Sinking your Boat: (1) The Hull.

Behaving like a boat.
Your body has a keel and a mast.  The question is, how do you experience it?

The hull & keel.
This is your pelvis and your legs.  When a boat sits in water, it tries to sink to the bottom of the sea, it has no intention of floating.  The challenge for us is to try to emulate that sensation; okay, we’re not in the sea, but we’re constantly (and subconsciously) trying to sink towards the core of the planet.
But, by and large we don’t, we try to ‘float’ across the surface of the planet like the wind. We become ungrounded.

Feel it.
To experience your hull, you have to put yourself in the position of feeling exactly how you would ‘feel’ if you were the hull of a boat.  If you don’t feel it, then it’s all conceptual – all in your head.
So, if your pelvis were the hull of the boat, with your legs reaching down into the water (the keel), how heavy would you feel as you attempted to sink to the bottom?  Your upper body, everything else from the waist up, would be the contents of the boat, the deck, shrouds, rigging, sails, etc.
You could still rock from side to side, or forwards and backwards, you could still turn and twist, but all of those upper movements would be coming from a stable platform.
James Drewe teaches Taijiquan and qigong in both London and in Kent. Details of weekly classes can be found on the website, and there are classes for 2-person Taijiquan on one Saturday a month.

Phone: 07836-710281 or 020-8883 3308


3 thoughts on “Sinking your Boat: (1) The Hull.

  1. th3gr33nman

    Perhaps it is easier to feel, or at least to get used to, the sensation of ‘sinking your boat’ if we also imagine feeling the opposite – ‘floating’ – too?

    If we straighten and bend our knees, then we rise and sink. With eyes closed, imagine it as floating on the sea. Imagine floating on a series of long, slow, deep waves. Imagine a swell passing smoothly beneath you. Straighten and bend… Imagine feeling it, gently lifting and lowering your ‘hull’.

    Feel the exact moment when the ‘downwards’ stops and the ‘upwards’ starts. At that point, the sinking sensation is at its strongest. At that point, all the cells of the body are committed to moving downwards. Changing direction amplifies that energy.

    Then, stop straightening and bending your knees. Retain that sensation of ‘sinking’. Remember the amplified energy. Apply the memory of that sensation.

    At that precise moment you might feel a continued sinking heaviness in your ‘hull’.

    This is what I noticed during the breathing practice at the close of the class.


    1. - James Drewe Taiji & Qigong Post author

      Yes, nice point.
      Having played around with your description a bit, I think that (without the straightening and bending of the knees), you need to ‘sink the hull’ first, and then allow the hull to float afterwards (I’m thinking in terms to the way to describe this in a class). Allowing the hull to float afterwards is interesting; the inner musculature softens a little more than just sinking on its own.
      I get your idea of rising and falling with the swell (something that I do in some classes), but have found that some people tense the legs, and, for some beginners, it can end up as a leg exercise. I’m mainly after the idea of ‘Song’, but avoided mentioning it because of previous blogs!
      This is only no. 1 of 4 short blogs – one aspect of the floating (the deck and above) is to follow.




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