|Posted on Friday, March 18, 2005 - 07:54: |
I am a little new to taichi [6 months..]. My teacher [yang style] keeps stressing the importance of the eyes. She says: breathe through your eyes, focus your vision, escort your hands with your eyes... etc. What is the significance in that, I wonder... I couldn't find any documentation for this topic on the net. Any suggestions?
|Posted on Friday, March 18, 2005 - 08:08: |
Breathing through the eyes? That sounds pretty idiosyncratic.
The eyes (where they look in forms and applications, where to look in sparring, etc.) are important, but they are one of the last things the Wu family teaches to work on. First, work on getting the feet in the right place, then the legs, hips, torso, shoulders, head, arms, hands, and only then the eyes.
We rely on the eyes quite a bit more than most realise for balance, but the eyes can also trap us into looking at the wrong thing at the wrong time, as an instrument of intent.
T'ai Chi forms and pushing hands train the peripheral vision by directing the attention properly in action. My teachers say "stare intently at nothing" so perhaps your teacher is giving some version of the same instruction. If you look at 10 different translations of the Tao Te Ching it is like you are reading 10 different books sometimes, after all...
|Posted on Friday, March 18, 2005 - 13:52: |
Greetings D. and welcome. Basically, I totally agree with our A.A. on the grading of the eyes as the last thing that a beginner should be working on. Yet, I think that his approach relates to sparring (pushing hands, etc.) more than to the Tai Chi form per se. The Chinese classics claim that one's Shen - spirit, can be seen through his/her eyes. Thus, if you dig deeply into your opponent's eyes during sparring, you may guess his next move. This is why A.A.'s teachers say: "stare intently at nothing". Now, why intently? The spirit shown in one's eyes must exhibit courage, resolution and a fighting spirit. This is very important in combat. It is important both for the practitioner, as it focuses his mind, and is important to be exhibited to the opponent, in order to weaken him/her. In the Tai Chi form however, the accompaniment of one's movements by the eyes brings into action the will-power, or the intent - the YI. It is essential, in my opinion, to perform each and every movement in the form with the utmost concentration and intent. Following your movements with your eyes binds the intent -YI with your movements thus establishing the bond between internal energy and outward movement.
As for the breathing eyes, I can only guess that you teacher puts an emphasis on breathing deeply throughout the Tai Chi form - for health purposes. Some Yogists in India have this peculiar meditation style of breathing through one's eyes. This drill is supposed to calm the mind and quiet the nervous system.
|Posted on Friday, March 18, 2005 - 18:04: |
I just thought I'd better add something to my previous reply to you, Davidsohn. Here's a quote from the Tai Chi classics, the 7th "commandment" by Yang Cheng Fu:
7.) Coordinate the upper and lower parts of the body. The T'ai Chi Ch'uan Classics say "the motion should be rooted in the feet, released through the legs, controlled by the waist and manifested through the fingers." Everything acts simultaneously. When the hand, waist and foot move together, the eyes follow. If one part doesn't follow, the whole body is disordered.
The rest of these "commandments", in case you are interested, may be found here, at this board:
|Posted on Sunday, March 20, 2005 - 19:35: |
This is very interesting and sheds light on the matter. Thank you both.
|Posted on Thursday, November 16, 2006 - 23:12: |
Acu-points and channels are stimulated in many ways - touch, movement, breathing etc in active forms and in still forms particularly through our attention -since energy goes where the mind goes.
As a result we can use creative visualisation or just physically look and focus in order to concentrate our energies at any one acu-point to have a defined therapetic effect, the Chi can collect and condense.
It is interesting to note that the eyes are nourished by all the major channels and inparticlar the Liver channel. The key function of the Liver is to allow for the free flow of Chi within our system. The Liver itself is exquisitely sensitive to tension /stress which impairs its function. This is one of the main reasons so much emphasis is placed on keeping loose. So keeping ones vision open, clear and focused has a real significance in Tai Chi
|Posted on Friday, November 17, 2006 - 09:26: |
I agree with the most part of your post Jeff and you are most welcome to the forum. Still, creative visualisation of the acupoints, as you put it:
or just physically look and focus in order to concentrate our energies at any one acu-point to have a defined therapeutic effect, the Chi can collect and condense.
sounds nice in theory, yet very difficult if at all, in practice. Creative visualisation, or meditation for healing purposes, may be effective if one is able to sense and direct the energy flow within the meridian system, or in specific areas in the body. This may need a substantial capability, practice and experience in order to be able to achieve this goal. Yet, focusing on a specific acupoint, or on a prescription of acupoints and have it stimulated this way in a "needling" fassion, is possible only for very few humans, if any at all, I am afraid.
