Tadasana (Mountain) Sthiti (Standng Still) vs Wu Chi ( Void Standing )
The basic standing pose ( Standing Asana ), being one of the 8 Limbs of Yoga is the arguably most important pose to master, because of it’s far reaching application in all other postures/poses. The connectivity that can be gained through the culmulative focus on this pose can raise ones awareness to new and undiscoverd heights.
Tadasana trains optimal legnth to a body that is habitually compressed. and misaligned. This posture is the golden mean of all Asana, and as such really deserves much more emphasis and practice for anyone who studies Yoga.
It is very beneficial to compare this posture to the Wu Chi ( The void standing posture ) of Tai Chi Chuan and various Qi Gong methods.
One striking dissimilarity is witmessed by the feet being together of Tadasana and the feet apart method of Wu Chi. The seeming small act is not small at all and is of a massive significance in relationship/ experience of ones physical core, balance, strength and symmetry.
The Wu Chi posture is peformed at shoulder width, however ones symmetry becomes compromised immediately once one steps out to a shoulder width position. A novice and even a sessoned practitioner may not be aware at all of the subtle holding patterns reflected from deep spinal rotations,compressions, including time adopted scoliosis that are activated by the simple act of bringing the feet out shoudler width The fact that we have been standing this way for countless years without any real observation can tell us something quite profund aboiut the nature of standing practice in Asana and standing practice in Tai Chi.
So what is the similarity is between Tadasana and Wu Chi. The essence of these two postures introduces a call to a) symmetry b) balance c) optimal length and d) elastic strength.
The middle ground we seek as practitioners is a place of balance that can be experienced through intelligent self observation. The outward expression of uprightness and the restoration of functional length in our soft tissue fused harmoniously with the opposite force necessary to produce maximal flexion is a worthwhile wilderness of exploration.
The in between, “the terrain of balance’, is a dynamic interraction between extension and flexion. Arguably Asana can over emphasise this aspect. In a similar yet opposite way Tai Chi can produce over compression and collapse. This is due in part to an over emphasis on relaxation leading to a collapsing the core of the body. Sometimes these errors are simply unintended consequences, at other times it is the result of sheer ignornace of the dynamic nature of these respective arts under discussion.
Ideally Asana practice and Tai Chi practice would advocate the same middle ground of practice. Multiple Asana can seem to be more dynamic than Tai Chi Chuan as can be seen clearly by observing external diferences. The practitoner stretches strongly in Asana practice and then relaxes into the posture. Tai Chi stresses an opposite approach where one relaxes formost and then initatates from this steady state of relaxation into the stretch.. It is very important not to get trapped by these two seemingly opposing concepts. Both approaches are by no means mutually exclusive. Asana actively uses sympathetic stimulation of the nerves and TCC the para-sympathetic to create integrated internal connections and then stretches. However, beware of over stressing one approach over the other. Tai Chi done well utilizes both the aspect of dynamic legnth and relaxation whilst moving. Asana seemingly separates the two. You stretch then relax.
Maybe it would be good for Tai Chi people to investigate Tadasana and Yoga people to investigate Wu Chi and step outside the box. Now that is a thought.. Chris Ray Chappell (Copyright) 2014
Photo’s of: Yang Cheng Fu and B.S Iyenger