We often ask ourselves how we can relax, and what it means to really feel relaxed. This short excerpt from Bruce Frantzis’ Opening the Energy Gates of Your Body (North Atlantic Books / Energy Arts 2006) provides some food for thought.
Han shiung (the rounded chest) is based on the fundamental Taoist proposition that one should make one’s body like that of a child, as children are totally natural, unconditioned beings, and as such are wonderfully and naturally efficient. Children, especially babies before they have begun to imitate their elders, have big bellies and relaxed chests. For their size, babies are stronger and more filled with energy than adults. Try to feel the strength a child has for its size, and how relaxed it is. Also, note how babies can scream for hours without any trouble. Most adults cannot keep up with a baby.
The Taoists found that children and animals (also not conditioned) have something in common. Both breathe from the belly and have a relaxed chest, so that the internal organs drop downwards and are massaged by each breath and movement of the body. Observe cats or dogs, cows or horses, and see how their bellies swing from side to side as they walk. This “squishing” of the internal organs strengthens them, in much the same way that massage makes the muscles of the body healthier and stronger.
For more information about Bruce Frantzis’ work, visit: http://www.taichimaster.com/