Wednesday, April 17, 2013
In Chi Running and Chi walking we talk about various things you can do to co-operate with the force of gravity and the force of the road coming at you, to make running and walking more energy efficient and less injury prone. There are various focuses that you can practice to work on elements to gradually make a shift in how you move.
One thing we talk about is Y’Chi (Yee Chee). This is the idea of focusing your attention at a target down the road and moving towards that target with all of your intention. You can imagine a beam of Chi between your eyes and that target and pretend that it is pulling you forward towards the target.
In Tai Chi Quan we say, Yi leads Chi, Chi leads to Shen. We focus our mind to direct our intrinsic energy, our focus; and the direction of our energy will nourish our Shen (spirit).
So when I run, and I run at night mostly, I focus on a point down the road, perhaps a silly 100 meter (distance is limited by the light), and then I allow all of me to move towards that point, when I arrive I simply find a new target and allow ALL of me to move towards that point. So I tend not to run very far. I just run 100 meter, perhaps 200 meters, never more than 500 meters. Anyone can do that, it is easy it is next to nothing.
In 12 months I covered over 3000 meters running, but I did it with a bunch of short easy 100, 200 meter runs.
We do not think there is a magical beam of Chi doing all the work. We actually know we are doing the moving, the Y’Chi is about focusing. It is about focusing your intension in a very doable way and then acting. Tai Chi Quan and Chi Running have you move with that intention from a balanced position and staying relaxed (sung). Sung may be thought of as loose, of using only the least amount of effort needed to accomplish your goal.
Every aspect of my Tai Chi Quan, my Qigong and my Chi Running and Walking are about forming intension and then acting from the core. Each of these practices has a physical component or sets of components, but they are primarily about focus, about placing you attention, your intension on an achievable goal and then acting.
Many other things in life can benefit by this process, forming an intension and then directing your energy and spirit to achieve the next little step. You want to become rich. You can play the lottery; or you can focus on putting aside a part of every dollar you earn, 5 cents out of every single dollar and over time you will be surprised. You want a good relationship, you can focus on some small thing you can do easily for a single person each day. One little random act of kindness and before you know it they will come back to you.
This is applying Y’Chi to life. Find a target that is a little way towards a bigger goal and put all your intension on reaching that target. When you achieve that first little goal, then immediately select a new target that is still easily reachable but a bit closer to that bigger goal and focus your intension on that new target allow your energy and spirit to take you that silly little distance towards the new target and then select a new target.
It is a bit like sailing a boat into the wind. You must tack, you must arrive at your safe harbor through series of course correction, a bunch of little adjustments. Each tack informs you about the conditions and about adjustment and makes it easier to make better progress on the next pass.
Apr 23 2013
I think I failed to communicate one of the important aspects of this skill which is different than just breaking goals down into smaller steps; that is the idea of focus. Having this focus is very important to the idea of Y'Chi. You are not simply selecting a point a little way down the road you are focusing your attention, you energy, your mind and body on moving towards that point. Too often when we break large goals into small goals we also drop intensity, Y'Chi demands we increase the intensity. In my running analogy I say, "imagine there is a beam of Chi running between your eyes and the target point, and that it is pulling you towards the target." The idea here is to have your mind actively involved(to see the Chi, to feel the Chi), then to allow your body to move. As with all other aspects of this practice, Mind leads energy and energy feeds spirit.
This is one of the things that my Chi practices teach me again and again. “Focus your mind, engage your core, act."
There is no mystery to this, it is simple, a child can do it.
Focus you mind, engage your core, act