This is a basic activity taken from Aikido and further elaborated on for our purposes in Seishindo. Performing this Practice from time to time will give you an active experience of developing a calm presence. When you are feeling fully present you will notice that your thinking mind and your feeling mind are both calm, yet active.
In the beginning you might find that doing this Practice leads you to understand just how fluid and perhaps unstable in some regards, your overall sense of balance is. Although you might not love this experience right from the very first, if you stick with it you will find that this simple Practice can be highly rewarding.
This Practice is a primary part of the process that I teach to people wanting to excel at leadership and public speaking.
Stand in Hanmi
These directions are meant to be “approximate” in nature, and not exact. As you practice standing in “hanmi” you will find that your posture and footing changes some over time. If I was there to show you this in person, it would be quite simple to understand. Use my words as a general guide, and don’t be concerned with whether or not you get it all “just right.”
Stand facing in the direction of the two arrows that run parallel to each other (See the diagram just below). As you stand facing “forward” the arrow splayed to the left represents your left foot, with the “head” of the arrow meant to be the tip of your left foot, and the back of the arrow meant to be your left heel. The arrow splayed to the right represents your right foot. Both feet are splayed at approximately a 45 degree angle from “straight ahead.” If your spine was to extend all the way to the floor, it would touch the floor at the space of the darkened square.
The distance between the two parallel lines with arrows, is about four inches. This alerts you to the fact that your heels and thus the width of your stance as measured from your heels, is about four inches. Both legs are straight, but ever so much soft at the knees. Your weight is equally distributed in both feet.
The distance between the two horizontal vertical lines is also about four inches. This alerts you to how much the toe of the right foot is in front of the heel of the left foot.
Once you have all of the above in place then you rotate your trunk somewhat towards the left, approximately 30 degrees from straight ahead, in the direction of the green arrow.
Gaze out into the distance as if you are looking at a panoramic view.
You can also reverse this stance and have your right foot forward.
When practicing this posture on a regular basis, it is best to alternate from left foot forward to right foot forward, each time you practice. Right foot forward during one time, left foot forward during the next.
Activities for “Riding the Horse” and “Hanmi”
1) Prior to getting into position, develop an “I am” statement.
Think about something that you would like to accomplish. Then, make a statement about what you would like to accomplish, imagining that you have already accomplished your goal.
“I am feeling fit and slim and enjoying my body.”
“I am enjoying my work and my interactions with my colleagues.”
Once you have the statement clearly in mind, stand in hanmi and from time to time, in a nice, slow, relaxed rhythm, repeat your “I am” statement to yourself. If you are by yourself, say you can say your “I am” statement out loud.
At the same time that you are doing all of this, notice from time to time how various aspects of your experience change. Your breathing, the movements of your body, your vision, the sounds around you, etc.
2) Stand in hanmi while practicing giving a speech, or making a declaration to someone.
3) Stand in hanmi and imagine yourself being calm and connected during a time of challenge.
4) Stand in hanmi and pray for the well being of yourself, or someone you care about. Stand in hanmi and imagine getting exactly what is most important to you. Stand in hanmi and give thanks for all that you have.
No matter which activity you do, be certain to take some deep breaths from time to time.