This practice is excellent for anyone who holds tension in their shoulders, neck and upper back. It improves one’s posture, develops structural strength and cultivates energy, thereby enhancing one’s health.
Yichuan – Embrace the tree – Posture:
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, outsides of the feet parallel. Slightly bend and relax the knees. Sit down with the tailbone, lightly tucking the pelvis. Bow forward a few degrees so the spine is vertical. The arms are at shoulder height as though you are trying to reach around a post or tree and can’t quite touch the fingers. All of the joints in the arms are relaxed, sinking toward the ground. (Especially the shoulders) Fingers are spread but not tense. Push up lightly with the crown of the head, allowing the chin to lightly tuck in. The gaze is up slightly, looking over the horizon.
Yichuan – Embrace the tree – Breath:
Breathe slowly and evenly into the lower abdomen. If any thoughts come up or you get restless, just let them go and focus on your breath. Stand through any trembling or discomfort but not through pain.
If you are new to the Yichuan – Embrace the Tree practice, start with standing for ten minutes. Add a couple of minutes each week until you reach thirty. You can hold this one as long as you like but thirty minutes is a good basis for a practice.
Yichuan – Embrace the Tree, is the first in a series of health postures in the first section of the Internal Arts curriculum. It is a posture often taught and highly promoted by Grandmaster Sam Tam.
Try the Yichuan – Embrace the Tree posture once a day, 10 or more minutes, for two weeks. Let us know how it goes!