Constant Bear

Let’s borrow from tai chi Master Cheng.

It starts, like in yoga, with your feet. How wide? Like how you align many poses, you need to notice how it feels for you and align your feet in a way that works for you.

Place your feet just wider than your hips. Shift all of your weight to one side. If you have your feet too close to each other then you will feel like you might fall to the side. And if you place your feet too wide, you will not easily shift all your weight to one side.

If as you shift all your weight to one side, you feel your weight bearing foot begin to supinate, try standing a little wider.

Start by shifting your weight all the way to one side, then slowly shifting all your weight to the other side. Just practice shifting all of your weight slowly from one side to the other side without turning.

Next practise staying level. Avoid bobbing up and down as you shift all of your weight from one side to another. Keep your eyes and shoulders and hips all moving smoothly horizontally along imaginary flat lines as you slowly shift all of your weight from one side to another.

Next practise keeping your knee aligned above your foot on the side you put your weight.

Align

  • Feet facing forward
  • Feet wider than hips
  • Feet square on the floor, avoid pronation and supination
  • Knees bent
  • Knee over foot on weight bearing side
  • Hip joint above ankle on weighted side
  • Pubic bone forward
  • Pelvis vertical
  • Torso vertical
  • Nose above navel above pubic bone on an imaginary vertical line at all times

Engage

  • Move your center and let the rest of you follow
  • Keep your pubic bone thrust forward throughout the movement
  • Shift all of your weight to one side
  • Unweight your opposite side
  • Engage your muscles to pull your weighted knee to align over that foot
  • Turn your pelvis toward the weight bearing side
  • Keep your weight bearing leg stationary while you turn your pelvis above it

Tai chi speaks of moving from you lower dan t’ian. It sits above your pubic bone and inwards. (Fingers widths guide poorly in becoming aware of it.) With practise you become aware of it. Initiate these movements from your lower dan t’ian. Think of moving your dan t’ian and let the rest of you follow.

Like Mountain and Tree and Warrior 2, in Constant Bear you need to engage muscles to keep your knee above your foot on the weighted side. Like Tree and Warrior 2, in Constant Bear you need to engage muscles to turn your pelvis.

Extend

Do the movement soft, smooth, flowing, and controlled.

When the movement has become familiar, you can intensify it some of the time.

  • Turn your pelvis firmly away from your weighted side as you shift to it
  • Push away your heel firmly on your unweighted side

Extending the movement will help open your pelvis.

Gaze

Keep your eyes looking forward above your navel and pubic bone.

Touch

You can rest your hands lightly on your pubic bone, palms up and fingers overlapped, as a reminder to keep your pubic bone forward and to move from your dan t’ian.

Vary

Once the movement has become familiar, experiment with wider stances, but still shift all of your weight onto one leg.

As you shift all of your weight onto one leg and turn your pelvis more firmly away from that leg, rotate your unweighted foot on the heel so that its toes point up. As you turn your pelvis toward the leg that bears all of your weight, allow that movement to turn your foot back to contact with the floor.

Notes

As we keep our knees bent and think out pelvis down and moving along a horizontal line, we can scrunch out backs because we think of our pelvises down. Keep your pubic bone thrust forward and lift your torso and extend your back up through all of the movement. As you slowly shift back and forth and turn, feel your torso lift and really open as you continue the movement.

Before

Wuji stance traditionally comes before Constant Bear.