1.He taught his pupils to become aware of their senses. This very much resembles meditation. Pupils will often sit quietly while being guided to become aware of the everything that comes in through their five senses, to be aware of the space around them the dimensions of the room they are in, the distance between them and the person on either side of them in front of them and behind them, to be aware of their respiration, etc.
2.He asked them to be aware of their habitual movements, for instance in sitting down or rising from a chair. Almost everyone tends to throw their head back, or make various extraneous movements, that tend to compress the spine, reduce efficiency, and prevent the more graceful, natural movements one sees in animals like cats. He taught them to pause before moving, to let go of the idea that they are personally operating their musculoskeletal system, which in fact coordinates outside of conscious awareness. People learn to “inhibit” habitual movement, which tends to hold tensions that come from unexpressed emotions that may be held in and not experienced. This pause allows the pupil to
3. “Direct,” a difficult term to understand; but it is to wish for freedom in the body, which will respond to wishes once the habitual tensions are released. When the body responds in a spontaneous, coordinated and naturally efficient way, there is a freedom experienced, a freedom from the need to be the controller, from the need to see “I stood up. I sat down,” when in fact one does these things before even experiencing the desire to do them. It changes the way we perceive ourselves. It accomplishes much of what sitting zazen does, as I see it.