Audi wrote:Dan wrote:While not included in the “10 essentials” (Yang Chengfu), the concept of slightly and gently tucking the chin, which in my experiences is commonly taught, does address the position of the head in conjunction with “xuling dingjin” and the crown.
I think this is a good example of two things: the difficulty of capturing subtle physical things in words and the variation in teaching principles.
Master Yang Jun has primarily been addressing neck position by advising us to have a sense of pushing the top of the head up, as long as we are clear on where the top is. I have also read, if I am recalling it correctly, that Yang Shaohou advised his students always to feel the back of the neck pushing against their collars. I have heard of the idea of "tucking in the chin," but have not been sure whether that refers to slightly tilting the head forward or slightly retracting the entire head backward, so that the chin feels like it is sinking slightly into the throat. I do not do the former, but do try to do a little of the latter; however, I come at from the viewpoint of trying to find the center in a world where my daily routine tends to encourage bending my head forward over books or to look at computer screens.
As for the bobbling heads, I think that the explanation for me lies in the tendency to conceive of the entire spine as one simple system, whereas the Ten Essentials do not actually teach this. If we organize it as one system, then the pulse of Jin that travels up the spine will go up into the neck and make the head bobble. If, however, we know how to transfer the vertical and upward oscillation of the Jin coming from the forward movement of the lumbar spine into the horizontal oscillation governed by Containing the Chest and Plucking up the Back, the Qi will go into the arms and hands rather than into the neck.
The positioning of the head involves all of these things. I have also heard related things like having the head pivot slightly with the ear holes as the axis (lengthening the cervical spine while slightly tucking the chin, with the crown of the head lifting up), gazing towards the horizon (to attain a slightly downward angle to the head...), imagining that you are pushing against something with your ‘third eye’ (between the eyebrows, while maintaining the suspended crown), etc. All are probably more instructive when someone’s head position is being adjusted in person, but the sayings all can help (some resonating with certain practitioners better than others, but all seem to essentially striving for the same thing – possibly the ‘monkey head’? or ‘xuling dingjin’?).