Standing Meditation


Standing Meditation,
Wuji Zhuang, Tadasana, Zhan Zhuang (Stance Keeping, Standing Post)
San Ti Shi,  Embrace the One, Open Hands and Close Hands, Hold the Magic Pearl, Yi Quan,
Hugging the Tree, Bear Posture


Rooting Deeply Into Tranquility, Power and Vitality
A Chinese Meditation and Qigong (Energy Work)  Discipline
A Hatha Yoga Posture: Tadasana 
Still, Quiet and Attentive Standing Posture
Outdoor Meditation, Nature Mysticism



Bibliography     Links     Resources     Practices     Quotations       

Still, Quiet and Attentive Standing Posture (Wu Ji Zhuang, Tadasana)

Standing Post and Embrace the One     Hug the Tree     Three Realms Posture (San Ti Shi)    

Open Hands and Close Hands     Bear Posture     Prayer Posture         

Ways of Walking     Walking Meditation     Qigong and Neigong     Yoga    

Cloud Hands Blog     The Spirit of the Last Gardener Standing     Druids   

 

Research by
Michael P. Garofalo

© Green Way Research, Valley Spirit Qigong, Red Bluff, California, 2004-2015. 

Disclaimer
 

 

 

 

 

 

Standing Meditation
Bibliography, Links, Resources

Standing Meditation, Wuji Zhuang, Tadasana, Zhan Zhuang (Stance Keeping, Standing Post)
 

 

  A Note to Readers:  The Cloud Hands webpages have been online continuously since 2001.  In 2009, over 1,350,000 webpages (excluding graphics) were served to readers around the world from the websites: Cloud Hands T'ai Chi Ch'uan, Valley Spirit Qigong, Walking, Taoism, Meditation and Yoga.  Since 2005, I have also provided information about Taijiquan and Qigong at my Cloud Hands Blog.  Since these mind-body arts websites are very well-established and stable websites, they provide readers with a good and secure starting point for their online research into Taijiquan and Chi Kung. The Cloud Hands websites are funded entirely by Green Way Research, with volunteer efforts by Michael P. Garofalo
    Unfortunately, as everyone knows, many other websites and webpages, documents, and videos appear and then disappear from the Internet scene.  Authors do not pay to keep up their web hosting services, loose a "free hosting" option, change filenames, recode away from HTML, or decide to remove the webpages for various reasons.  Consequently, links to some good webpages or videos become invalid and the files are no longer found on the Internet.  You may find a some of these "dead links" to nonexistent webpages or videos cited below; and, there is no way to avoid this troublesome situation.  For this reason, when you do find a good and useful webpage, be sure to save the webpage to a folder on your hard drive or server. 
    I welcome your suggestions for how to improve this webpage.  Your comments, ideas, contributions, and constructive criticism are encouraged.  Send your suggestions to my email box.

 

 

Aligned, Relaxed, Resilient:  The Physical Foundations of Mindfulness.   By Will Johnson.  Boston, Shambhala, 2000.  137 pages.  ISBN: 1570625182. 


Alphabetical Index to the Valley Spirit Qigong and Cloud Hands Taijiquan Websites


Anatomy of Hatha Yoga: A Manual for Students, Teachers and Practitioners
.   By H. David Coulter.  Foreword by Timothy McCall.  Honesdale, Pennsylvania, Body and Breath, 2001.  Index, bibliography, appendices, 623 pages.  ISBN: 0970700601.  2002 winner of the Benjamin Franklin Award for Health, Wellness and Nutrition.  


Animal Frolics:  Bibliography, Links, Quotes, Notes


Animal Frolics Standing Meditation.   UTube Video, 2:36. 


Bear Spirit Standing Posture


Behind the Zhan Zhuang Training 

 

If need some help for actualtests itil and certkiller itil then get the latest testking itil dumps compiled by our certified experts to help you pass testking 640-816 in first attempt. You can also download testking 350-001.

