The first thing I do in the morning is my 1st Form (Siu Lim Tau). This practice has various intentions:
- I can generally notice differences in my body day-to-day; if I wake up stiffer than usual, I’ll notice this since I have the memory of how my body’s felt in all the other days I’ve done my practice.
- It (sort of) gets me out of bed. This works better on some mornings better than others. :)
- I can address tightness in my body first thing in the morning instead of allowing myself to hold on to it throughout the day without being aware of it.
- I have the habit of practicing my Wingchun wherever I am. I do this on weekdays, weekends, holidays, vacations, traveling, and in foreign countries. It doesn’t matter where I am. You brush your teeth every morning, don’t you? I practice my Wingchun every morning.
- I want to be more flexible as I get older, and in order to do so, I know I need to keep moving my body. I don’t want to leave it to chance.
- It freakin’ feels good, helps to wake me up, and eases me into the day.
- It’s important for me to keep certain parts of me nimble to prevent work injuries, as I’m on my computer for a lot of time at work. Wingchun has helped me keep my shoulders and forearms (and subsequently my wrists) loose. As a programmer, I think it’s part of my job to keep my body in top shape to be able to physically do the work.
In addition to my 1st Form, I have a routine of stretches that I accompany with it. This has adapted over time, and I foresee it constantly evolving as I find more effective stretches and techniques.
My current stretching repertoire:
- One leg on a ledge about waist high, slowly bend forward
- Toe touches
- Elbow across chest, stretching shoulder
- Arms overhead, holding one elbow, stretching triceps
- Wrist stretches
- Rotations around hip joint with motion starting from the core, clockwise and counter-clockwise on each side
- One foot behind me on a ledge about waist high, stretching hip and quads
I follow these stretches up with a sequence of:
- Chain punches in fighting position, turning 180 with a Lan-sau between each set of punches
- Pushing myself forward, initiating the motion with my hips, similar to how a kick is initiated
This whole sequence is automatic to me now, and I don’t have to think about going through it. My body just knows what to do next.
I highly recommend the book Stretching by Bob Anderson. It’s been a great guide and reference. Also, I think it’s goofy how the illustrations have him wearing a beanie in his photos. :)