What really is the correct spinal posture?
I've gotten this question many times from my students and massage clients alike.
In short the answer hinges on what you're going to use it for.
In day to day movements, Chinese martial art practice, and I would argue for the same in massage practice, correct spinal posture comes from lifting the crown point and pointing the sacrum, then tilting it depending on your use.
What this does is straighten out the spine and expands it in order to grant space in between the vertebrae and take pressure off of any one point on the spine, as illustrated in the picture on the left.
Why would we want to use this posture instead of the normal weight lifting posture?
Tai Chi is more than a slow moving dance, it's a categorizing of things...
This principle is one that has countless applications for health and martial art practice. This simple phrase gives you a lifetime of work that will always bring fruit and ever expanding self-discovery. Many times the principle of “Move 10,000 pounds using only 4 ounces” becomes the measuring stick to say if someone’s practice is truly Tai Chi. So let’s look at what this means…
To put it simply moving 10,000 pounds with 4 ounces can be summed up in one word, efficiency.
What do we mean by efficiency?
I'd like to take this opportunity to share some things that I hold as a very deep and firm foundation of my practice. If you have any experience in training Tai Chi Chuan you may love or hate what I'm about to say.
My entire practice is based on balancing yin and yang, and constantly seeking that balance in myself and others. What allows me to use what I do as a tool for balance is polarizing the thing I'm practicing or doing. In other words my Tai Chi Chuan practice is Yin, my Kung Fu practice is Yang, my Shaolin Chi Kung practice is yang, my Daoist Chi Kung practice is Yin. When I lift weights or practice calisthenics it's Yang, when I practice Yoga, stretching ect. it's Yin. I believe you get the picture. The distinction must be pure and at a drastic extent, only in this way can the thing have the greatest "power" to tip the scales.
Winter time! Who doesn't love snow days? In case you don't know I live in North Carolina and we just got hit with our first big snow. Aside from the snowfall it has also been icing over night, layering the snow. Making it slick, hard to walk, and break through.
The good thing about North Carolina is snow and ice doesn't last too long, but when they're here it's important to know how to walk, move, and keep your footing amid the cold.
How do we do this? By following some basic Tai Chi principles, of course.
Daniel R. Hyde
Licensed Massage Therapist
OIF, OEF Veteran
U.S. Marine Corps
Kwan Ying Do Kung Fu
Tai Chi Chuan
Tui Na, Chinese Massage
Shiatsu, Japanese Massage