During my morning chi gong, today I discovered ‘dynamic breathing’ – just suddenly became aware of it: how my breathing moves my entire body, particularly the opening / expanding and returning to rest of my ribcage and sternum, the pelvis, the shoulders, head and neck, hips through knees, ankles, feet, diaphragm, pelvic floor – a very gentle wave coming from within, from the act of breathing.
This makes standing an active, dynamic experience. I have become aware of this before, lying flat on the floor, but this is the first time I’ve truly become aware of it while standing – in gravity. My breathing creates a dance, very gentle and subtle, between the challenge of gravity and the support from the Earth, the ground.
I then explored this in sitting, and again found my breathing creating a ‘dynamic sitting’, the difference being this time this subtle dance was being played out between the challenge of gravity and the support of the chair and the ground (in chairs where my feet could comfortably reach the ground).
I realized my mind had been attempting to ‘hold’ me still when standing and simply ‘letting go’ or slumping regularly alternating with attempting to ‘hold me upright’ or ‘long’ or ‘straight’ when sitting in a chair. All this ‘holding’ caused tension, stiffness and eventually pain.
Wondering where these habits of holding might have come from, I heard words from my childhood and schooling and well-meaning physical instructors: - “Sit still.” “Stand still.” “Sit up straight.” “Stand up straight.” “Don’t slouch.” “Keep your back straight.”
All this emphasis on stillness and straightness and holding, forcing oneself into some idea of perfect posture, created an idea of posture as a goal, something to be striven for, something to measure up to – and be found wanting.
In actuality, the only body that can be still is a corpse – a dead body. Even then, decomposition means there is a lot of action and movement happening in and to that body, just not being instigated by the consciousness that was experiencing that body.
But there is a stillness. It is a tiny pause, a point, a moment, in between breathing in and breathing out – between the end of the in-breath, the beginning of the out-breath; the end of the out-breath, the beginning of the in-breath – a tiny resting in the wonder of the Great Mystery – Hu (or Who) breathes; the wonder of our connection with the pulse, the rhythm of life.
All else is movement, a flowing of breath, of blood, of energy, of all the wondrous bodily fluids; rhythm and flow, rhythm and flow – a glorious dance of being alive.
Lorraine Brown 23.10.17
Mullumbimby Bones for Life training