 

Being Effortless with Fong Ha


Body Stories: A Guide to Experiential Anatomy.  Expanded Edition.  By Andrea Olsen in collaboration with Caryn McHose.  Barrytown, New York, Station Hill Openings of Barrytown, Ltd., 1998.  Index, bibliography, 168 pages.   ISBN: 1581770235.


Breathing: Bibliography, Links, Resources, Quotations, Notes


Chi Kung Standing Meditation.   Instructional CD with guided meditations. 


Chen Taijiquan Post Standing Posture   


Chi Kung: The Chinese Art of Mastering Energy.  By Yves Requena.  Healing Art Press, 1996.  120 pages.  ISBN: 0892816392.  


Cloud Hands Blog by Mike Garofalo


Cultivating Stillness: A Taoist Manual for Transforming Body and Mind.  Translated with an introduction by Eva Wong.  With a commentary by Shui-ch'ing Tzu.  Illustrated by Hun-yen Tsu.  Boston, Shambhala Press, 1992.  156 pages.  ISBN: 0877736871. 


Di Guoyong on Xingyiquan, Volume I: Five Element Foundation.  By Di Guoyong (1948-).  Translated and edited by Andrea Falk.  223 pages.  Victoria, B.C., Canada, TGL Books.  Appendices.  ISBN: 0768751768.   Post Standing, Chapter Two, pp. 7-36.  Valuable information in this book on Post Standing.    


Ecstatic Body Postures: An Alternate Reality Workbook.  By Belinda Gore.  Foreword by Felicitas Goodman.  Santa Fe,  New Mexico, Bear and Company, 1995.  Endnotes, 284 pages.  ISBN: 1879181223.  


Eight Section Brocade Qigong    Eight Treasures Chi Kung.   By Michael P. Garofalo.   Instructions, notes, links, bibliography, quotations, and charts.  Baduanjin, Pa Tuan Jin, Eight Silken Treasures, Ba Duan Jin, Pal Dan Gum, Ba Duan Gin, Pa Tin Kam, Otto Pezzi di Tesoro.  Between each of the eight postures is a period of Wu Ji. 


Five Animal Frolics    Wu Ji is used to rest between each Frolic, and afterwards for meditation.   


"Fong Ha on Yiquan Practice."  Interview of Fong Ha by Robert Teachout and Kiren Ghei.  T'ai Chi: The International Magazine of T'ai Chi Ch'uan, Vol. 29, No. 1, February 2005, pp. 26-32.  


The Four Paradoxes of Standing Meditation.  By Wang Xiangzhai, the founder of Yi Quan


Guided Standing Meditation: Awaken Healing Light.   By Mantak Chia.  Instructional DVD, 60 minutes. 


Garofalo, Michael P. M.S.   Yoga and Qigong Teacher, Red Bluff, California  


Google Index - Zhan Zhuang  


The Healing Promise of Qi: Creating Extraordinary Wellness Through Qigong and Tai Chi.  By Roger Jahnke, O.M.D..  Chicago, Contemporary Books, 2002.   Index, notes, extensive recommended reading list, 316 pages.  ISBN: 0809295288.
  


History of Yi Quan   


Honoring the Medicine: The Essential Guide to Native American Healing.  By Kenneth "Bear Hawk" Cohen.  New York, Ballantine Books, 2003.  Bibliography, notes, index, resources, 429 pages.  ISBN: 0345435133.  "The Paleolithic Posture," pp. 240-251. 


Index to the Cloud Hands Website


Inside Zhan Zhuang: First Edition  By Mark Cohen.  MSC Creative Enterprises, 2013.  258 pages.  ISBN: 978-0988317888.  "Zhan Zhuang: What Really Happens When We Stand?"  By Mark Cohen.  Qi: Journal of Traditional Eastern Health and Fitness, Volume 23, No. 4, Winter, 2013-2014, pp.36-44.

