Monday, February 7, 2011

More Pelvic Work: Journal Notes #25

Notes from my February 2005 Zhan Zhuang Training Journal. I train with The School of Cultivation and Practice which practices Wujifa zhan zhuang. (My current reflections are added in italics.)

These are notes from talking with my Rolfer:

* Began the first set of three advanced Rolfing sessions after about a year from when I finished the initial ten sessions.

* Observation, as he (the Rolfer) was working, he asked "What do you feel there?" My response was "Nothing". I think how sad is this culture and language that is so divorced from the body. Where's the language to express feelings of the body, not only emotional feelings but also somatic feelings? It seems there's a whole vocabulary missing...

* The way we hold ourselves, hold muscular tension, hold fascial adhesions becomes how we define ourselves, for example, this pattern of tension and adhesions is Mike. If we free the adhesions and release the tensions, then who we are also changes.

* If you can't feel your body, then what's the point of having a body?

These are notes from class and my own personal experience:

*Question: How do you get through or over barriers?
Answer: You can follow one of two methods: Love or Rules.

Love - Say I just love doing "x" and because I love it so much, I'm going to do it more and more.

Rules - Make a rule for yourself and then follow it and say "It is better to die than to break the rule." Adhere to the rule at all costs. This is the old Germanic way that so many of us live by and why so much fruit withers on the vine before harvest.
(My current zhan zhuang practice is somewhere between these two. I am curious and in the curiosity is a love. And on the other hand, I really don't look forward to the discomfort of "getting the burn" in my legs everyday and so the rule helps to keep me practicing. And in practicing, sometimes I discover a new feeling, which inspires me to practice more...)
*Question: Is it OK to practice stance while using a pelvic floor relaxation method?
Answer: If it helps reduce the clenching, then yes. The reason is to relax.

* I had the experience of practicing stance while using a pelvic floor relaxation method and was comfortable. Then, two people in the next room started arguing and quickly this method became very uncomfortable and then unbearable and I ended the training session. This was a good learning experience for me; I felt the muscles of the pelvic floor tighten in response to an emotional reaction. A very good lesson!

* Even though this pelvic floor relaxation method has reduced muscular tension, I still need to bring attention into the front of the lower pelvis to get that "ka-chunk" dropping feeling; the feeling of the whole lower pelvis swelling and expanding.

* Remember, all the points are components of a feeling. Get the feeling. Move from focusing on the components to what the components add up to.

* I'm noticing more and more how the body is connected. Clench the anus and the jaw tightens. Tighten the fist and the jaw and anus tighten.
(This is another example of the saying: When one part moves, all parts move.)
* Our body patterns first get stuck when we first learn to walk. We keep and "enhance" that pattern throughout life.

* The body resists change even though it knows that change is beneficial. This is the power of habit and culture.

* I attained a further level of relaxation practicing a pelvic floor relaxation method. The next day I fell ill with a 104 degree fever and chest infection.
(Sometimes there is a relation between releasing chronic tension and some observable manifestion and sometimes there is not. In any case, as I learned in class, it's probably best to say, "That's interesting." and continue the work of relaxing.)
Further reading:
Introductory article explaining this "Journal Notes" series: Zhan Zhuang Training Journal
Previous article in this series: The Zhan Zhuang Recipe: Journal Notes #24
Next article in this series: Mechanistic or Organic: Journal Notes #26

Make sure to visit and the Wujifa blog.
And stop by The School of Cultivation and Practice.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your openess and honesty. I wonder how many people are even aware of their "pelvic floor" as they move through daily life much less in their martial art practice. I remember hearing Dr Yang Jwing Ming talk about "The Trick Gate" or anus and him saying many Masters will not share these secrets with a student until many years have past and that they have tested the character and dedication. I have heard that with good practice and qi flow that spontaneous erections while practicing are a good sign as well. Thank you fir you open and honest feeling about this area of the pelvic floor in your wonderful blog. It will be because of people like you that the will be more openess and sharing of information when it come to martial arts training here in the west. Thank you once again.