To elaborate on yesterday’s post on the Bagua Circle Walking methodology, I’ve got more on how to really get your blood (along with lymph, interstitial, synovial and cerebrospinal fluids) to circulate strongly. Since the fluids are responsible for delivering nutrients to and removing waste byproducts from the body, boosting their circulation is one of the key ways that the Tao energy arts like bagua, tai chi and hsing-i foster incredible health from the inside out.
Bagua is first and foremost about the feet and legs, so any good training starts with learning and developing Circle Walking stepping techniques. In the monastic bagua tradition that I teach (for health, fitness, stress relief and meditation), there are two kinds of stepping:
- Heel-toe walking
- Traditional mud walking
Regardless of which type you choose, you don’t want to bob up and down like you’re on a boat at sea.
The most common area that people hold stress and tension is undoubtedly the neck, shoulders and upper back. If you need some comic relief, just take a look at the way some people drive with their shoulders up around their ears while they hold on to the steering wheel for dear life!
However, it’s not only moments of intense, accute stress that causes this reaction, but all the micro-movements in reaction to minor inconveniences and setbacks while we stare at computer and television screens.
Poor posture and repetitive movement using improper body alignments have resulted in back, neck and shoulder pain that has become pandemic in the West. It’s not only affecting adults, but our youth as well. The symptoms are caused by prolonged sitting, usually starring at computer or television screens, and recurring micro-movements operating keywords, remote controls, clicks on the mouse and more. With each passing year, we are only becoming more reliant on technology, so although prevention is key, the solution (at least in part) must also include ways to expel tension and pain once it has become lodged in the body.
Check out my video with practices for a healthy spine, including an exercise you can try with a training partner to get accurate feedback!
Over the last two decades or so in the tai chi game, I’ve noticed that many practitioners have unrealistic expectations about what they can achieve in short timeframes. Many times, students seek to learn a form and gain a high level of skill within a period of a few months, which of course is impossible unless you’re a rare genius in mind-body-chi. The irony is that those who let go of these expectations are usually the students who advance more quickly and, more importantly, experience the deeper health and healing benefits for which tai chi is renowned.