wu chi

Everybody Wu Chi Tonight!


Here in Pennsylvania, the almost unbearable heat finally broke this past weekend with a startling rainy cold front.

Talk about seasonal transitions!

I'm sure it will warm up again before we're fully committed to autumn, but for the moment, we've dug out the long sleeves, and tested the furnace in the old house we'll be spending our first winter in. (Works great! Phew!)

Speaking of seasonal transitions, in Traditional Chinese Medicine - the philosophy that underpins my (Gina's) bodywork practice - late summer, and particularly, the nine days before and after a seasonal change, is associated with the element of Earth.

Earth (or, doyo) represents the center, the home, the body. Where we go to feel stable when times they are a-changin' - or, more importantly, to where we can best direct our energies until the dust settles.

Self-care is most important (and probably the hardest) during times of change - even basic stuff: eating well, getting enough sleep, and moving the body.

Far be it from us to offer any simple solutions for what would be right for your life, other than, sometimes just choosing one healthy habit can be a good start, and even make a huge difference.

Here's one practice that you can start where you are:

In qigong (pronounced 'chee-kung' - a Chinese style of gentle exercise), we begin our routines with a posture called wu chi.

Wu chi loosely translates as 'no-action energy'. It's a relaxed, yet 'ready' posture, in which 'nothing is happening, but everything is happening'.

Outwardly, one appears still. Internally, there's a potential for activity - a readiness to move that is not in a state of tension per se, or contraction. (If you understand anything about 'muscle tonus' and innervation you'll know what I mean).

Bill and I once defined three parts of posture: grounding, centering and alignment.

Grounding, literally means, "firmly connected to a base".

When we stand in wu chi, we imagine roots, which begin, really, within the pelvis, continuing in the legs and delving deep and wide through the earth below our feet.

As we visualize* this root system, as well as an imaginary string gently lifting the top of the head up toward the heavens, we can cultivate a sense of stability, strength and presence within the body.

It's a highly effective and mindful posture to move from, as well as embody as we're dealing with whatever mayhem may be happening around us.

(*In qigong practice, visualization and imagination play a very important role in how they affect our fascia. More on that to come.)

Experience this beautiful, simple practice below!

We believe that the more technologically-plugged in we become, the more input comes through only two of our senses: sight and sound. As we reinforce our experience of the world through such limited doors, we risk becoming more reactionary, disconnected and well, ungrounded.

We invite you to try this wu chi posture - today, if possible. (It's one of September's Movement Challenges, by the way!)

It can take just three to five minutes... the hardest part is giving it your full attention, so, try to approach it without distractions at first. When you've practiced it for a bit, you can 'drop into it' in almost any situation.

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