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February 1, 2015 at 4:11 am #129220
I have been playing around with different widths between my feet, looking for the sweet spot, the spot that “gels” when the width is right, and the connection is made from the top of the head, to the perineum, to the feet, as Bruce describes in Disc1-03-“Standing and Sinking Qi”.
So far I haven’t found this spot and was wondering if others have trouble finding it for themselves. Any tips/suggestions are appreciated!
JeffFebruary 1, 2015 at 10:16 pm #134822
I am also having trouble finding the “sweet spot” and also connecting to the crown.February 3, 2015 at 10:43 pm #134823
The audio practice tracks go over the alignments, I found them helpful. Also I think we have to just do our best and keep refining over time.
Wishing you good practice!
February 4, 2015 at 2:27 am #134824
This is one of the things that are pretty darn hard to find by ourselves I think – if you have a teacher in your area, I very highly recommend having some sessions where they can give you feedback.
It can save you hours (or months in my case) of training with incorrect alignments.
My suggestion would be to check that your hips are tucked under enough and sitting down into the qwa to make that connection.
JoelFebruary 4, 2015 at 4:37 pm #134825
Well, I finally got around the part where you mentioned being stuck.
After improving the stance a bit on basis of what I saw and started letting the gravity do its tricks, I started feeling pretty nauseous and extremely tired, so I think it was the correct posture. You know, the nauseous/tired feeling was probably part of the purification process and, thus, natural and expected. Still, I reckon it’d be good to take it easier, since there’s likely a lot of crap in my system and there’s no hurry anywhere.
Anyway, about the stance I used.
First, feet parallel and about shoulder width (1), as shown in the clip.
The main mistake I noticed I had done for a long time was letting knees bend too much. This puts more strain on muscles and seems to be counterproductive.
As you can see from Bruce’s stance, the knees are only slightly bent (2). They should still be bent, since otherwise it would cause tension and block blood flow at knees. As far as I understand, locking the knees is a common reason for deteriorated knees among people.
Basically, I think you’d want your knees to be somewhere around half-way between the main pressure points of the feet and ankles (3); it seems Bruce uses the term “Bubbling Well” in his book (I can’t remember/find the other name out of the blue).
Anyway, I used to attempt to place my knees about on top of these points when I practiced a long time ago (to connect the points better), and this time it felt like it caused too much bending.
The width of the stance felt proper, since it felt stable and my hips were pretty much in the center (4). You can check whether you’re centered by feeling out how your weight is distributed on your feet. If the weight feels equal on both feet, you should be pretty much in the center (if you’re not tilting the waist area or doing something more exotic).
Now, next comes the waist/hips. I like to think about it as the cradle for the upper body (the skeletal structure looks a bit like one). The point here is that your ass is not your spine (5) (learned it somewhat recently when experimenting whilst walking to work). So don’t be fixated on your bottom when you’re thinking how to straighten your spine, since it’s normally in the middle.
You’ll want to align it such that the gravity (see Disc1-02) falls down to your perineum (6) (in the middle part between your legs, there’s a pressure point which is, more precisely, the target (as far as I understand)). There’s also slight bending when it comes to the upper and lower ends of the spine to ease the flow, but I’ll pass it for now. If you read carefully, it’s mentioned in Bruce’s book(s) and it’s related to a the pearl necklace visualization I’ll be mentioning soon.
Anyway, spine goes up and then you have the head and Bai Hua (pressure point at the top of the head). Here I’ve found the following (I guess well known) metaphor useful: as men/women, we’re in the between the heaven and earth (7); your head (bai hua) is aspiring to the heaven and your lower body (perineum) is sinking to the center of the earth. (The middle of your chest (another significant pressure point) is thus in the center as the “man”.)
The aim here is that your spine is like a pearl necklace (, with the space between each pearl/”part of spine” extending due to the head wanting to be a part of heaven and your lower body sinking to the depths of the earth. This extending of the spine means that blood and chi flows out of your system better, and as a bonus also relieves neural tension/stress in the nerves of your spine, which is good.
Well, then comes the part about keeping your tongue at the roof of your mouth and proper abdominal breathing (9), but I guess I’ll skip those for brevity here. Suffice to say, they are quite important in order to feel relaxed enough to really let it sink.
Finally, I’ll just mention about this one thing that has felt important to note. As mentioned in Tao Te Ching (if I remember the basic gist of it right), we are part of the nature (10).
This is a very important notion, since at least I and most people I know, treat themselves as individuals and separate from nature, or separate themselves via their work with computers and such.
However, in fact we’re very much connected to the air, land and so on around us. We are a part of the Earth and should attempt to sink to, connect to and feel the ground below us. The more we think of ourselves as independent individuals, the more we subconsciously oppose sinking and letting things go/accepting them, which feels to me as an important part of the whole concept of chi; interchanging energy with the surrounding world. Like Bruce said in one of the clips, feel free to try to stop breathing out (being connected to the environment), but it probably isn’t that healthy.
