Tuesday, April 28, 2015

An Rx for Progress?: Journal Notes #132

Notes from my March 2015 Zhan Zhuang Training Journal. I train with The School of Cultivation and Practice which practices Wujifa.

Note: When I journal my class notes, I summarize about three hours of class. When I write these blog entries, I re-organize and summarize a month of journal entries in an attempt to present something more or less coherent. As a result, I wind up presenting class events according to my understanding. And so you, the reader, should be aware that you are reading my interpretation of what I heard and experienced and this in many cases is radically different from the intended lesson.

This month I stepped out of my rigid little box (in which I believe I am relaxed) and followed-through on a suggestion of taking a little Xanax (an anti-anxiety medication). I took a half tab before each class this month as an experiment. The result that I and everyone else noticed was that I remained present for the entire three hour class. I did not (could not?) "space-out" or mentally disconnect" as I am prone to do. Remaining fully present during the kind of mind-body work we do has been one of my biggest challenges. The hope is that with this experience, I can recalibrate to a new understanding-feeling of "being present".

* Question: About mini-breathing squats.... when I fill my lower abdomen, I feel tension down the inside of my legs. What's going on here?
Answer: This is how you're explaining the feeling of pressure against tension. You need to relax. Also, you are moving your pelvis with your breathing which indicates that certain muscles are locked. Again, you need to relax more. Try this... Lay on your back on the floor with your butt against a chair with your calves resting on the chair; kind of like you're sitting in a chair but your laying on your back. Now, place your hands on your chest as a bio-feedback to ensure you do not move your chest. Lock you pelvis to the floor. Now breath with your lower belly.

Me: I can't do this.

Instructor: Practice here.

* The key points about mini-breathing squats are:
  • The purpose of mini-breathing squats is to connect the breathing to the inguinal crease.
  • The method is to coordinate belly breathing with leg movement.
  • The pre-requisite is the belly must move. (The belly is between the diaphragm and the pubic bone.)
  • Always maintain pressure/tumescence in the belly.
  • Movement is always synchronized.
* The first step is to develop isolated mind-body connection to individual muscles. Then later, there will be too many individual muscles to keep track of. At that point, then generalize to a new feeling.

* In the next class I demonstrated my mini-breathing squats. My instructor's observations are as follows:
  • You're still lifting with your chest. You should only be using your legs to push up your torso.
  • As you hit the top, your greater trochanters are pulling back.
With these observations, verbal cues, and after making corrections, I noticed a feeling of quiet in the pelvis. I wondered to myself, "How can I spread this quiet feeling to other areas?" I continued practicing for about one and a half hours in class. At one point, my instructor noted, "Now you're doing mini-breathing squats! How can you get more "quiet" through the pelvis? That's it..."


Further reading:
Introductory article explaining this "Journal Notes" series: Zhan Zhuang Training Journal
Previous article in this series: Stop Expecting the Feeling to Be Like Something: Journal Notes #131
Next article in this series: Tension Blocks Connection: Journal Notes #133

Make sure to visit Wujifa.com and the Wujifa blog.
And stop by The School of Cultivation and Practice

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