Above the hull is the equipment that makes the sailing boat functional – mast & boom, shrouds & sails, sheets & cleats, and a burgee if you have one.
This is your upper torso.
But first of all…
When you sink your hull/keel, bear in mind that there is an upward pressure of the water.
As you now stand or sit, first of all let yourself sink (the hull), but then experience what the upward pressure of the water would feel like.
You might notice a lifting – almost a lightening – internally. It’s this that makes the above-deck equipment able to function.
If, however, you try to make this feeling happen, you will have stopped sinking the hull, and will have started to ‘do’, rather than ‘un-do’.
The mast (spine) supports most of these bits of above-deck equipment – the shrouds (arms), the burgee (tiny head!), the sails, (torso – chest/back/rib cage); and the spreader (in the diagram) is a little like your shoulders running from port to starboard. The boat in the picture even has trapezius muscles running upwards from the ends of the spreader to the top of the mast.
Your spine tries to sink to the bottom of the sea, but simultaneously it is pushing upwards to support the downwards pull of everything else (sails, rigging, boom, etc.). If it isn’t strong enough, it will buckle or snap in the first wind that it encounters. It needs to be strong enough to deal with the functions of all the other parts.
So whilst reading this, settle the base of your spine into your pelvis, noticing how the relationship between the two changes.
As you allow the water to ‘lift’ your hull, you may find that the spine alters shape, and that your head needs to readjust itself.
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