 

 


Ku Meditation Club Handbook   


Kyudo - Japanese Archery


Kyudo - Standing Meditation in Archery  


Magic Pearl Qigong: A Tai Chi Medicine Ball Exercise Routine and Meditation Technique.  Developed by Michael Garofalo. 

 

Masters of Perception: Sensory-Motor Integration in the Internal Martial Arts  By Jan Diepersloot.  Warriors of Stillness Series, Part 3.  Qi Works, 2013.  212 pages.  ISBN: 978-0985986506. 


Meditation: Bibliography, Links, Resources, Quotations, Notes  
By Mike Garofalo. 


Mindfulness Meditation While Standing


Neigong.Net   A blog on qigong. 


Qigong (Chi Kung): Links and Bibliography 

 

A monk asked Zhaozhou, "What is the living meaning of Chan Buddhism?."   Zhaozhou said,
"The cypress tree in the courtyard."
      -  Mumonkan, Koan 37

Zhan Zhuang (Standing Like a Tree)


The Oak Tree in the Courtyard


Opening the Energy Gates of Your Body (The Tao of Energy Enhancement.  By Bruce Kumar Frantzis.  Illustrated by Husky Grafx.  North Atlantic Books, 1993.  Second Edition.  174 pages.  ISBN: 1556431643.


"Un Pas Vers la Vitalité," Une Expérience Energétique dans L'approche des Troubles Anxieux et Dépressifs.  Quebec, June, 1998.  


Philosophy of Yi Quan 


Practice Standing Meditation.  By Elizabeth Reninger. 


Primordial Wuji Qigong from Wudang Mountain Taoists.  By Mike Garofalo. 


Remembering Wu Ji.  By Jonathan J. Dickau.  17Kb.  


Re-realize Zhanzhuang.   Li Jiong.  


Ripening Peaches:  Taoist Studies and Practices


San Ti Shi, Three Body Posture, Trinity Posture, Heaven-Man-Earth Posture,  Spirit-Mind-Body Posture 


San Ti Shi Visualization Exercise  


Scientific Research on Sitting and Standing Qigong Meditation Exercises.  Center for Taiji Studies. 


The Spirit of the Garden    Over 3,500 quotations, poems, sayings and proverbs arranged by over 200 Topics for gardeners and Lovers of the Green Way and Tree Huggers Everywhere. 


Standing Chi Kung
Meditation.   12K   


Standing Meditation    By Michael Gilman. 


Standing Meditation: Doing Nothing and Finding Contentment in Being Alight.   Body /Mind Qigong Center,1997   57 page illustrated booklet on standing meditation.  


Standing Meditation - General


Standing Meditation for Tai Chi.   By Cynthia McMullen, LMT.  8Kb.  


Standing Meditation Links    


Standing Postures in Qigong


"Standing Still Like a Tree."  By Victoria Windholtz.  T'ai Chi: The International Magazine of T'ai Chi Ch'uan: Volume 19, No. 6, December, 2005, pp. 6-9.  


Stand Still - Be Fit    


Stillness in Movement    Sifu Fong Ha.   Integral Ch'uan Institute.  


Subject Index to the Cloud Hands (Taijiquan and Qigong) Website
 


Sun Lu Tang's Internal Martial Arts: Baguazhang, Xingyiquan, Taijiquan, and Qigong.  Bibliography, Links, Quotes, Resources, Instructions.   


Sun Style of T'ai Chi Ch'uan: Standard Competition 73 Movements Form.  Research by Michael P. Garofalo, M.S..  Webpage: 450Kb, June 2008.  This webpage includes an introduction, information on the history of the Sun Taijiquan forms, a detailed bibliography, extensive links, references to video resources, a large collections of quotations about Sun Taijiquan, recommendations on the best media resources on the topic, and suggestions for learning the 73 competition Sun Taijiquan form.  A detailed comparative list of the names of each of the 73 movements is provided, with source references, and the movement names are given in English, Chinese, Chinese characters, French, German, and Spanish.  This webpage includes detailed descriptions of each of the 73 movements with black and white illustrations for each movement sequence along with commentary and comparisons.  Many additional nomenclature lists and section study charts in the PDF format, photographs and graphics are also provided - over 1.3 MB of information.  This webpage is the most detailed and complete document on the subject of the Sun Taijiquan Competition 73 Form available on the Internet.  This document was published by  Green Way Research, Valley Spirit Taijiquan, Red Bluff, California, 2008.   URL: http://www.egreenway.com/taichichuan/sun73.htm.


