The supplemental exercises presented in the Earth component of the Earth Dragon Canon method gives you all tools you need for a lifetime of healthy practice. Taking advantage of these tools and using them regularly is a responsibility you must take seriously.
Baguazhang, taijiquan, xingyiquan, and even yiquan allows you to practice the most basic and beneficial of exercises; walking. The internal martial arts require a limited amount of space and have a limitless potential for variety. If you find that your practice is becoming stale, you can learn alternative forms, or change the ones you already know.
The American Heart Association recommends using a pedometer to count the steps you take in a day. From this measurement, you can determine how active or sedentary your lifestyle is. Armed with this information, you can develop a plan to improve your general health.
|Sedentary||less than 5,000|
|Low||5,000 – 7,500|
|Moderate||7,500 – 10,000|
|Active||10,000 or more|
10,000 steps is a long way, about 5 miles, and it is unlikely that you can walk 5 miles of circles in a single baguazhang session, for example, or that you would keep that pace up for very long. At ten steps a circle you need 1000 circles, 500 clockwise and 500 counterclockwise to reach 10,000 steps.
I have walked 1000 circles on days when my spirit would not let me do anything else, but I have never walked 1000 circles in a single session.
You can perform all the exercises presented in the Earth Dragon Canon method every day. You simply do not have that much time. Here are some recommendations to help you make the most of your limited practice time.
Practice for one hour every day. After you have learned the Internal Power Set, you will complete it in about 20 minutes. For baguazhang practice a combination of circle walking or standing postures for the rest of the hour; with the emphasis on walking. For taijiquan practice, attempt to do the complete the form twice in the hour’s remainder, or once, at a very slow pace.
If you do not have an uninterrupted hour in your day, then practice the Internal Power Set early in the day and circle walk or perform taijiquan later in the day.
For baguazhang practice, walk at least three circles in each of the Standing Palms before you choose one of the eight animal postures to focus on for the remainder of your practice. Once a week, go crazy, and mix up a wide variety of changes and postures changing from one to another each time you change directions on the circle. Do not worry about proper form or function; have fun.
If you are traveling and do not have space to perform the circle walking practice, then practice the standing postures. Note that you do not want to put your face onto a hotel room floor, they are not clean. Therefore, you can skip the Internal Power Set for an hour of standing practice. Walk around your hotel room between standing sessions; do not sit down until you have completed your practice.
When you return home, practice the Internal Power Set immediately, it is a great way to recover from travel stiffness and reminds you to get back into your routine.
If you find yourself in front of the television, try practicing the standing postures during commercial breaks. Choose one posture for each commercial break and hold it until the break is over. I understand that this violates the meditation component I discussed in the Attention article, but it is better than lying around.
Try to spend at least 10 minutes in standing practice before you go to bed at night. It will clear your head and help with sleep.
If you can get outside to practice, then you should do so if the air is clean. Practicing in a park near a highway interchange is less healthy than practicing inside. If a neighbor or passerby asks what you are doing, recommend dappergenius.com.