Circle walking is an ancient form of Qigong, that is said to have been developed over 4,000 years ago by the Daoists in China. It can be a simple practice of meditation on a single focal point while walking in a circle, to holding various animal or palm positions while walking continuously for long periods of time. It is a foundation and central practice of Baguazhang.
Most people cannot walk the circle continuously for any period of time because they don’t know how to relax into it. One of the keys of Daoist teachings is to let go. While walking the circle many beginners tend to hold on to tension in their bodies, not knowing how to let go.
Those who know how to relax while, walking the circle will learn how to relax into the circle walk of life. The Daoists believe that everything has a macrocosm and microcosm. Circle walking can be viewed as a microcosm of the circle of walk of life. We got through life and meet challenges and obstacles. If we can learn to overcome those challenges and obstacles we can move on, becoming stronger and wiser. The same is with circle walking, when we find a position that is challenging, if we learn to relax into it and meet the challenge we can continue, walking better and gaining more benefit. If we cannot, we will be too tired to go on.
3 Steps to relaxation while walking the circle:
- Let go of tension, emotions
- Breathe into the tense areas. Many people when they realize where the tension is, they try to compensate by tensing another area of the body in order to relieve the tension in the other part. This accomplishes nothing. When you feel the tense areas, breathe deeply into that area visualizing the muscles relaxing and sinking.
- Let the gravity work naturally. When we let go we can use gravitational force to let our weight and tension sink down into our legs, feet and down out into the earth. Let the earth carry our weight allowing our bodies to become light. One of the goals of circle walking is to become “light” weighted.
Once you are able to let go and hold a position for a long period of time, of course you will eventually get tired. At this point try walking a little lower and faster. Then there will come a second wave of fatigue, use this same strategy once again. This is the only way to get deeper and deeper into the practice. By the time the 3rd wave of fatigue sets in, it is time to close the practice. Going beyond the third wave of fatigue could be damaging to the body. The 3 waves correspond with the iChing trigrams. Each trigram consists of 3 lines. I will discuss more on these trigrams later.
Learn to relax into circle walking, go deeper into you practice and you will find many microcosms of the circle of life. Circle walking teaches you not by words, but by showing you how to relax into the circle of life.
-Tevia J. Feng 林峰
Martial Arts and Qigong in Bali, Indonesia