Sun Style of Tai Chi Chuan   Grandmaster Sun Lu Tang recommended San Ti Shi or Wu Ji Standing Meditation. 

 

The Cloud Hands Blog by Mike Garofalo



Tadasana - Google Search


Tadasana:  Hatha Yoga Standing Posture, Standing Tall, Basic Standing Posture  -  Instructions  


Tai Chi Sword.  By Michael P. Garofalo.  This popular webpage includes a comprehensive bibliography, scores of links to webpages; an extensive listing of the names and name variations for each movement  in English, Chinese, French, German, and Spanish; a detailed analysis of each posture and movement sequence with explanations and numbered illustrations and detailed instructions; selected quotations; comments on 20 Taijiquan sword techniques; a comprehensive media bibliography; a chart of performance times; and, a comparison of the 32 and 55 sword forms in the Yang style.  This is the standard, simplified, orthodox, 1957, 32 Taiji Sword Form, in the Yang Style of Taijiquan. This is the standard, simplified, orthodox, 1957, 32 Taiji Sword Form, in the Yang Style of Taijiquan. © Michael P. Garofalo, Valley Spirit Taijiquan, Green Way Research, Red Bluff, California, January 2008.  350Kb+. 


Taiki-ken - Zhan Zhuang


Taijiquan and Standing-Posture Meditation (Zhan Zhuang).  By Chen Yaoting.  15Kb.  


T'ai Chi Ch'uan: Guides, Bibliographies, Links, Quotations, Resources, Notes  All Taijquan forms begin with Wu Ji, a period of time to compose oneself, relax, gain control of attention and concentration (Yi - Mind).  The length of time to stand in Wu Ji varies between Taijiquan styles.  Master Sun Lu-Tang recommended long periods of Wu Ji or San Ti Shi.   


The Tao of Natural Breathing: For Health, Well Being, and Inner Growth.   By Dennis Lewis.  Mountain Wind Pub., 1997.  Index, 208 pages.  ISBN: 0965161102.  Foreward by Taoist Master Mantak Chia.  Information.


Tao of Yiquan: The Method of Awareness in the Martial Arts.  Volume 2 of the Trilogy: Warriors of Stillness.  Meditative Traditions in the Chinese Martial Arts.   By Jan Diepersloot.  Walnut Creek, CA, Center for Healing and the Arts, 1999.  Index, notes, 272 pages.   ISBN: 0964997614.  


Taoism


Taoist Standing Practice - Core Stability    San Ti Shi instructions. 


Thirteen Questions About Standing Meditation.   By Ed Ramirez. 


"Traditional Chinese Therapuetic Exercise - Standing Pole."  Wang Xuanjie and J.P.C. Moffett.  Foreign Language Press, Beijing, 1994.    ISBN: 7119006967.   


Trees and Mysticism


Trees - Quotes, Poems, Sayings   


Trinity Posture (San Ti Shi), Three Body Posture, Trinity Posture, Heaven-Man-Earth Posture,  Spirit-Mind-Body Posture 


Valley Spirit Center    Red Bluff, California 


Valley Spirit Qigong


"The Vital Importance of the Qigong Tree Hugging Experience and Installation."  By Steven Kh Aung, M.D.  Qi: The Journal of Traditional Eastern Health and Fitness: Spring 2005, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp. 36-43.  


"La Voie de L'énergie," Maitre Lam Kam Chuen.  Le Courrier du Livre, 1994.  


