Friday, March 25, 2011

Taoist meditation and urinary incontinence

In some medical situations, such as after prostate surgery, a patient may encounter the problem of urinary incontinence. This inconvenience can be alleviated through training of one's pelvic floor muscles and the PC muscles in particular. In the practice of Taoist meditation (Taoist yoga or Neidan), activation of the the pelvic floor muscles is an essential foundation training for microcosmic circulation (小周天). Since the pelvic floor muscles are basically involuntary in nature, its proper control can best be trained through meditative practice, and chi-meditation of the Taoist type in particular.

The techniques are as follows:

1. Mental condition: The mind must be in the zone. By that I mean "between sleep and just awake". It is in this mental state, chi can best be created and best be managed or directed by the mind.

2. Posture: seated but without folded legs. Feet confidently touching the ground. Body straight, relaxed but not collaped (check my previous post: Are you on Depression Stance?).

3. Arms position: Basic zhan zhuang position of embracing a tree or meditative position of palms up on the laps (the former can help generate chi quicker for beginning practitioners, but the latter can serve the purpose better ultimately)

4. Hands: Very important. Hands should be stretched but not stiff. This is the Yang (positive), whereas the relaxed body and mind being the Yin (negative). Through the interplay of Yin and Yang, chi will be generated, with our mind observing (and subtly directing) the movement of the chi.

5. Centering: Very important. Meditate at the third eye (position between the eye-lids) and at the dantian (丹田 - one or two inches inside the navel) AND join them with the line by having the third eye "looking" at the dantian. This is essential for the ultimate control of the pelvic floor muscles.

6. Linkage: The linkage with the pelvic floor muscles is from the dantian to the perineum, the latter is situated at the center and therefore, if it can be subtly controlled, can control the total pelvic floor muscles.

7. Breathing: natural breathing in the beginning. In time (and actually quite naturally) change into abdominal breathing. Ultimately, the dantian will become the focal point of breathing (being subtly controlled by the third-eye), and with each breath, the subtle up and down slight movement of the dantian (which is a singular point, not a physical substance, but a chi-center, like the hub of a wheel, which is useful but "empty" in itself) can activate the muscles in the perineum and in its turn can activate any area in the pelvic floor muscles as directed by the mind (or third-eye where the mind is located).

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