Had my first session in a new training location yesterday during lunch and IT WAS GREAT! I had contacted the reverend of a nearby church inquiring if I could train in their backyard and received the OK. I was ecstatic! Walking to the backyard, I noticed a little tree enclosed area in the rear corner. It was so nice and peaceful with a good mix of shade and sun.
Upon arriving, I did a bit of standing meditation (zhan zhuang) to get myself centered. After which, I started off with the first section of the yang long form. It was a nice form to begin with and I was focusing on “trying to relax”, which sounds kind of funny b/c I was “working hard” to relax 🙂 I think I’ve fallen victim to the “cool guy” chen creep and I’ve focused too much time and energy on maintaining low postures. I’ve raised them up quite a bit and thighs are about 45 degrees instead of the 80-90 that I used to do in chen.
Has this helped? I think so. I focus more on the alignment of keeping my shoulders, knees, and foot in the same plane with the knee not extending past my instep. In addition, doing it such a way has made myself more aware of my stepping and that I was not *really* able to differentiate between full/empty when going low, but really trying to focus on the shift now.
In addition, without focusing too much on stance, I’m starting to notice other parts of my body more, especially my mid/upper back. I could really sense some tension build up in that area, probably due to all the increased computer work and less time training 🙂 In addition, I really felt some tension in my wrists/forearms. I’ve shifted things a bit and trying to maintain a “fair maiden’s palm” kind of alignment where my wrist is generally kept straight instead of bent.
This reminds me of something I read on the rationale for keeping the wrists straight. The idea is to allow the qi to get to the fingertips. It’s hard enough to get the qi there but even harder with the wrists bent. The example then went further to note testing this theory with a young baby/child. At a young age, the back of the hand can remain relaxed with the wrist bent but this is generally not so with older folk due to the tension and stresses gained over time. I tested this out on my son and it was RIGHT! I first felt the back of his hand in a relaxed state and it was quite soft. I then bent his wrist to form a 90 degree angle and it was still soft. For myself, soft when straight, but quite tense when bent! Hmm.. not sure if this is completely valid, but it’s definitely something to consider.