Question from a Tai Chi student this week…
What is happening when we keep the leg straight on “Push Needle to Sea Bottom”? Why does the leg need to be straight?
The water element that nurtures the systems for bladder and kidney have points at or near the back of the knee. K10 is a point on the inside of the knee and kidney meridian runs along the inside of the leg at the point behind the knee. Right behind the knee is Bladder meridian. There are 4 points that have different numberings depending on which chart you refer to. Either way, there is a point on the outside edge of the back of the knee, two points that are on either side of the back of the knee and one point that is just below on the outside edge of the back of the knee. The point Bladder 55 is known as the Wei Yang point. If you look up the references for this spot on the different charts, you will find that they are linked to what is known as the Lower He-Sea Point of the Sanjiao. A harmonized Sanjiao allows for an even flow of water throughout the system and this assists the fascia and lymph for drainage and information exchange. This can help with regulating urination, reducing swelling, alleviating pain, releasing stiffness and pain in the lower back, softening distension and fullness of the lower abdomen, reduce cramping in the legs and foot, as well as assist the auditory system and the jaw to remain open and fluid for energy flow.
The emotions that are a part of the water element include fear and anxiety. When the autonomic nervous system is not flowing freely, these emotions can tighten up the system and create tension in joints (like TMJ symptoms), as well as through the tissue, including muscles, tendons, fascia and ligaments. When there is an open and free flow throughout the system, these symptoms can disappear, and the reaction of the person can be adjusted to no longer feel anxiety or distress over a situation. The lens of living can change, and so can the responses.
Metaphorically, the idea of “pushing the needle to the sea bottom” refers to taking the golden pill or the full energy stored in the lower Dan Tien and directing it towards your ambitions using the talents you possess. You select your goal and bring your skills into focus to direct towards your goal. The free flow will allow for the energy to align towards the intended outcome.
All of these things can happen when the right leg straightens for the movement forward into “pushing the needle to the sea bottom” and the yang flow through the right leg allows for a release through the right side of the body and opens the opportunity for the yin flow to come in the left leg. It is an amazing move with more potential as it is woven into the beautiful movements within the Tai Chi set.
What other actions might support the newfound flow of water? Brush knees is excellent for spiraling the tissue through the leg and flushing the fluid and creating movement. As well, the expansion and contraction of the movements through each one legged or two-legged Don Yu is building energy and creating possibility as the arms and legs rotate, turn, extend, pull in and change how the body is functioning. Enjoy playing with this wonderful little movement!