When you feel truly grounded, you will notice energy coming up from the earth and fill you up with energy. Put your tongue up to the roof of your mouth. Don’t make the same mistake, take small steps one at a time. Your lower dantian will then fill up with Qi. Others use a stance that has the weight biased towards the balls of the feet. So, what is actually the difference between them? Now that your feet and knees are in the right posture, we are going to focus on the rest of your lower body. It can be safely said that all Taijiquan masters, all Xingyi masters, most Bagua masters, and many Shaolin masters obtained their internal force from zhan zhuang. “Washing” the face and the taps will not only help to bring your qi back to the surface, to make it easier to reenter your daily life, but also to nourish yourself. You can do bigger taps over your arms and legs. Read up on all the position advice that I will be giving you, check your posture right before you begin and focus on your breath. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. To feel your Qi, it might take time. [7], The amount of time spent practicing Zhan zhuang varies between styles and schools; one may spend anywhere from two minutes to two hours standing in one posture.[8]. Obviously a lower, more erect posture limits a practitioner to around four minutes. The upper body will still be the same for everyone. Well for thinking too much, it’s especially the case in the first 20 minutes. When your thoughts start going all over the place, bring back your awareness to your breath and your qi. – Interview with Anemone, The healing benefits of the mysterious japanese onsen baths. While with standing meditation, I felt more present in my body immediately. If you think about your grocery list and you notice that you got distracted, don’t continue thinking about the chores you have left to do. Unfortunately, there was very little reliable information on the subject until recent times. But what other benefits can you get from practicing the standing meditation? It is the most important exercise in Tai Chi. Now that you have seen how incredible the standing meditation is for your health, your mental wellbeing, your focus, your posture, your energy and even strength, start training your Qi! Hence, much of what follows is only conjecture. If you want to cultivate your qi and learn more about meditation and Qigong, this is an amazing method to practice! It’s ok, just bring them back in the right position when you notice the shift . Mark Cohen, MSC Creative Enterprises, 2013, This page was last edited on 11 December 2020, at 15:59. It is best to practice this meditation in the morning. You can even slightly rotate your forearms upwards to keep your fingers straight and your hands facing your body. They are parallel to each other. This is the second half of a two part essay where I initially defined Zhan Zhuang and will now present some science and theory behind why standing meditation 1) improves health, 2) improves your martial abilities, and 3) reprograms the body. Zhan Zhuang as a fundamental exercise for internal martial arts First of all, Zhan Zhuang is very helpful to condition the body into the correct postural alignment. But all I needed to do was use my muscles to stand like I was used to, while relaxing the rest of the leg. Then, you go in the opposite direction. Don’t worry in the beginning though! Here is the list for when you need to check really fast each position right before starting: Start by sinking your energy into the ground, deep into the earth. When, you feel more energetic again, you can bring them back up to your heart chakra. Start with just a few minutes, focus on relaxing your muscles as much as you can while taking long, deep breaths and try listening to a nice soothing music maybe the first couple of times. Then, go down the back of your head, by going around the back of the ears. Standing Pole - Zhan Zhuang. The goal of Zhan zhuang in martial arts has always been to develop a martially capable body structure,[2] but nowadays most practitioners have again returned to a health-preservation orientation in their training, and few teach Zhan Zhuang as a martial method. You are going to make a circle movement with your hands on your stomach around your dantian. There are no recognisable external movements, although it is a highly energetic exercise system. They are sitting ducks, utterly unable to resist force from any of the four directions. You can read more about the sitting meditation that I practiced here. I learned the standing meditation in Qigong when I trained in the Five Immortals Temple, on top of a mountain, in China. No matter at which level you are at, just remember that it’s very important to keep your pelvis forward. Your body needs time to recharge and restore itself. It’s probably because your energy isn’t able to circulate correctly. For example, if you work a lot at a desk on your computer such as businessmen, entrepreneurs, secretaries, authors, ok a lot of people , than you spend hours each day hunched over. Simply relax, focus on your breath and your dantian. If you aren’t sure about the position, you can pretend that you are about to sit down on a chair while keeping in mind to tuck in your tailbone. Breathe in when you “wash” your face and breathe out when you go back down. With Qigong, you learn to move your Qi and it helps to have a more fluid flow of energy throughout your whole body. Feel your body relax every time you breathe out. Just so you know, it’s normal that your legs and arms shake a little, especially in the beginning. Arms at chest level or