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Training #3

Posted: Wed Jul 04, 2007 11:52 pm
by GPandit
[b]Sequential Training

Although any student could begin practicing from this point, I have purposely offered these lessons sequentially. This next posture takes the energy developed from the previous training (see: Intermediate Energy Training), and takes it one big step ahead. To review, the previous posture required the hands to relax at the sides of the legs (like a gunfighter in the Old West). In that posture, energy pulls up from the elbows and simultaneously goes down through the fingertips. That is sometimes called "contradictory force", and it trains the up/down force.

For this next posture and training, we will stand in a posture that will allow all six directions of force to be trained at the same time. That’s why I say it is a big step forward; and that’s why I say that first training the up/down force is very helpful. This next posture is one that you may have seen before, and is sometimes called "Holding The Moon" by some people.

The instructions for the stance are the same as before, but let me review:

--stand with legs shoulder distance apart
--body relaxed, face relaxed, smile

You will hold your arms up (around chest level is fine) as if you are embracing a large ball. Your palms will be facing toward you, as if you were holding or hugging this large ball. Don’t hold your hands too close together; your hands should be separate (6 to 20 inches apart"”or as they measure in China, about 3 of your own fists distance apart). Your fingers should be kept separated, as if you were holding cotton balls between each finger.

[size=12]Important tips:[/size]

Keep your shoulders relaxed
Keep your whole body relaxed, keep relaxing

Internal Aspect

Feel that you are hold a ball made of paper"”a big hollow paper ball. If you hold too tight, you crush it. If you don’t hold it well enough, it falls on the ground. If the wind were to blow, that ball would roll around in your arms, but not fall to the ground. This is very important, and represents the instructions that most people don’t know about, and many teachers do not seem to know or teach. I stated that this position trains all 6 directions of force/energy at the same time. This is because of the circular position of the hands (and whole body"”more on that later). Do not try to imagine 6 directions of force/energy"”only train according to the instructions. Just hold the ball and relax, relax, relax. Thereby allowing Nature to take care of the rest. Please practice in this manner, and find the results for yourself.

Training recommendations

Hold this posture a minimum of 15 minutes, but 20 to 30 minutes is much better. Just to keep you humble, let me tell you that when I visited my parents in Florida this past April, I taught my 89 year-old dad this exercise. He holds this position a minimum of 15 minutes a day. So, no excuse for us younger people, right? Remember to relax, smile and feel comfortable.

Posted: Sat Jul 21, 2007 9:27 am
by sri
This 15 minutes thing got me thinking so I have a few things to ask. I have taken, over the years, a few short Tai Chi courses from a German lady that comes over to Sweden for vacation. She is a friend of my husband. The things I do remember from it and practise sometimes are a few movements that she calls "Catching the straw hat", "Standing on the lotus", "The five elements" and then some sign that I don´t remember name to ( drawn it looks like a rectangle with one corner arched). They are fun and make me happy.

She has also introduced me (us) to a standing excersize she called "Hugging the tree", wich does sound much like the one of Embracing the Moon. In the begining I could not stand in that position very long, now I can do it longer, but certainly not very long. Her introduction to this position was very cool and I understood that it must be a very powerful excersize. It certainly did help me to have a easy birth (if someone is wandering about practicality of it).

Reading now trought your posts I taugth of the fact that I have much easier time with the moving exersizing than the still standing one. I have understood that body will get used to it, so I think I will get on practising it more often again, but what do I do with the mind? What should I do in my head while I am standing still? In the beginning I used to count breathing, but that made it feel veeeery long. Then I was chanting. I was also trying to keep concentrating on the energy flow, but that is not easy either. Do you have any advise for what do I do with my mind? 30 minutes of stillness sounds like eternity.

Thanks in advance



Posted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 2:13 am
by GPandit
Hi Sri,

Your question is a good one, and a clear indication that you have tried out the standing. Most people find it easier to practice the moving postures, e.g., taiji and the like. However, without a solid base of internal training, taiji will not be very effective, although it may be quite enjoyable. I hope you will enjoy both. The standing may seem like a bitter pill at first, but if you persevere you can experience many internal breakthroughs, and the emergence of intrinsic natural power.

No need to count breaths, and especially I don’t recommend chanting because you will need to be very physically present during this training. You mentioned that you "trying to keep concentrating on the energy flow""”this is also going in the wrong direction. Energy is natural and present, but concentrating and trying to feel it, will block it.

Because this standing training gives many things to pay attention to, the mind is very nicely taken care of. Focus on these things:

Natural breathing
Feel all body tissue very soft, open

And since you have tried and asked, here is another tip for you. After a while, you can try to feel as if you are holding a very large tree. Your arms hold the tree, the tree is pressed up against the front of you body, from head to toe. So, you will feel that you are holding the tree and the tree feels as if you are one unit. This is special training, the next step. If you train like this, you will be able to stand for much longer periods of time. And since you will be using your mind to feel these alignments, your mind will be well occupied.

Invariably you will continue to have questions during training. I hope that you will ask the questions, because they will benefit you and probably others as well.