...and one more word about the eyes. It is true that the liver qi pours into and nourishes the eyes for proper visual functioning. Still, I find that despite the fact (or may be in accordance with) that, as A.A. has mentioned above, the eyes are the last to follow in the movement order
First, work on getting the feet in the right place, then the legs, hips, torso, shoulders, head, arms, hands, and only then the eyes.
they give the impetus to the whole movement. The eyes form the last "stitch" between the physical movement and the focusing of the intent yi or the spirit shen. As I have mentioned above, the shen can be observed through the eyes of a person. A trained watcher (a doctor or an opponent) may be able to sense the degree of mental energy in a person through the eyes. His/her resolution, fighting spirit, determination, courage, alertness and so forth. It is therefore very important to train the vision to follow our Tai chi movements and seal them by the shen's intent.
|Posted on Saturday, November 18, 2006 - 01:27: |
G'day Shmuel. Hope this finds you well.
There can be no doubt about what you say re. the practical advice moving from feet up so to speak.
However I mention the wider implications of the use of eyes partly because I find it more interesting these days to wrestle with the processes behind the scenes rather than just on the more apparent physical processes. And afterall Taoism advocates that things exist in relationship to all other things, continually influencing one another, nothing existing in isolation etc. And so to the creative visualisation / therapeutic effect bit...
We are continuously changing our body by every perception and reaction we have, each thought has a nervous and chemical action on the body. We therefore have a choice each and every moment to create a healthy internal environment or otherwise. Therefore on one level the practice of influencing our well-being through creative visualisation or focusing the intention is infact something we do, consciously or otherwise, at every moment! It doesn't have to be an esoteric or superhuman effort to make it effective it's simply what happens in our everyday existence.
We are what we think having become what we thought. Buddha
More specifically the Vital Substances or Creative Forces are eminently active, always moving, creating, maintaining repairing, healing. If we become aware of this process and guide it then it is my experience that states of ill health can indeed be alleviated. The extent to its effectiveness is determined essentially by how much of our Will we can bring to bear to focus and direct a healing response since it is always the function of the will to initiate a creative action.
Hope this clarifies my thinking!
Meiri (Unregistered Guest)
|Posted on Saturday, November 18, 2006 - 19:20: |
If I understand correctly Shmuel you say that you can affect your health by visualization of energy but not by concentrating on the acupuncture points?
What's the difference if I may ask?
|Posted on Sunday, November 19, 2006 - 13:14: |
Many forms of meditation make use of the energy flow in the meridians, in order to harmonize Yin and Yang and maintain a healthy equilibrium. The most common or significant among those techniques, are the small and large orbits. This has been already discussed elsewhere in this forum.
Other techniques of meditation, make use of concentrations of energy in the body, usually called in Chinese: Sea of Energy. These may be areas such as the famous lower Dantian (around Ren-6) or at the middle of the chest (around Shanzhong) etc. The Hindus, as well as the Taoists, albeit in later generations, have also used the famous Chakras for this purpose. It is true that it is possible to manipulate these energy concentrations by using an acupuncture point in needling, warming or applying pressure. This is because every such reservoir has a peculiar acu-point of its own. Yet, as said above, these points, being a physical entity that can be physically stimulated in order to activate energy flow, can not be activated by concentration or meditation alone - in most cases. On the other hand, energy fields or, concentrations or flow, may easily be activated for health purposes or otherwise, by meditation, breathing or concentration of the mind.
The reason for that, is that the power of the thought or spirit, has a controlling capability over the energy that flows in the meridians, being superior in "condensation" or purity to that of the Qi in the meridians. In the same fashion, the Qi of the meridians, is able to control or alter the flow of blood in the vessels, being superior to the latter in terms of purity and condensation of energy. Thus, the blood is superior to the marrow, the marrow to the flesh, the flesh to the bones and so forth.
In order to bring about a therapeutic effect over an organ or system in the body, one must utilize a prescription of acu-points, chosen carefully after a proper diagnosis, and manipulate the needles at these points by carefully adjusted maneuvers adopted for each point. This procedure can not be imitated by the mere power of meditation or visualization. On the other hand, visualizing and actually sensing the flow of Qi in specific regions or meridians, is not only possible and rewarding but rather easy to accomplish.