Body-alignment-chi-development

Body-alignment-chi-development-Exercise with proper body alignment is included in one of the 8 fundamental pillars of healing in the Traditional Taoist Chinese Medicine model. Chi Kung, Nei Kung, Tai Chi Chuan and cultivation of energy in sensual/sexual practices were created to tune the body in order to maximize the flow of Chi. Why? Because, when health is vital, life is lived with happiness.

Health from the Taoist perspective meant equipping the body mind spirit with tools to adapt to the adverse influences of life. These ever-changing life circumstances were always described by the complementary and inseparable opposite polarities named Yin and Yang. From this perspective, like two sides of a coin, one is best served by taking into account the polarities in any situation. All exercises circulate Chi . Some tighten the body, others make our physical  structure more flexible. Some breathing methods are cooling some warming. A seemingly fast exercise might be classified as Yang while the overall effect of that exercise may create exhaustion(Yin) . Slow moving exercises like Tai Chi  Chuan may seem Yin but their overall effect is to create deeply rooted stamina and smoothness that lead to great speed in a martial arts application(yang). Each person is best served when he/she finds the unique balance of any lifestyle activity that creates a harmony suited to his/her the evolution of Body Mind Spirit. An important practice in our continual healthy evolution is to challenge ourselves. Laziness is a  doorway to degeneration… and being too hard on ourselves to improve is equally  detrimental (deter mental). BALANCE

BE the architect of your body-
the temple that houses your soul
BE the Tree of Life-
both flexible and persevering
that weathers the contrasts inherent to all seasons
BE a finely tuned instrument –
echoing your unique vibrant melody
through all ages

Conditioning the body to conduct the Chi necessary to power our journey takes discipline. In today’s fast pace world, exercise often takes a backseat to other seemingly more important(?) activities. While altering our priorities is very important, there are some fundamental body positioning practices that when adhered to, can make many daily activities like Standing,Walking, Sitting, Climbing Stairs and even going to the toilet into a very efficient daily workout that will enhance health and quality of life.

Body Alignment :

 Standing
Standing in a way that is relaxed and maintains an alignment of the body where Chi flow is maximized is an essential first step to optimizing health

A ) Suspend Head- refers to a simple standing posture that assures the optimal circulation of Chi while minimizing any wear that comes from bearing the weight of the body.

Sey Chi suspend head Body alignment

Seymour helping student to suspend head

Side view portrait of a businessman in glasses with blue folder over white background

Full length portrait of a happy male doctor standing with clipboard isolated on a white background

Position the head as if being pulled up by a string from the highest point on the head. The chin is tucked slightly downward.

This lengthens the neck and creates space between the cervical vertebrae. Eyes are directed slightly downward past the bridge of the nose at about a 45 degree angle.
Tongue is resting on the roof of the mouth.Mouth is closed.
Shoulders are relaxed  loosely hanging-this posture is similar to picking up a shirt from the collar. Everything below the neck drops in a relaxed fashion. Legs are straight without locking the knees. Knees are angled outward slightly to put the body weight slightly towards the outside of the foot. This keeps the weight supported by the most stable part of the foot-the outside. In contrast to putting weight on the arches. Head goes to heaven and feet go to the earth allowing us to maintain a suspended between Heaven and Earth, light and solidly connected to the earth position. When this position is done correctly, one will fee and grounded and light at the same time and the breath will more easily stimulate the diaphragm making the belly rise and fall on the inhale and exhale respectively.

Side view portrait of a man shouting through megaphoneAbove, is an example of a man standing with an overly arched lower back which that compromises the Lower Back, Kidneys and Intestines. The toes out also risks misalignment of the knees which will be discussed later.

Body Alignment

Walking: When walking it is important keep the standing posture as mentioned above. Take small steps leading with  the Tan Tien 1-2 inches below the navel . Providing the head is suspended moving from the lower abdomen as if if someone is pushing you  or pulling you forward will make walking completely effortless. Your feet will follow instead  leading you.