Warriors of Stillness: Meditative Traditions in the Chinese Martial Arts
.  Volume 1.  The Teachings of Grandmaster Cai Song Fang.  Qigong Qi of the Center, Essence of Taijiquan.   By Jan Diepersloot.  Walnut Creek, California, Center for Healing and the Arts.  Glossary, 226 pages.  ISBN:  0964997606.  A study of Wu Ji meditation and its T'ai Chi Ch'uan applications.     


Warriors of Stillness, Volume 2: The Tao of Yiquan.  By Jan Diepersloot.  

 

 

Zhan Zhuang (Standing Like a Tree)

 


The Way of Energy: Mastering the Chinese Art of Internal Strength with Chi Kung Exercise.   By Master Lam Kam Chen.  New York, Fireside, Simon and Schuster, 1991.  A Gaia Original. Index, 191 pages.  ISBN: 0671736450.  This book can serve as a fine introduction to Zhan Zhuang.  It is the first reference book on Zhan Zhuang in English for the Western reader.  The foreword is by Professor Yu Yong Nian, D.D.S., an highly respected expert and author of books in Chinese on Zhan Zhuang.  Master Lam Kam Chen had 50 years of experience with the practice of Zhan Zhuang when he wrote this book, with the assistance of Richard Reoch, in 1991.  Master Lam studied with numerous masters in Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China before moving to London in 1991 to open a medical clinic.  This book is strongly influenced by "the form of martial art known as the Great Achievements ShadowBoxing, Da Cheng Chuan," created by Wang Xiang Zhai (1886-1963), who was also a Yiquan Master. 


The Way of Qigong: The Art and Science of Chinese Energy Healing.  By Kenneth S. Cohen.  Foreword by Larry Dossey.  New York Ballantine Books, 1997.  Index, notes, appendices, 427 pages.  ISBN: 0345421094.   One of my favorite books: comprehensive, informative, practical, and scientific; probably the best qigong text.  Chaper Ten, Standing Like A Tree, pp. 133-147, discusses standing meditation.  "The Chinese term for Standing Meditation is Zhan Zhuang, "Standing Post.""


Wild Goose Qigong:  Links, Bibliography, Quotes, Notes   


Willpower: Quotes, Links, Bibliography, Resources    


Wu Dang Qigong:  Bibliography, Links, Quotes, Resources, Notes, Lessons   


Wu Ji or Tadasana:  Standing Tall, Basic Standing Posture  -  Instructions


Wuji (Primordial) Qigong from Wudang Mountain Taoists.  By Mike Garofalo. 


Wuyiquan: Zhan Zhuang  


Xing Yi Nei Gong: Xing Yi Health Maintenance and Internal Strength Development.  Compiled and edited by Dan Miller and Tim Cartmell.  Orange, CA, Unique Publications, 1999.  200 pages.  ISBN: 0865681740.  "Xing Yi Nei Gong  includes (1) the Sixteen Nei Gong exercises handed down by the famous Xing Yi master Wang Ji Wu (1891-1991) described in detail and shown in clear, easy-to-follow photographs of Wang Ji Wu's disciple Zhang Bao Yang (1922- ) plus historic photographs of Wang performing the same set, (2) invaluable 25+ pages chapter on Xing Yi's foundational Standing Practice (San Ti Shi) ..."  Xing Yi Quan Standing Practice, by Tim Cartmell, pp. 58-75. 


Xing Yi Quan (Hsing I Chuan): Bibliography, Links, Resources, Quotes, Notes


Yak Riders on Meditation Methods


Yiquan.   By Karel Koskuba.  


"Yiquan and the Nature of Energy: The Fine Art of Doing Nothing and Achieving Everything."  By Hong Fa.  California, 1994.  


Yi Quan - General Principles


Yi Quan Online  


Yi Quan, Wang Xiang-Zhai's School


Yiquan: Power of Mind.  Karel Koskuba.  31Kb.   A very good read.  


