Form
Interactive training after we went public with the blog.
1. 8 Type Pushing Hands (Covered from 2/2 ~ 2/11)
2. San-Shou (Covered from 2/12 ~ 2/15)
3. Ba-Gua.(Covering from 2/16 ~ 2/19)
4. Weapons (Covered on 2/23)
5. Healing System (Covered on 2/24)
6. Introduction (Covered 2/25)
7. Free moving – conditioning (Covered 2/26)
8. Free hand pushing hand (Covered 3/1)
9. Free hand (2 person drills and multiple person drills) (Covered 3/2)
10. Free hand weapon (2 person drills and multiple person drills) (Covered 3/3)
1. Principles (Covered 3/4)
2. Principle of Principles (Covered 3/5)
3. Principles of Upper Body (Start on 3/8)
1) ‘Empty Spirit Summit Strong’ (Covered on 3/8)
2) ‘Tailbone Centered and Upright’ (Covered on 3/9)
3) ‘Contain Chest Raise Back’ (Covered today)