in front of the dantian, Head slightly back and being pulled upwards. The goal of Zhan zhuang in martial arts has always been to develop a martially capable body structure, but nowadays most practitioners have again returned to a health-preservation orientation in their training, and few teach Zhan Zhuang as a martial method. Make a circle where you go up on the left and down on the right. This practice is more common. Let us now take a brief look at the origins and development of the form of qigong on which we are concentrating in this work, zhan Zhuang or "Standing Pole" exercises. In Bagua Zhang's circle-walking practice, the upper body is held as a Zhan zhuang posture, while the lower body is more dynamic. It helped me on so many levels, to have more energy in my daily life, feel stronger and to be a better healer! With Qigong, you learn to move your Qi and it helps to have a more fluid flow of energy throughout your whole body, You can read more about the sitting meditation that I practiced here, How I healed chronic pain? Some stances for zhan zhuang involve deeply rooted postures like the xingyi or sanchin stance. When you stand still in the Wuji position, with your body correctly aligned, you are drawing energy (Chi) from the earth, and accelerating its flow throughout your body. Also, with this energy flowing so much in my arms, sometimes, my arms just naturally start to push further away from each other. Pretend that you are putting your arms around a beach ball. The path to Enlightenment from the practice of Tai Chi + 站樁Zhàn zhuāng (pile stance): Shen Ming is the Enlightenment Stage of Tai Chi, Superior to the... Dong Jin” (tai chi and meditation Book 3) by George Ho, Rebecca Ho, et al. The knees should slightly push outward. Then, every time, before you start, check the list again to make sure that they are all fresh in your mind. In Japan the most widely practiced Zen discipline is zazen, or seated meditation. When you will have given it time to do the restorative process, you will see great transformation in your body and internal qi. With sitting meditation, I find it much easier to get stuck in my thoughts or even go into a type of sleeping state. This was a difficult one for me. I want to ensure that people who are curious about it are able to indulge that curiosity easily. Don’t worry if this happens to you, this is normal if you feel the same. The tree metaphor is apt as your legs and torso form the trunk of the tree. The process of “flattening the lumbar curve” is considered important in order to increase your power through a entirely connected body. Iyengar, Yoga Grandmaster In yoga, Asana means posture, bodily position, or form. Raise your arms to your chest level. Relax your fingers and especially your thumbs. It can be used for meditation and qigong, but it also will help improve your Tai Chi. If your fingers start pointing downwards, bring them back to facing each other forwards. The original Zhan zhuang were health methods used by Daoists; in recent centuries, martial artists who already had static standing methods combined these with the internal mechanics of Zhan zhuang to create a superior exercise. [5][6] The Dan Tian is also involved in the practice of Zhan zhuang. It’s important to relax the body as much as possible so that your Qi may circulate correctly. Wuji zhuang is the weakest stance in Chinese martial arts. [4], Zhan Zhuang has a strong connection with Traditional Chinese Medicine. 2. Recenter yourself. I feel that that’s why we get really sick a lot, because we don’t pay attention to the signals our body gives us to tell us that something is wrong. Foreign Languages Press, 1994. You will notice that you can hold this position much longer and your energy flows much more freely! Zhan Zhuang is also practiced in a deep stance with the left hand aligned behind the back at the ming men and the right hand flat and open in front of the eyes. Zhan Zhuang translates as ‘standing like a tree’ or ‘standing on a pole ‘. Master Wang said that Zhan Zhuang can even be adapted and used by people without arms or legs.] In training, we alternate with more dynamic exercises, mindful movements, step training, and partner work. The introduction to Qigong Standing Meditation or Zhan Zhuang (means “standing like a tree’’) is the first video from Meditate with Me series. Everyone can benefit from practicing zhan Zhuang. Try to not let your knees rotate on the inside. At one point, when I was practicing, I started feeling a tingling but also a pins and needles sensation in my arms and hands. Even better, if you can do it right after waking up. I also tried to go too low from the very beginning. How does it work? Keep them aligned and going over your toes. [Has seven standing forms, five seated postures, four lying postures, and three moving postures. Now, imagine that you have a tiny ball underneath each armpit, in order to create a small space. A Testimonial from a Zhan Zhuang Qigong Practitioner Qigong, known as Zhan zhuang (ZZ), is a martial art that changed my life. The most common Zhan Zhuang method is known as Hún Yuán "Completely Round," "Round Smoothness") or Chēng Bào, "The Tree Hugging" stance). I especially noticed that sometimes my whole thigh was super tense. The standing meditation which is called zhan zhuang in Chinese, also means the standing pillar. How long should pole standing be practiced? My tip is when you scan your body and notice that tension, breathe deeply and slowly and focus on relaxing the muscle. Once you are still, you will store your internal Qi into your lower dantian. I believe that a combination of both of