Side view portrait of a businessman in glasses with blue folder over white background

Body Alignment-
Sitting

When sitting all the above principles are adhered to. There is one important difference. When sitting there is no arch or curve in the lower back/ Lumbar vertebrae area.  When standing is natural to have a slight curve in the lower back. This curve naturally puts some strain on the lower back and that is why we are drawn to sit or lie down after long periods of standing.

sitting gal_edited-1 ChairProfile2_edited-1

body alignment

Note the slight arch in Lower back. This will compromise Lower Back , Kidneys and also Large Intestine

Body Alignment

A natural  sitting position also occurs any time we bend our legs to crouch. Whenever we bend our knees it is essential to assume the “Tucked in”  position of the pelvis.

toddler-squatElephants

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a very natural posture assumed by all children and animals that for some reason has been commonly forgotten especially in weightlifting.

Squat Arch Body alignment

When the lower back is arched (pelvis NOT tucked under) when bending the knees, this harms the organs and tissues of the lumbar area. Tightening the buttocks or abdomen muscles will help to alleviate the strain for some for awhile. Eventually only harm will come to the body in this position.

Attractive young woman athlete doing squats with dumbbells in gym

Yoga also has many arced back positions that ultimately compromise the lower back and all the internal organs that are fed by the nerves located in the area of the Lumbar vertebrae

Cobra archThese “seemingly” healthy positions oppose the natural tendency of the body to protect the lower back instead of  harm it. As an occasional stretch these postures my be okay for some. Over any extended time without balancing them with tucked in pelvic positions creates more harm than benefit.
upside down

The naturally efficient tucked in pelvis position is common in skiers, snowboarders skaters and almost any proficient athlete who bends their knees. These sports help the Kidney Chi and support lower back health.

Body Alignment

Tucked

young athlete man have fun during skiing sport on hi mountain slopes at winter seasson and sunny day

speed skating sport with young athletes

speed skating sport with athletes in CHI enhanced tucked pelvis position

speed skating sport with young athletes

Similar to the sports above, Chi Kung exercise below called the “Frog”,  strengthens the lower back by tucking the pelvis and putting weight on the legs.

body alignment

Frog assists lower back Kidney jing chi

Yoga “Child” position below helps the lower back chi especially after Yoga arched back positions.

Body Alignment

Child pose helps lower back Chi

Bending on chair_edited-2

The bending sitting posture above helps the lower back chi. More benefit will come when connecting the posture to the legs as described in the frog below.

Frog sep_edited-1

Chi/ Nei Kung the frog

I recommend doing the frog for one minute daily. No time to exercise? Everybody has a minute. Many of my my colleagues and clients do the frog before they sit on the toilet. If you go to the toilet daily, you have the perfect opportunity to exercise for one minute. It will get everything moving efficiently, cultivate and circulate a lot of Chi. This weight bearing exercise strengthens bones and  builds and circulates “Jing essence Chi”. Done daily it will benefit or completely relieve any lower back malady.

Frog sep
Frog sepFrog sepFROG: Balances and enhance the “Jing” essence energy stored below the navel in the “kidney”/Tan Tien” energy Center. The “Jing” is the foundation for all body structures and change. Eventually the Jing will build and overflow to any part of the body that requires healing. and/or regeneration.

Keeping the knees out aligned over the 2nd and 3rd toes, feeling the weight slightly towards the outside of the feet, heels flat on the ground, bend  your upper torso from below the navel with pelvis tucked to take the arch out of the lower back.
Keep your hands off or slightly touching the ground. If you feel knee pain, stop. Realign your knee position so the outside of the foot carries the weight, tuck your pelvis or bend the knees less maintaining the posture at a higher level until the tendons that keep the knees in alignment have strengthened. Bend the knees at a maximum of 90 degrees to assure the weight of the body is felt in the thighs. One minute of the frog is probably the healthiest way to use a minute of your time. Eventually you can work up to 2-5 minutes. Take your time. One minute is great.

body-alignment-chi-development

NOTE: In the tucked pelvis positions, we lean forward from below the navel NOT from the solar plexus. Bending  forward from the solar plexus creates what is called thoracic vertebrae kyphosis. This posture puts pressure on the organs under the solar plexus. Liver, Gallbladder on the right, Pancreas through the mid to left side as well as the spleen on the left side. The kidneys and adrenal glands  on both right and left sides are also compressed in this position.

