Saturday, August 11, 2012

Somatic aspects to the second set of the Wujifa Zhan Zhuang structural alignment method

The Somatic aspects to the second set of the Wujifa Zhan Zhuang structural alignment method 1234, 1234. 
The First 1234, of course, is feet parallel and about shoulder-width apart (approx. 10 inches), knees over the feet , hips over the feet, shoulders over the hips.
The Second 1234 is inguinal crease (kua) in, lower back (Sacrum) down, chest (Sternum) down, and head up/back.
There are Somatic aspects to all of Wujifa, and here we will address the somatic aspect to the second set of the Wujifa Zhan Zhuang structural alignment method 1234, 1234, as it is related to the process of learning. Somatic simply means dealing with the mind, body, and emotions as a unified system, and there are whole fields of study dedicated to this subject.
When learning anything, one must first be nonresistant, amenable, and receptive. In other words, surrender to the information and corrections coming in. As one learns, one needs to develop confidence, courage, and strength to stand up to challenges as they begin to process and investigate and understand the lessons and information received. 
As we perceive the lessons and develop the courage and confidence, there’s a spirit, whole-heartedness and authenticity that inspires the progression and development of the practice. 
Finally, the level-headedness to think for oneself, to see the outcome and trust one’s intuition. These skills are fundamental to learning as well as in sparring or push hands: being able to receive the threat or attack, and having the courage to respond with authenticity that is both intuitive and level-headed.

Now we’ll break it down in the steps of the second set of 1234, 1234. Again, the second 1234 is inguinal crease (kua) in, lower back (Sacrum) down, chest (Sternum) down, and head up/back.
1. Inguinal crease (kua) in. A method for beginners to start to get the feeling of the inguinal crease folding in is by arching the lower back and sticking the butt out. This method creates a kinesthetic for what the inguinal crease in means, although one would not stand or practice in what can be seen as a submissive posture. When the pelvis is relaxed and the kua is in, this allows the body to respond to outward forces and allowing freedom of movement. Another way of describing this is being nonresistant, amenable and receptive. The Kua is all about surrendering to the information coming in so that the corrections can be made accordingly. Surrendering means to be receptive, and not rigid or stiff: to be able to have space to receive the possibilities that will allow more freedom of movement and discovery.
2. Lower Back (Sacrum) Down. The next step after inguinal crease (kua) in is to relax and allow the lower back to drop. Notice how the first step and allowing shows up in the second step, for letting the lower back to relax and drop. When the lower back is in a relaxed and dropped position, this helps build our foundation and development of what some people call “having a backbone”. The experience of having a backbone is a level of confidence, courage, and having the strength to stand up, as we said, to the challenges that we are investigating. Having a backbone also gives us strength to hold true to tough decisions.
3. Chest (sternum) down. While keeping the sacrum in a relaxed, dropped position and the spine in a straight, relaxed posture, the next step is to drop the chest without dropping or hunching from the lower back. As we've talked in other postings, this comes from "allowing" the rib heads to loosen, that gives space for the sternum to sink as the rib heads rotate. These areas on both sides of the chest are sometimes called the front and back door of the heart. Having an open heart continues through the exploration of courage and confidence to creating a spirit of whole-heartedness and authenticity that inspires responsiveness that only can come from this deeper place.
4. Head up/back. This is the next stage of this set of 1234 that builds upon the spirit and authenticity bringing a level head and a clear mind into play. With this one can follow one’s intention, and see clearly and intuitively in understanding the possible outcomes and their realization. This is where the art of Wujifa practice truly comes to full expression.
When all four processes are built upon each other, it creates the opportunity for individual expression. To get the set of 1234 in alignment takes time. There is the rare occasion that somebody just understands and opens up, both physically and mentally.  The truth is, for most people, opening the body will take some time, and the psychological habits will taken even more time and work. The reason it will take time for mental changes is that old habits die hard, and fight to exist. It takes due diligence, keen awareness and conscious attention to discover this growth unfolding.
The wonderful thing is neuroplasticity allows for us to grow and change and develop new patterns.  When one begins to discover the receptiveness, courage, authenticity, and intuitive awareness that develop alongside the physical practices of Wujifa as the body opens and connects, this mental synergy builds among these foundational skills, creating great opportunities in one’s expression and abilities.

Also check out: Zhan Zhuang Alignment 

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