The Central Vertical Line
The central vertical line (CVL) is an internal stretch that exists between the bau hui to the hui yin. I have heard Master Chen refer to this as a “rod” in the body. It should be present whether we’re doing
When I’m starting with students that need to strengthen the CVL, I have them do a guided imagery drill. The guided imagery was taught to me by Richard Johnson when I attended a week long workshop with Master Chen in 2011. I adopted the guided imagery and added a partner component as a means of enhancing the physical understanding and strengthening the central vertical line.
Initially, I explain where the bai hui and hui yin points are located in the body so when I’m giving instructions they are clear with what I’m talking about. I have the student start in a wuji stance. I instruct them to have their feet shoulder width apart. I inform them that their should be straight and as if suspended in the air. I remind them that their shoulders should be above their hips/kuas and their torso should be straight and buttocks slightly tucked. I also inform them to have their knees slightly bent.
I have the student closed their eyes while they are in the wuji stance. I have them imagine that there is a beam of bright white light between there bai hui and hui yin, this is a stretch that is felt. I have them imagine this bright beam of light extends through their , goes into the sky, through the clouds and out into space. I then say that this beam of bright white light goes from their , down their spine , through their hui yin, through the ground down into the middle of the earth. Then I inform them that either myself or their training partner will slightly push on either their left or right shoulder. I instruct them their job is to maintain that beam of light. Then the partner pushes on either shoulder. What I have continuously seen is the CVL doesn’t move and the sides rotate around the CVL. Repeat this process several time with eyes closed to get the feeling. Then repeat this with eyes open. The goal is to physically feel the presence of the CVL.
Once one has the physical understanding of the stretch that is required to create this rod in the body, have that the only thing in mind when training theand doing the . I had the very bad habit of leaning. I trained only focusing on the central vertical line for an entire summer. At the end of that summer we had the practical method Workshop in Iowa City. Master Chen told one of my Taiji brothers, Hugo, I was getting the rod in my body. Henceforth, training something consistently produced a change in my body. I noticed during the sword forms the CVL isn’t consistently present, which lets me know I again need to train with this one stretch in mind. I hope this proves helpful for those seeking to obtain or strengthen their CVL.