body alignment

Slouched solar plexus compromises chi of adrenals, kidney , liver pancreas and spleen

posture-check

riding-w-horse_edited-2

Riding the Wild Hore Chi/Nei Kung

This bent solar plexus position compromises the functions of the Liver, Gallbladder, Pancreas, Stomach,  Spleen, Kidneys and Adrenal glands all located under the rib cage. 
Slouched-sitting-posture 1

body-alignment-chi-development

In the above posture called Riding the Wild Horse, the torso is bent forward from below the navel and the chest is rounded without bending from the solar plexus. Knees out to get the weight on the outside of the feet. Pelvis is tilted / tucked under and head is suspended to make sure there is no bending at the solar plexus.  Note: When leaning forward the shoulders are in a close line to the knees. This keeps the heels flat supporting the  lower back an the weight of the upper body with the weight being felt in the thighs and on ground.

Here is a related exercise you can do at the office. This tucked pelvis squat is a variation of the Nei Kung (Internal Training) exercise “Ride the Wild Horse “where we squat as far as we can to the floor while maintaining the alignment principles: Suspend Head, Tuck Pelvis, Knees out, toes in and weight slightly on the outside of the feet with heels flat on the ground (to avoid weight on  the knee).

body-alignment-chi-development

squat 2a
riding w horse

Moving  up and down  like this is also the correct way to lift-with our legs (not our backs or arms).

From lifting to gardening, squatting correctly is another every day exercise that when done correctly will enhance our health.

 

body-alignment-chi-development

Knee Position. When the knee is extended over the toes or towards the inside of the foot, eventual knee pain will occur.
Snake Creeps Down
crouching girl knees_edited-1knees wrong_1 copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

body-alignment-chi-development

Twisting:

Sitting photos courtesy of skimble.com. Make sure there is a space between your back and the back of the chair and that there is no arch in your lumbar area. i.e  The back, from your sacrum to mid back is completely flat.  Twisting the UPPER torso both ways while keeping the hips stationary exercises/twists the lumbar vertebrae enhancing circulation and creating strength and flexibility in this very important lower back body area.

Twist 1

Twists 2twist3

body-alignment-chi-development

For greater Chi development and circulation, the twist can be done in a standing tucked Pelvis posture called Horse stance:

Horse

Leaning forward from below the navel (never bend forward from solar plexus) allows breath to move more easily through the diagram to expand the  belly on the inhale and collapse on the exhale. Keep the chest slightly rounded to maintain a solid wall like back

Horse 3 body alignment

Horse stance -Chi / Nei Kung

body-alignment-chi-development

Chi Twisting

with twisting the Upper torso- hips are stable facing forward.

 

 

body-alignment-chi-development

Chi Twisting left

body-alignment-chi-development with Seymour

 

Another great exercise is the  Bent leg squat below.

Bent Tuck Breathing

Gall Bladder Meridian Chi

body-alignment-chi-development

Chi enhancement when sitting

 

body-alignment-chi-development
The bent leg squat stretches the Gallbladder meridian(I.T.band, piriformis muscle) through the side of the leg and through the gluteus  muscles freeing energy and blood flow to circulate to the lower back. (Also helpful for sciatica). Make sure the pelvis is tucked. Below the woman has an arched back.
Bent leg arch back_edited-1This posture can also be done  while leaning forward on the edge of a chair

body-alignment-chi-development

Balance: Balance is important for general  physical health, coordination of brain hemispheres and healthy cerebral regeneration and development. The following exercise- “Golden Rooster stands on one leg ” will also develop Jing and Chi development.. Doing this exercise correctly will also prepare you for climbing stairs -one of the best exercises for stamina, life longevity and balancing Spleen(earth) and Kidney (Water) energies

body-alignment-chi-development

Golden Rooster – Tai Chi

I like to combine this posture with the bent leg position.

body-alignment-chi-development

body-alignment-chi-development

body-alignment-chi-development

Chi Development walking stairs

Climbing stairs
Yes, climbing stairs when done correctly is one of the greatest exercises for stamina,  respiratory  cardiovascular and overall health. When the knees are aligned over the 2nd and 3 rd toes, weight is slightly to the outside of the feet, pelvis tucked with the arch in the lumbar vertebrae flattened so it is  in a straight line with the middle and upper back, the body will become very strong.   I suggest building up to take two or three stairs at one time. Done daily, years of quality living will be added to your life.

