Monday, November 15, 2010

Developing balanced sensory awareness – Feeing your back and into what is behind you

Balanced sensory awareness can be experienced as an awareness that is evenly distributed between the six aspects of our body (front, back, left, right, top, bottom) and the corresponding directions that surround us (in front, behind, to the left, right, above and below).
Because four of our senses are based toward the front of our head, the bias of our sensory awareness tends to be focused to the front, with subsidiary awareness of the left and right.
General Qi gong practice opens us up also to awareness of the sky and stars above, and planetary qi below.
Which direction is left out of the equation? Yep, it is behind, and using the back of our head, neck and back (as in back of torso) to feel and sense into our world.

Consciously focusing our awareness in the back of our body and learning to sense and feel into what is behind us is an interesting exercise:

• It makes us stop and think/be aware, as it provides us with a new perspective that we do not often focus on
• It gets us out of our mind and into our body
• It brings our overall sensory awareness into balance
• It teaches us to not over-rely upon our visual sense, and to “feel” and “hear” into our world more
• It develops our tactile sense, as the back of our body has no other major sense organs, just the sense of energy and touch coming through the skin receptors
• It is just a pleasant way of re-experiencing your world
Focusing on feeling your back and what is behind you is something that you can do anytime as a mindfulness exercise that will help you balance your overall sensory awareness and get you out of your head.

• You can do it whilst walking along (hint: don’t totally loose awareness of what is in front of you!)
• You can find a piece of open space and practice walking slowly and mindfully backwards, sensing with the back of your body as you go.
• You can take a one minute pause when you are working in front of your computer and just spend that minute focusing on what you feel in your back.
• It is nice to go out and try and sense landscape around you through the back of your body, rather than just seeing and experiencing it from the front and what is in your line of eye-vision

© Toby Ouvry, you are welcome to use this article, but you must seek Toby’s permission first. Contact

Previous articles on directional awareness:

Balancing your awareness of the six directions

Meditating on extending the six directions and drawing back Wu qi

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Meditating on extending the six directions and drawing back Wu Qi

This is an extension of the basic meditation form explained on my previous article on “Balancing your awareness of the six directions” . The meditation explained below will work in and of itself, but if you have not read the previous article, you might find it useful to do so as a context.

This meditation has the following aims:

• To center ourself in the six directions

• To expand our awareness to go beyond the six directions, moving into a timeless, formless state of emptiness (or Wu Qi)

• To then draw back the infinite energy of Wu Qi into our temporal minds and bodies

From this brief outline we can see that the meditation invites experience of the deeper, mystical expressions of qi, and shows how to draw upon this deeper level of qi, drawing it back into our everyday minds and bodies in a way that is beneficial to their health and wellbeing.

The meditation on extending the six directions and drawing back Wu Qi:

1. Centre yourself in the six directions. To do this, simply be aware of:

- the front of your body and what is in front of you

- The back of your body and what is behind you

- The two sides of your body and what is on either side

- The crown of the head and soles of your feet, the earth beneath you and the sky and stars above you.

2. Find the approximate dead centre of your torso, somewhere between your solar plexus and the centre of your chest.

Imagine from that central point lines of light and energy extend out into the six directions simultaneously.

Let your mind follow all six lines simultaneously as they expand out into infinity. By doing this allow your mind to become an open, expansive, limitless empty space. Indentify this limitless, expansive emptiness as Wu qi, primal emptiness or the primal Tao.

At the same time let a part of your mind stay centred and aware of the dead centre of your torso.

If you do this you will feel a sense of being simultaneously centred in your body and limitlessly expansive.

Stay in this state for a while.

3. Now draw back the limitless energy of Wi qi back into your body, along the six directional lines that you extended outward in stage two. From the limitless expanse of primal emptiness feel the energy and light of Wu qi flowing into your temporal body as it exists in time and space, building a strong fulcrum of light and energy in the dead centre of your torso area.

4. Finnish by grounding and relaxing, allow the Qi that you feel in your torso to spread out into the whole of your body. If you like you can finish with a little core cellular breathing just to consolidate the energy into your cellular structure.

© Toby Ouvry 2010, you are welcome to use this article, but you must seek Toby’s permission first! Contact