The following exercise demonstrates how to use a wall to align yourself perfectly in the Iron Shirt Horse Stance used in Embracing the Tree, Holding the Golden Urn and the Phoenix postures. These postures will be described fully in this chapter.
This wall position is a variation of the Structural Training Position against a Wall which is described in Chapter 4. As your practice continues, you will develop the feeling of proper alignment and will be able to follow the same principles without a wall. Whenever you practice your alignment against the wall, when you feel you can hold the position, step away from it and apply the same principles. After you have learned to adopt the correct stance without the wall, occasionally practice against it again to check yourself. Once you are skilled, occasional use of the wall will allow you greatly to increase your spinal lengthening when you practice.
Use this wall position to practice alignment by itself as well as with the breathing used in Embracing the Tree and the other excersises in which packing is done. Practicing the full exercise with Packing Breathing while against the wall will help to insure that you can maintain the alignment while in the much more dynamic state of packing and energy circulation.
At first, applying some of these details may seem difficult or unclear. However as your body opens up, you will gradually be able to apply each detail easily and naturally. Since these principles represent application of the basic design characterisics of your body structure, you will feel more and more as you practice that your body will naturally fit into these" grooves".
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