Practice Whenever You Can

My training time has really taken a dive lately but an opportunity presented itself to me a couple of days ago. My son was having ‘one of those nights’ at bedtime. So, I came in and did a new game with him called ‘Big Boy Sleeping’. The gist is he would sleep by himself, get his own water, etc while I was in view. Additionally, if he got scared or needed reassurance, I told him to call out ‘Ba Ba’ and I would respond.

During his self soothing time, I could have easily sat on the couch in his bedroom and dazed out the window. Instead, I took this opportunity to squeeze in a bit of training. With all the fire fighting at work for the past couple of months, I decided I would do some zazen to center myself. I found a big cushion and placed it near the opposite corner of the bed from my son. I then sat down and focused on my breath. Counting my breath and thinking of the air flowing through my nostrils, I heard a call for ‘Ba Ba’. I responded, ‘Ba Ba is here’ and my son went back to self soothing.

After a period of time in zazen, I found it increasingly harder to maintain my posture. My back was beginning to slouch and I started tilting backwards. My hips still aren’t flexible enough to hold the zazen posture for very long. I decided to switch to some zhan zhuang.

My son heard the rustling as I stood up. ‘Ba Ba is just going to stand right here’, I told him. He responded with, “Don’t leave me alone Ba Ba.” My heart warmed as I heard his response, and I assured him I would not leave him. I got into the wuji zhan zhuang posture and easily called upon the inner smile. Standing, I was shocked to feel how much tension had gotten into my upper shoulders and mid back. ‘Melt the tension down’, I told myself, ‘Melt the tension down and release the energy into the ground’.

The tension in the mid back was the most peculiar as it was mostly a couple of muscles on the left side of my spine. Had I been slouching at work? Had I been leaning more to one side? Perhaps it’s the build up of carrying a laptop to and from work using a briefcase style bag. I may need to switch back to my backpack style laptop holder to equally distribute the weight across both shoulders.

I slowly raised my hands a bit to do the ’embrace the ball’, but at the dantien level. Wow.. the accumulated tension in my forearms and hands was crazy! Again, I told myself to melt away the tension and visualized a downward melting energy in my body. Noting the tension had not completely melted away, I lowered my hands down and remained in the wuji posture for the rest of the session.

Looking at the clock, about 40 mins had passed and my son was sound asleep. It was a good session 😉

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About wujimon

taiji, meditation and health
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7 Responses to Practice Whenever You Can

  1. puredoxyk says:

    Fantastic post. Thanks for the reminder to make time, and that not all practice requires lots of space!

  2. Rick Matz says:

    It’s funny how when you’re in the zone for ZZ, you feel like you can stand for 100 years, and time doesn’t seem to touch you.

    I try to make use of those odd moments. When I let the dog out at night, and I’m waiting for her to come back in. I practice stance, or some stepping or something.

    Just taking the wuji posture and holding it when you’re pumping your gas.

    My wife seems to think that a house is like the Golden Gate Bridge, in that it needs to constantly be painted. I happen to like using a roller on the end of a pole, and use my body to move the roller.

    With a little imagination, you can find countless little opportunities to train throughout the day. Just remember what you want.

  3. wujimon says:

    @PD:
    Thanks for the compliments 🙂 Another thing I like to do in a small space is either practice chen style silk reeling and/or doing the first 5 movements of the long form repeatedly forming a square 😉

    @Rick:
    Never done the wuji thing while pumping gas, however I was quite fond of doing wuji while waiting in line for the movies 🙂 Great point on being mindful of what we want 🙂

  4. taijiquestion says:

    Using taiji principles to make painting the house (under wifely orders) more tolerable… that’s sheer genius! I will probably have a chance to try this on my own very soon; wish me luck, and thanks Rick! Thanks also Wujimon for this very good post.

    I have often thought that a lot of the genesis of what we know as taiji began, yes with sages, generals, and other illustrious types, but also with the clever Chinese everyman who faced a lot of what we would call drudgery, and drew upon the ancient wisdom to find a better way of planting rice, moving stones, harvesting crops, repairing things, and retiring attackers!

  5. Rick Matz says:

    As I understand it, the source of the modern internal martial arts we know today were practiced in farming villages. The farmers worked physically very hard. They also had to train in martial arts to defend themselves from bandits.

  6. Taijiquan in Tampa says:

    My teacher managed a fast food joint at one point in his life. He used to be in the back cooking in horse stance for hours. It takes a real fanatic to take martial arts with them everywhere.

  7. wujimon says:

    ‘HIYA’, applying a reverse dantian rotation to flip some eggs on the stove 😉

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