body-alignment-chi-development

Breathing while climbing is best done and safest when we climb stairs without running out of breath. Go slowly to build stamina to get to this point. Remember the article on breathing- long, deep, smooth and small. The traditional Chinese approach to building stamina is to instead of increasing the heart rate, is to keep the heart calm even when exerting  great force and strength with the body.
body-alignment-chi-development

body-alignment-chi-development

While a daily exercise routine is highly important to improving our health, as pointed out above there are many daily activities that can keep us in shape. By being fit,  the ups and downs of life are far easier to balance because our “Chi” is constantly flowing. “Life is like riding a bicycle-to stay balanced we have to keep on moving”- Albert Einstein
Health is the ultimate Wealth.

Review- AT LEAST, combine deep diaphragm breathing (long, deep, small & smooth) with alignment principles to Stand, Sit Walk, Climb stairs( instead the elevator or escalator ) and yes, do the frog when you go to the toilet. Certainly take up a daily balanced exercise program. Your inner being knows how important this is. Honor your self -You are worth it.

Master, I am puzzled by my value as a man and especially as a person who will one day inspire others on their path to health and happiness?
Others tell me how great my Kung Fu is yet I remain critical and unworthy
Disciple, what is it you most value in Life?
I value Honesty, Discipline and the ability to stay calm amidst the ever changing tides of unrest in the world. I also value Kindness.
Listen within and answer…Are you always honest? Do you always practice Discipline? Are you always Calm?
 The space, the gap …the chasm between what you value and how you perceive and judge yourself are the source of your unworthiness
The frustration, confusion or sadness you feel on the path to personal authenticity is the exact fuel necessary for you follow your personal path more closely
In climbing the steep mountain of the self,
 be Patient, Persevere and Persist one step at a time
And Remember:
The KINDNESS you value so much comes by extending it to yourself first.

body-alignment-chi-development

Health is the bridge that connects the shores of our continually evolving journey of consciousness development. Each person’s evolutionary motion is like a stone dropped into the waters, rippling influence to others and ultimately the shared evolution of all life everywhere.
water_drop_splash_ body alignment

When a fear is strong it lives within and like any being it seeks to survive
Shall the fear grow and weaken the light within or remain as a source of stagnation?
How can we comfortably nourish our soul that lives between the shadow and the light?
Embrace the shadow through feeling and circulating the Chi of our feelings
Inquire and make decisions of integrity
and most importantly forge the Chi through Long, Deep, Small Smooth breath, sleep, exercise and food
Roots grow through the harmony of relationships-
sun, darkness, air, water earth and rocks, cold, hot, dry or moist-
deeper and deeper nourishing great strength in the growing tree
Be the vessel that receives and expresses the infinite energy of the universe.
How?
A swimmer surrounded by the ocean breathes and maintains her self

body-alignment-chi-development

 International School Of Healing Arts, is a spiritually based interfaith 501c3 non-profit public benefit organization located in both San Diego, CA USA and Prague Czech Republic. ISOHA presents the work of it’s founder, Seymour Koblin.
Since 1981 Seymour has been an international educator traveling to numerous countries Inspiring the Path of Holistic Health.
Since 1989, Seymour has also participated in founding several schools that are either using or have at one time used his original San Diego, CA name- “school of healing arts”.
In 2014 the 30 year established San Diego state approved “school of healing arts” changed it’s name to International College Of Holistic Studies/ICOHS. Seymour was the founder of these healing schools and others.
Seymour departed from ICOHS in 2015 and formed a new spiritually based 501c3 non-profit organization called International School of Healing Arts based in San Diego, CA and Prague Czech Republic. The Idaho New Leaf,  Manchester-UK Kiev-Ukraine and Moscow– Russia schools also use “school of healing arts” in their name.
These schools and others are separate entities. They have no legal or educational tie to each other. Note: Owning a name that has such broad generic words in the title may lead to ambiguity for some especially on the internet in googleyahoobing or other search engines.
If you have any questions about any of these different schools that come up in searches please contact seymour@isoharts.com.
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