Qigong Meditation: 5 Ways to Improve Posture

Before you attempt to change your postural habits, it's very important to become familiar with what they actually are. This may sound obvious, but most people try to change things too quickly and then fail to get the results they want.

First, notice how you're currently sitting. Don't change anything. Notice if your body is upright or leaning. Are your legs crossed? Whereabouts on the surface of your body do you feel most of your weight resting? How are you breathing? Through your nose or your mouth? Deeply or shallowly? Quickly or slowly?

Only when you've thoroughly scanned and noted how your body is presently arranged will you be ready to make the necessary changes. If you haven't already done so, choose a chair that you can sit in with both feet flat and thighs parallel to the floor and to each other. The seat should not be too soft. You'll see why in a moment.

Feet flat on the floor

Have your knees the same distance apart as the width of the hips. Place the feet so that your lower legs are vertical and parallel with your heels beneath your knees. Make sure that your feet and toes are relaxed with weight spread evenly throughout each foot.

Pelvis level

Now notice your sitting-bones. These are the two bones at the bottom of your pelvis which you should be able to feel in your bottom when you sit on a firm or hard surface. Is the weight evenly distributed or do you have more weight on the left or the right sitting-bone? Is your pelvis tilted forward or backward? Try rocking your sitting-bones very slowly and gently forward and back repeatedly, making ever smaller rocking movements until you feel that they are balanced in a central, upright arrangement with the weight evenly distributed right and left.

Lower back vertical

With the pelvis level, notice how your spine is arranged. Move your shoulders very gently back and forth without changing the position of your sitting-bones. Through an ever smaller forward/backward adjustment you will be able to find the most balanced position of your lower spine.

Loosen shoulders

The easiest way to relax your shoulders is to begin by tensing and pushing them up toward your ears, then dropping them loosely downward. Do this two or three times and then let the shoulders settle down completely relaxed. It helps if your hands are either resting on your knees (rather like the ancient Egyptian statues of seated figures), or with the palms facing upward, one cupping the other and resting against the lower abdomen beneath the navel. Keep a little space under each armpit.

Head suspension

The idea is to loosen and lengthen the back of the neck while ever so slightly tucking in the chin. Some people find it helpful to imagine that the spot on the top of the head where the hair normally whorls around is suspended from directly above by a string. This is not the central point on top of the head but slightly further back. As you imagine this you may will feel that your chin naturally tucks in ever so slightly, and that the back of your neck feels longer.

To help you to retain the state of equipoise that you have been establishing, it's helpful to begin with your eyes open but unfocused. Have your eye-line level with the horizon, either real or imagined. Now listen to the sounds of your immediate environment, including any - even the smallest - sounds that come from behind you. You need not feel distracted by whatever you hear. While you listen your inner dialogue will stop, at least for a while, and this is the beginning of successful meditation. 360 degree listening, or listening in all directions is an excellent way to stay awake, upright, alert, quiet and present in the now - all essential components of true meditation.

Finally, notice the feeling on the inside of your body that tells you you're alive. This is your life-force or qi (pronounced 'chee'). Can you recall the feeling of being alarmed by a sudden unexpected event or noise, and do you remember the feeling of energy rushing upward into your shoulders? This would be the qi moving upward as part of the 'fight or flight' response. Now, with a gentle sigh, release your breath together with any bodily tension and imagine your qi or life-force settling down into an area beneath your navel, just like tea-leaves settling in the bottom of the teapot.

This action is known as 'sinking the qi to the dantien'. A feeling of calm, balance and ease accompanies this action. Now continue to breath quietly through the nose, expanding and contracting the abdomen without disturbing the chest or raising the shoulders. Touch the tongue to the roof of the mouth just above the front teeth and keep it there, swallowing saliva from time to time to keep the throat moist. This is the beginning of qigong meditation.

Free instructional videos for simple qigong exercises can be viewed at http://www.Breath4Health.com/. Richard Coldman is a freelance filmmaker, musician and writer with a keen interest in alternative health and more than 30 years experience in Chinese martial arts and therapeutic exercise.

go to source

Leave a Reply