In every physical structure, its stability, balance, and internal system is based on a solid foundation. The foundation to its peak, every piece in-between support one another. The human body is one of the most complex physical structures in the universe. Thousands of miles of nerves, vessels, intestine, and essential organs are woven into this structure.
When the structure is tilted, bent, or sagging every element is compromised. Compensation causes wear and compression leads to stagnation on every system. Let me further state that Sifu David Chin taught me more posture and framework, how it related to energy flow, effected organ health, and generated power than graduate level classes of exercise science, anatomy and physiology, and sports performance.
Consider that if we can't achieve and maintain good posture in stillnes, we have little chance to achieve it in movement.
What is good posture? Where do we begin? I have heard and read that 'good posture is simple'. I disagree with such a statement. First we must have to know what constitutes good posture. We must become aware and repeatedly take an inventory of habits. Good posture is difficult to sense due to old habits, it is deceiving because the body will transition itself to those old habits, without the mind being consciously aware.
We work everyday with people who intellectually understand the framework of good posture and work daily to position themselves into good posture. Many experiences mild soreness because the tendons and ligaments are being stretched and strengthened to get into position. Many experience levels of frustration because it isn't simple to maintain good posture. However, once a student has taken 90 consecutive days to achieve and maintain good posture, they become very aware of when their posture is unbalanced.
Lets use myself as an example. As a young man, I spent 13 years in the athletes 'ready position'. As a college football linebacker the ready position was burned into my system. Changing this posture took years to retrain and I continue to have to be aware of stealth creep into old habits. For the first year, Sifu Chin would walk by while I was practicing in my standing meditation, slap me on the fanny (to brings hips under slights) and put his finger on my chin (the dreaded 'head up' posture).
With consistent work I was able to retrain my body and mind to move into good posture. It took much more training to understand what the old kungfu classics stated, "When a student has congestion in movement, 70% of the time, the problem is in the waist and below". The foundation of our framework represents 70% of our ability to comfortably move our energy and bodies, and we haven't lifted a finger yet.
During standing meditation, we see students go through a variety of 'torquing'. We see twisting, swaying, leaning, drifting, tilting and all the compensation that goes with it. The student will confidently and calmly feel they are in good posture, until it is pointed out.
We start every student in achieving good posture, in both stillness and motion such as tai chi. We start with the feet and go through:
- Body Alignment in space
- Joint opening and stacking
- The whole body as a single unit
- Then balance in each direction
- Relax excessive tension
- Relax the organs
- Learn how to do a 'Body Scan'
- Address individual issues, scars, injuries, and other physical concerns