In other words, when training to sink (etc.), I feel it’s beneficial to consider/feel yourself as an integral part of the surrounding air and the ground below (10).
Anyway, I hope this rant helped you a bit with your attempts.
If you want to hear me rant more, feel free to ask, though I’m pretty sure Bruce will cover most of these things in due time and a lot better than this attempt I made here. Most likely even fix misunderstandings I’ve made over time.
– ViliFebruary 4, 2015 at 7:59 pm #134826
be patient… some days you will have an ‘aha’ moment and some days it feels like there is no ‘sweet spot’. eventually through consistent practice the ‘aha’ moments will add up to a long stream of knowing without any doubt that you are in the ‘sweet spot’…practice,practice, practice,…February 7, 2015 at 4:15 am #134828
It’s important to distinguish between
physicality and energy.
There’s the skin and bone of the crown of the head.
And there’s the energy that runs through that gate.
I bet Bruce will touch on this distinction further into the course.
I don’t mean to pretend like I’m an expert, but my experience with these forums is that the experts (like Bruce) never weigh in on any of these questions. Thus, us laymen are left to bat these issues amongst ourselves. So take my comments with a grain of salt.
Try out different things for yourself.
One week you’ll be sure you have the right answer.
Next week you’ll find a different answer.February 7, 2015 at 4:17 am #134827
I don’t worry about finding any “sweet spot.”
Google “Dan Kleiman.”
Dan is one of Bruce’s students. He put out a great series on Standing QiGong. However, Dan has left Brookline in Massachusetts and seems to be inactive now on the Internet.
I put a yoga block between my feet–6 inches.
Dan once said to turn one foot in so that the toes touch in inside of the other foot.
So don’t worry about findin your sweet spot.
Bruce has said that it’ll find you.February 7, 2015 at 4:57 am #134829
The taiji classics say,”The jing is rooted in the feet…”
So finding the sweet spot is very important.
Lately I’ve focused on “Jie Xi.”
Jie Xi is on the stomach meridian, ST-41 located on the superior surface of the ankle in a depression between tendons of the foot.
Bruce does not specify this point as an energy gate in his book, “Opening the Energy Gates of your Body.” (I recommend it for this course.). He identifies 3 gates on the sole of the foot: heel, arch and bubbling well, all very important. Other masters designate other points on the sole of the foot—4 at the corners, 3 nails (master William C.C Chen). Masters Jou, Yang, Bisio and Mark Cohen have other ideas. Jie Xi corresponds to Yang Chi, SJ-4, on the dorsum of the wrist. Jie Xi falls in front of Bruce’s heel point. Jie Xi unties the force of a mountain stream, here streams of yang sunshine bring fruits to ripeness.February 7, 2015 at 5:35 am #134830
1. A yoga block between your feet (6 inches)
2. Turn your right toes to touch the inside arch of your left foot
3. Jie Xi, ST-41 which is on the top of the foot and falls just in front of the heel on the sole of the foot.
The classics say that the energy is rooted in the feet.
Bruce has said that the spot will find you.February 7, 2015 at 10:23 pm #134831
Please excuse my repetitive comments–I was getting messages that processing of my comment had been interrupted–apparently it wasn’t.
On my point about acupuncture point ST-41, make sure you study Lesson 4, Disc 4. Bruce explains why the spaces just in front of the ankle must be soft. He shows the 2 spaces outside the tendons there (extensor hallucis longus and extensor digitorum longus-flex your toes to define these).
Jie Xi is right between those 2 points. It, too, must be kept soft.
I think that “The Central Channel” (the sweet spot) runs through all 3 of those points. (Funny that “The Central Channel” is no longer in the Centre of the body, but runs down the center of the leg bones.)
Robert Tangora, another student of Bruce’s, had another teacher, Master Wang Hao Da, who posited a “third leg” of the Zhong Ding (Central Channel). See his book, “The Internal Structure of Cloud Hands.”
I hope no one said any of this is simple.February 16, 2015 at 10:40 pm #134832
I have been only doing the part of the standing that is on the first disk..at lest until things stabilize. What I have noticed is that I’ll get sensations along the inner part of my legs (up inner thighs) and up towards my third eye. I don’t seem to feel the connection from the 3rd eye to the crown, so I aim going to assume that my third eye is blocked because I can’t feel much above that. I can almost stand for the entire length of the standing segment on the first disc. I have about 4 minutes to go. I think I have felt the “dropping” but am not entirely sure yet. I do start to get quite warm at this point. Shortly after I start feeling this I pretty much have to stop as the standing gets way more difficult to remain upright.
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