Monday Morning Tai Chi Training Tip # 356
Thinking About The Pelvis
The pelvis contains the center of the body. The pelvis should be kept level during most of our Tai Chi practice. We do that for several reasons. First and foremost, the pelvis is the base for the spine, and we want the spine to be as erect as possible, without holding or tension. The spine floats upward from the pelvis.
The dantien, or physical energy center sits near your belly button, so we want that area to be open and relaxed so the energy can enter and exit freely. The kua, the front of the hips, is the connecting place between the legs and torso. The kua is the lower level of the pelvis. A tilted pelvis restricts the function of the kua, which is the main area for gathering and releasing energy.
So when I say the pelvis should be slightly tucked under, I mean the lower, natural curve of the spine should straighten without tension. Knees should be soft, and able to respond – either gather or release at any time. If you lock your knees, you automatically tilt the pelvis, restricting the smooth flow of energy up the spine. Try this out. Stand relaxed. Then lock your knees and see what happens to the low back. Then unlock your knees, and see how that feels. I sure hope you feel a difference.
I will be talking about the breath in upcoming tips. But since we are discussing the belly button, try this reverse breathing exercise. Imagine your belly button is attached to the energy around you. Now draw in energy by sucking in your belly button. Then give energy back to the environment by releasing the belly or pushing the belly out. This is the reverse of what is natural or what we call yogic or diaphragmatic breathing.
One last thing about the pelvis for now. The tail bone, coccyx, should swing slightly during movement. When gathering, it should swing backward a bit, and when releasing, it should tuck under a bit. It is natural, and this swinging for energy gather and release can be increased through awareness and practice.
And keep in mind that the energy for all actions in Tai Chi comes from the ground. The more you compress downward, the more release can happen upward. When you squat, you compress, when you stand up you release the compression.