The Dual Directions of Chi

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To anyone who is a yoga, qi gong, tai chi, or martial arts practitioner; to anyone who has attended at least one of my classes, workshops, or demonstrations; even if you haven’t done any of these things: read this post completely, then take a close look at this video. If you’ve already seen the video on my Facebook page, look again, but this time, look closely. Why?

I often talk about being grounded, the lower part of our body being strong like an anchor, holding us steady; the upper part light and lifted towards the heavens. To do this, one tool we sometimes use is to imagine our human body is like a tree, growing roots from our feet into the earth, spreading deep and wide, while our upper body becomes like the canopy of the tree, again spreading lightly, reaching upward.

The concept of sending our chi – our life force energy – down and up simultaneously is embodied in all these practices I mentioned above. But if you watch this video closely, you’ll see that this action is inherent in nature. Study the slow motion action at the beginning of the video; watch how the Clouded Leopard plants its paws firmly, then launches upwards and forward. You can sense the power that is coming from that strong base of the back legs and the levity of the front legs. The cat’s center of gravity is low and sturdy, yet the body is lithe. As this cat moves, you sense that it is always connected with its environment; whether it’s on a branch, the ground, or in the air, this cat is 100% there!

Photo: www.pbs.org

This combination of grounded fluidity is what I strive for in my own daily practice. I’ll be the first to admit I have a long way to go, but when I watch this video, I am filled with awe.

I hope you’ll find this as inspirational as I do. Share your thoughts and any ah-ha’s in the comments below. I love hearing from you!

 

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