Why Qigong Practitioners Don't Suffer From Backpain #2
How do you know that you are ready for the next qigong/chi kung lesson on eliminating backpain and maintaining a strong healthy back?
You know when you can assume the first position automatically whenever you sit down, and when your back spasms ease and you find that you experience less frequent pain due to back problems than before.
Then you are ready to assume correct posture standing up. Most people think that just by standing up straight, they are assuming the correct posture. Unfortunately, that is not so.
To assume the correct posture, you have to maintain a straight back with no undue pressure exerted on the spine, and be relaxed enough that the chi energy is flowing uninhibited. Most people, even those who maintain correct posture sitting down, do not maintain good back posture standing up.
In qigong/chi kung, there are two basic stances that teach correct posture standing up: the horse stance and the bow stance.
Qigong/chi kung stances are not like stances in other types of martial arts that stress physical workout. Qigong/chi kung is considered neigong or internal art, whereas martial arts like karate, and shaolin arts (often mistranslated in English as "kungfu") are waigong or external arts.
So if you are new to qigong/chi kung and you know external martial arts, do not assume that the qigong/chi kung horse stance is exactly the same as that in waigong arts. Generally the qigong/chi kung stance is much more narrow and significantly more relaxed.
That is why people who practice external martial arts may still experience back spasms and other varying degrees of pain, especially after an intense training session. On the other hand, qigong/chi kung practitioners very rarely experience any back problems because they practice correct back supporting postures at all times.
Here are the steps to the basic qigong/chi kung horse stance, one of many positions that will help to realign your vertebrae and build a strong healthy back:
- Place your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointing forward, weight equally distributed, your center of gravity below your belly.
- Bend your knees, while keeping your back straight and tailbone slightly tucked in. Visualize hanging from a strand of thread from the top of your head, the rest of your trunk sinking down, just as if you were about to sit down on an imaginary chair.
At this point, you should feel less pressure exerted against your spinal column and your backpain beginning to ease.
- There is an area that we call kua in Chinese, referring to your groin where hip and thighs form a crease. In qigong stances, you must always have your kua indented.
- Your legs should be relaxed. Not limp, but in such a way that the back of your thighs and buttocks will shake like jelly when you pat them.
How do you know if you are doing this right? The back of your buttocks and thighs wobble like jelly and you should feel your backpain easing almost immediately.
The qigong horse stance is not an easy position to assume if you are new to qigong/chi kung. One karate black belt student even told me it was much harder for him to practice 10 minutes of qigong/chi kung stance than it was to do two hours of physical workout in karate!
Not because the stances themselves are difficult, but because most people don't know how to relax standing up! Little wonder that some of the best martial arts students, even masters, can still experience backpain and other back problems due to poor posture.
If you still experience difficulty with this exercise — that is to say, your buttocks and the thighs are still very tight, or you are still experiencing backpain when you are practicing this exercise, try the next exercise that extends from the first qigong/chi kung lesson on the sitting position.
As a teenager, H. Wei Williams trained intensively in qigong/chi kung and tai chi chuan for health, self-defence and spiritual growth — several hours a day, 365 days a year! Her 30 years of extensive knowledge and teaching experience in martial arts, Chinese medicine, meditation, and yogic breathing is reflected in the wide range of topics offered on her website. Readers can visit Chi Kung Unlimited at http://www.chikung-unlimited.com to see how qigong/chi kung can best meet their individual needs.