these meditations are useful because they do have common benefits of course, but they also have their differences that combine each other so well to heal and have a happier life. I try really, but it seems that after a while, I always end up having that S shape in my back again… Through my meditation, when I start feeling if I need to correct my position, I know I have to start with this part. I was just tensing up my body so much and I tried to do it too long. The lower dantian is basically about three fingers underneath your belly button. GOLDEN BRIDGE AND OTHER ZHAN ZHUANG METHODS Golden Bridge. Other common stances are: Hun Yuan Zhuang, Wu Ji Zhuang, Fu Hu Zhuang, Xiang Long Zhuang and their many variants. It’s normal to feel your body tense up with this position. Not only is it amazing to cultivate your internal energy, but it also promotes longevity! You will do this move 3 times. This significantly reduces stress and the body can concentrate on the stimulation and circulation of blood and oxygen and thus also on qi. Zhan zhuang, or stance training, is the most important single category of exercise for developing internal force. If you have tried the standing meditation, share in the comments your experience and how it felt! Zhan Zhuang is sometimes translated Standing-on-stake, Standing Qigong, Standing Like a Tree, Post-standing, Pile-standing, or Pylon Standing. The most common Zhan Zhuang among all Xing Yi schools is San Ti Shi (it is the stance demonstrated by Sun Lutang in the picture at the beginning of the article). Zhan Zhuang is also called "Standing Stake" or "Standing Like A Pole." The standing meditation which is called zhan zhuang in Chinese, also means the standing pillar. It is just your energy filling up into your arms and it will calm down with your practice. (viii) ... Zhan Zhuang is a simple yet powerful exercise to enhance energy, mental clarity, and internal strength. However in the standard practice of Zhan Zhuang, it is only an advanced option, and is best done only under the supervision of an experienced master teacher. Seated cross-legged isn’t the only good posture for meditation. Think about this in your daily life. So, I opened my eyes to check, but they weren’t close to each other at all and I felt that warmth in my skin. Truth be told, standing meditation can be boring and painful. I was about 19 when I… This practice has recently also become common practice in Taiji and Qigong schools. Zhan zhuang is a form of exercise where you are seeking strength in lack of strength, seeking slight movement in non-movement, seeking fast movement in slight movement. Your lips are closed. So, are you curious to learn how to do the standing meditation? Some schools use the practice as a way of removing blockages in Qi flow, believing Zhan zhuang, when correctly practiced, has a normalizing effect on the body; they claim any habitual tension or tissue shortening (or lengthening) is normalized by the practice, and the body regains its natural ability to function optimally. Then, you can try to do it a couple minutes longer, little by little. If you spend hours crouching over your computer, don’t you feel more tired than usual? The part that is the most difficult for me is remembering to keep tailbone tucked in! The original Zhan zhuang were health methods used by Daoists; in recent centuries, martial artists who already had static standing methods combined these with the internal mechanics of Zhan zhuang to create a superior exercise. On another note, if you start feeling your lower back filling up with Qi, this is very good! Little by little, you will see that it’s easier to be here in the now. Created by Yannick Arm, Benefits of practicing the standing meditation. I know that this part is still difficult for me, but this exercise definitely made a difference, trust me it’s better . The first few times I tried zhan Zhuang, I actually had tears in my eyes from the pain in my legs and arms. Zhàn zhuāng (站樁/站桩, lit. This posture is entirely Daoist in its origins, it has many variations, and is the main training posture in all branches of Yiquan. Relax your pelvis and tuck it under. The most common Zhan zhuang method is known as Hún Yuán (浑圆, "Completely Round," "Round Smoothness") or Chēng Bào (撑抱, "Tree Hugging" stance). However, it’s not only for people who are unhealthy or in pain. It can also be energetic, when your body heals itself. You need patience and to practice on a regular basis! Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Keep on reading! I could instantly focus on relaxing the body. It can be physical, when your body is not used to using these muscles. Stance Keeping: Zhan Zhuang "Body is the bow, asana is the arrow, and soul is the target." Keep your feet shoulder width apart. When your session is finished, bring your arms slowly down to your lower dantian. But, if you have any issues with your upper body or if you start getting tired and you need a break during your practice, bring your arms down in front of your lower dantian (= the center of your energy). -- Internal Arts Journal . Qi gong and more specifically while practicing the standing meditation, I reconnected to my vital energy! If staying at your chest level feels good to you, that’s great, because it’s beneficial to your heart and blood circulation. After a while, you can even try to go up to 30 minutes and see how your body responds . And your feet, sinking and extending down beneath the ground, establish the roots. In the basic Horse-Riding stance, the hands are held in fists at the waist on both sides. 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