(This post is a continuation of a blog Fundamental Stances – Part One)
The persistent practice that pays off later
Beginners are usually bored to practice fundamental stances. They would like to learn movements and techniques that are looking good and are dynamic and interesting. They don’t understand that what they are observing is the result of long work based on solid foundations. As stances are foundations it is worth to take our time and study them carefully, but above all practice them. It pays off in later Qigong or martial arts training and also in daily life.
Proceed gradually toward a goal
I think that today are rare masters who would require from their students to stand in one posture for hours. But we can set ourselves a goal to gradually succeed to stand relaxed in a stance for 20 minutes. We start with just few minutes and we gradually, through weeks, months, increase that time.
After we have practiced a certain stance, for example Horse Stance (Ma Bu), for some time, we have probably reached a pretty good level of relaxation – of body and breathing. At that point we may notice that “simple” standing and breathing make us unbelievable relaxed and can also increase our level of energy.
New posture becomes a habit
Especially at the beginning it is essential that we practice stances as many times as possible also in everyday life. Even for few seconds or minutes. Remember that we want to replace our bad unconscious postural pattern and this can be done just by repeating and repeating the new one.
I remember that I was practicing stances while I was waiting for a bus, washing the dishes, talking with somebody etc. (And I had a great fun!) In this way we start to consciously change our incorrect posture by using habits that are more useful to us. Step by step.
As I have already mentioned in previous blog, practicing stances helps us to become very stable, rooted and centered. After longer time of practice we can notice also “side effects” of changing our posture: reduced or completely vanished pains in area of shoulders, neck, lower back, knees… and also our mood is often improved.
The way to our inner body awareness
Through practice and time we are progressing from, let’s say, “rough” body alignments, where we consciously correct positions of the body, to the superfine inner alignments. In the first phase we become aware more frequently when our posture is not correct. We notice for example that our chest is compressed by the shoulders, that our knees are extended too much or that we are pushing our pelvis too forward or too backward… We are aware about tensions that these incorrect positions of the body create as we can compare them with body feelings when our posture is more aligned. Later we will be able to perceive smaller, more subtle tensions, more inside our body, tissues, organs. And improvements of alignment will happen spontaneously and will become very subtle, inner, invisible from outside.
Another good side of this practice is that we are never bored. Listening to stories that our body is telling us is immensely fascinating and interesting. At least for me.
May the Qi be with you!
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