Just recently I read a book with a conversation between Kiyoshi Oka (a well‐known mathematician) and Hideo Kobayashi (an art critic). Hideo Kobayashi asked Kiyoshi Oka what the number one meant to him, thinking he would talk about mathematics. Oka said that ‘one’ is when a baby stands up for the first time. Its brain must study and figure out the process of coordinating nerves, muscles, balance and gravity. The experience becomes a way for the baby to understand the universe. In essence, ‘one’ means integration.
Being able to stand up and walk is critical as we age. All older people have an aspiration to live independently as long as they can. Mobility is integral to independence.
In teaching elders, Masashi Minagawa and Lee Seaman have found that their students sometimes need to hold onto a table and chair, to steady themselves. However, with practice their balance and strength improve. Later, the students can sometimes stand and move without the chair or table. This gives them a great sense of freedom and confidence.
I think that taking five or six balanced and thoughtful steps in the morning can
help each of us begin the day on a good life frequency, with confidence in our movement.
From Stage 6 in the Ten Position Meditation form (Ritsuiju Meisoho)
In order to make the Flower Walking easier for those with balance issues, I have made
the following modifications:
1) Rather than feet together (heisoku dachi), stand with feet parallel (as in Tai Chi), with feet about one foot length apart – a more balanced and solid stance.
2) Begin by shifting weight over your left foot, then lift the heel of your right foot, toes on the ground (In the past, we used to flatten the right foot but I no longer think this is necessary.)
3) Swing your right foot forward, with toes up at the end, then step forward.
Use a two‐count: (prepare with heel up) 1) swing foot forward 2) step and shift weight. (This replaces the four‐count we used to use.)
4) Directionality: rather than stepping straight forward, use a slight zig‐zag step. Right foot goes out (slightly) diagonally to the right. Left foot goes out (slightly) diagonally to the left.