Walking the Circle Series: Lesson 1
Anyone who is dedicated to internal energy arts training is always looking for ways to get in a little extra practice in a day. Addicts like myself look for ways to practice in their normal activities—imbuing them with internal content. Normal, heel-toe walking is one of my favourites!
Photo © iStockphoto.com/YanC
How to Walk the Circle: Start with a Sung Body
The first point is to keep the spine erect and the rest of your body sung. Sung translates as “relaxed” or “released,” but a better way to think of it is “unbound”. That which is unbound will naturally drop to gravity (at least while you’re on planet earth). So begin with a little standing to generate a rising in the spine and release and relax your nerves, which will cause your body to sink.
The Heel Is a Pressure Switch
From here, very slowly shift your weight and pick up one leg. Place the heel on the ground in front of you as if you’re taking a normal step, but don’t immediately put weight into the leg.
The heel is a pressure switch that initiates a downward flow of chi in your body. Use this naturally occurring phenomenon to increase the sense of sung in your body as you slowly put your weight into the heel of your front leg.
Practice slow walking, accentuating the downward flow and release of the nerves each time you put your weight into the front leg through the heel. Adhere to all the basic postural alignments from standing qi gong (see my blog on good posture).
Caution: Rising Qi Energy Ahead
Putting pressure on the ball of your foot initiates an increase in the rising qi energy of the body. The trick here is to use the rising energy to pick up the back leg without interrupting the descending current. Bringing up too much qi energy can cause it to get stuck in the upper body, especially the head, and increase stress and tension. This is NOT what you want to do.
Walk Normally with Internal Content
Now walk as you would normally with a heel-toe-heel-toe succession and as you do, focus on the heel and the descending energy. Release any tension—create a sung body. Use the pressure on the ball of your foot to keep the spine erect and to pick up the back leg.
Once you grasp the feeling and can release while walking slowly, gradually increase your speed until you reach your normal walking speed. Don’t go into speed walking yet because you need to stabilise internal techniques before you move too fast.