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Page 5 - Body Posture for Qigong Practitioners
THE THREE BOWS
A "bow" has stretching power and when practicing keeping the posture in a bow form is the basis for producing internal power. When there is force, one can have "positioning power" and thus the bow form is the key to practicing positioning power. In postures, there is the relationship of the arch shape of the full side and the force point of the empty side. The bow has a yin side as well as a yang side. With a reverse bow the internal power is lost. Therefore, the body must embrace the outside (yang) and support the inside (yin) to be able to produce stretching power. It cannot be the opposite. All parts of the body must be arched. Although there are many bow forms, there are three major ones: the body bow, thighs bow and upper arms bow.
1. The Body Bow
The "body bow" is formed by joining the head and the trunk of the body. The head and back are yang while the face and chest are yin. By suspending the crown of the head, making the spine straight, relaxing the waist and pulling in the buttocks, the back assumes as lightly tucked in arch shape. Paying attention to bringing in the lower chin, straightening the neck, tucking in the hips and relaxing the chest causes the back to embrace towards the inside, the chest to support the outside and the internal power of the neck and hips to be joined. Like a bow pulled tight with a string we can naturally produce the positional power of straightening and pulling up the trunk of the body and there being expansion in the relaxation.
2. The Upper Arms Bow
This is connecting the arms into a bow shape. No matter what the movement, it is always necessary to raise the back, drop the elbows and open out the wrists. The arms are brought in slightly as if embracing something like the back of a bow. The outer support force points of the wrists are joined together like the string of a bow and this forms the upper arms bow. The arms can then produce stretching internal power and this form has positional power to protect the entire body.
3. The Thighs Bow
This is joining the legs into a bow shape and mainly entails sitting with the body, rounding the crotch, opening the thighs and bringing the knees together (the knees face the tips of the feet). The two legs are like a bow with the string joining at the ankles. If there is the stretching internal power of the external support and the thighs bow is formed, then the lower body is stable and one naturally produces unwavering positional power.
The circle is the integral element of the body posture. When the body accords with the four principles and twenty-four requirements and the posture accomplishes the five pairs and three bows, one can produce the feeling of the whole body being round and full. The twenty-four requirements are those for each local point and the "five pairs" and "three bows" are the unification of opposites of the points and lines. However, the "one circle" embodies overall coordinated balance and the "circle" is not only the shape but the function of "positional power." The mind can be calm and the spirit clear when there is the positional power of the circle.The "circle" is a major secret for practicing body posture. If one is able to be conscious of the "circle" when practicing, then the body will be automatically corrected. If one truly comprehends the "circle", they will be able to enter the sublimity of the "empty spirit."
By T.K. Shih, © Qi: The Journal of Traditional Eastern Health & Fitness
T.K. Shih is a founding member of the Qigong Association of Beijing and is also one of its Honorary Directors, a title granted to only one hundred doctors in all of China. Since 1982, Master Shih has been living in the US with his wife, Dr. Deying Huang, also a well-known practitioner of Chinese Traditional Medicine, and his two daughters, Melanie and Wendy. Together they direct the Chinese Healing Arts Center in Danbury, CT and Kingston, NY, where Traditional Oriental Medicine treatments are offered on an individual basis, and classes are given in various forms of Qigong and Taijiquan, as well as the extremely popular Qi Healing Workshops.
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