Balance Ideal Tai

Becoming a Conduit 
AKA It’s Not About You!

by Sheila D. Bell

Regional Organizer Clear Tai Chi Costa Rica & Director of Balance Ideal Tai Chi

Why are you here?
I won’t be answering that for you today, but it’s a question well worth your contemplation. You may find some guidance useful to reach or even seek out your objective! Certainly you will feel more capable and optimistic if your body is healthy and energetic! That is what I do; help you to be at your best so you can do what you are here to do.
Interestingly enough, among the many aspects of self-care which I implement with our group, one of the most profound is the qigong standing practice achieved with very correct posture. Known as Wu chi, it allows deepening relaxation and also rising energy flow. This may seem contradictory at first, but once experienced, I think you will agree with me that the simultaneous heavy, downward sinking flow of relaxation combined with a rush of upward floating potential starts to make the Ying/Yang symbol of opposites together ☯ a much more interesting concept.
Several factors must be present together in order to feel and benefit from this phenomena, including correct posture, diaphragmatic breathing, heightened awareness, and deep relaxation. Correct posture is vital. The physical component will take some practice and guidance. See my blog on posture. Your best feedback is through Clear’s Internal Push Hands working with a partner, which allows you to test each other. Without a partner, before and after comparison testing with the Energy Ball between the palms is a great option to measure best alignment. Breathing should be diaphragmatic and relaxed, filling the whole body gently with oxygen allowing all your cell to function at their highest level. Awareness of the Three Dain Tiens alignment and zhong ding comes with correct practice of posture, as well as an increasingly sensitive mind. Heightened cognizance is born of the lack of tension in your system, whereby you become conscious of things usually masked by our “normal” to elevated levels of stress. Your level of relaxation can improve for many years as you practice Wu chi, but be careful not to collapse the body - only release tension without compromising your posture.
How does this help me achieve my purpose, you may ask? There is a combined effort of your various parts (whole body, cells, breath, mind, spirit) in any endeavor you propose. Quite often these parts are not all on the same page, which means you are fighting against yourself constantly. One benefit of this standing practice is that your mind gets a break, your body relaxes, your breath deepens and regulates, and the spirit has a chance to get into alignment with the rest of you. There is a calming effect which releases expectations and clears your vision. This access to energy and mental clarity brings solutions into focus.
Release of physical tension allows mental tension to also dissipate. The downward flow of tension creates a lightness in the upper body starting at the crown which allows a constant downward flow, like a waterfall within your core. The slightly fluttery central core feeling is known as zhong ding and helps guide you to best practices when improving your standing posture. I encourage you to reference your copy of Chi Energy: Activation, Cultivation and Flow by Richard E. Clear, Jr. for more details on how to achieve these benefits through correct posture. You may also enjoy my previous blog on posture.
The term conduit in the title refers to the sensation of flow-through within your whole being from top to bottom, of which you become aware with consistent practice of Wu chi with Three Dan Tiens and zhong ding. You will notice that this originates far above you and penetrates deep below within the Earth. Within the paradigm of Traditional Chinese Medicine, elimination of blockages (tensions) within this flow relieves and prevents pain and illness. You will also feel connected to something much larger than yourself, a humbling and faith building habit which allows you to release petty, self-centered attitudes in an understanding of your larger purpose here. Investing a small part of your day in this standing practice will help ease you closer to achieving your big goals!

How to Put This Into Practice

Here is a little practice to help you out:

Do only the movement which your body allows at this time.

Poor lifelong habits may have caused your body to become stiff, but with practice over time, these issues will loosen up.

To begin, stand with your feet shoulder distance apart, toes pointing forward.

Feel that your head is stretching upward, but from the crown, not the forehead, and completely without tension.

Breathe naturally into the belly without forcing anything, until air flows easily.

Next, rotate the hips and relax your knees such that the curve in the lower back straightens out, but carefully, softly, and without tension.

Gently test your limbs, lightly waving to assure yourself that the whole body is tension-free. 

Relax the mind; just focus on gentle breathing without any agenda or expectations.

Rotate your arms at the elbow, allowing the palms to face the sky.

Stay here, calm and without any objectives or other places to be.

After several breaths, turn your palms down towards the ground and simply be aware of any differences.

Stay for several breaths here.

Be aware of the whole body, checking everywhere to be sure no tension will sneak in anywhere (frequently check the neck and shoulders).

Feel free to repeat the palm up and down position a few times, if you are able.
What do you notice?

Can you bring these same sensation to other parts of your body?

How do you feel now compared to when you started?

Enjoy, you are on your way to becoming a conduit.

Sheila Bell


A Clear Tai Chi Member School


Next to Rancho Armadillo, Playas del Coco:

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Lot 22 Chorotega
Liberia, Guanacaste, Costa Rica



Balance Ideal

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