Yoga Chaturanga Dandasana Pose

In these two cases, the mind depends on mechanisms that distribute themselves throughout the organism We also find this perspective in the philosophical writings of the Taoists: The True Man breathes with his heels; the mass of men breathe with their throats. Crushed and bound down, they gasp out their words as though they were retching❠(Chuang Tzu, 1968, IV, p. 78).

When one uses such a theoretical frame, one can easily conceive that a hand gesture can, at the same time, participate in a fine equilibrium of the body in the gravity field, express a thought (it is springtime), betray a feeling (I am anxious), handle an object (to pass a cup of tea in a particular manner), and communicate something quite explicit (encourage a father to accept my marriage proposal to his daughter). This state may create another. Perhaps the fiance is overly respectful (his feet are immobilized) and the father feels ill at ease and distant. Most hexagrams are associated with a metaphor linked to the movements of the elements. Here, it is the one of the sun distancing itself from the mountain. If the fiance has an overly easygoing attitude, the father may not want to welcome someone who irritates him (like water on fire) into the family.

The Dialectical Turnarounds of the I Ching

Many specialists in bodywork know the I Ching well because it is a formalized way that can be used to understand and describe certain observable complex dynamics used by organisms. An example of the intellectual comfort offered by the dialectical system of the I Ching is the following:

Walking analyzed using the principles of the I Ching. Every extreme state (whether yin or yang) is considered unstable. The stability of a system demands a blend of yin and yang energies. If I am standing with all of my weight (a yang function) on my right foot, my left foot carries no weight (a yin function). This absolutely unbalanced distribution of yin and yang on my feet makes for an unstable posture. A more stable manner to stand up is to distribute my weight equally on both feet. There will therefore be an equal amount of yin and yang in each foot. This position is totally static. If I want to walk, I will shift the yang from one foot to the other while the yin distributes itself in a complementary fashion. The distribution of my body weight changes in such a rhythm that it permits me to move about. There is then in place a stable activity that establishes a balance between the feet that alternatively become yin and yang.

This type of discussion concerning the dynamics of the body can be found in the majority of the Chinese and Japanese martial arts.

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