Yi Quan and Relaxation.   By Gregory Fong.  


Yi Quan: Up/Down Training: The Key to I Chuan's Six Powers    By Gregory Fong. 


Yi Quan - Wikipedia   Yi Quan , also known as Dacheng Quan, is a martial art system which was founded by the Chinese xingyiquan master, Wang Xiangzhai (王薌齋).   Wang Xiangzhai (Chinese:王薌齋; Wade-Giles: Wang Hsiang-chai, 1885-1963), also known as Nibao, Zhenghe, Yuseng or as "demon's fist" - was a Chinese xingyiquan master, responsible for founding the martial art of yiquan.  Yi Quan uses Zhan zhuang (站樁) - Motionless postures, where emphasis is put on relaxation, working to improve perception of the body and on developing Hunyuan Li, or "all round force". Zhan zhuang can also be divided into two different types of postures; health postures and combat postures.


Yoga: Guides, Bibliographies, Links, Resources, Quotations, Notes   


Yoga of the Mahamudra: The Mystical Way of Balance.  By Will Johnson.  Rochester, Vermont, Inner Traditions, 2005.   151 pages.  ISBN:  0892816996.  


Yuli Qigong.  By Jeff Smoley.  Wujigong, Zhan Zhuang, 5 Animal Frolics, Jade Power Qigong, and Eight Section Brocade.  Jeff borrowed my disclaimer


Zhan Zhuang   


Zhan Zhuang.   In German.     


Zhan Zhuang: Details Anatomiques.  


Zhan Zhuang From an I-Chuan Perspective.   By Gregory Fong.


Zhan Zhuang: Meditar Como Un Arbol


Zhan Zhuang Qi Gong   In German.  


Zhang Zhuang - Foundation of Internal Martial Arts.  By Karel Koskuba.  33Kb.  An excellent informative article on the topic.  


Zhan Zhuan Gong (Estar Quieto Como Un Arbol)   A very good article with photographs in Spanish.  


Zhan Zhuang Gong: Postures for Rooting   


Zhan Zhuang Gong Music.   Wind Records, 2000.  CD.  ASIN: B00004SR3K.


Zhan Zhuang: Posture de L'Arbre   French


Zhan Zhuang: Standing Like a Tree   


"Zhan Zhuang: The Art of Getting Fit."  By Victoria Windholtz.  Tai Chi: The International Magazine of T'ai Chi Ch'uan: Vol. 30, No. 3, June, 2006, pp 39-44.   Photos and descriptions of a lying down version of Zhan Zhuang are provided.  


"Zhan Zhuang: What Really Happens When We Stand.  By Mark Cohen.  Tai Chi: The International Magazine of T'ai Chi Ch'uan: Vol. 36, No. 1, Spring, 2012, pp 14-19.  A very interesting, informative, and detailed essay. 


Zuowang Daoist Meditation 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Standing Meditation

Practices and Methods

 

1.  Still, Quiet and Attentive Standing Posture (Wu Ji Zhuang, Tadasana)

2.  Embrace the One, Root Like a Tree, Hold the Magic Pearl, Hug the Trunk

3.  San Ti Shi, Three Body Posture, Trinity Posture, Heaven-Man-Earth Posture,  Spirit-Mind-Body Posture 

4.  Chen Taijiquan Post Standing Posture 

5.  Bear Spirit Standing Posture

6.  Open Hands and Close Hand Movements in Standing Posture

7.  Anjali Mudra and Tadasana, Standing Prayer Posture, Greetings Namaste

 

 

 

1.  Still, Quiet and Attentive Standing
 

Basic Standing Posture, Standing Tall, Stand Up Straight
Still, Quiet and Attentive Standing Posture
Tadasana (Mountain Pose, Indian Yoga)
Wuji Zhuang
(Standing for Emptiness, Quiet Standing, Standing in Emptiness, Chinese Qigong) 
Return to Wuji, Come to Rest, Be Still and Listen While Standing
Arms Held Close to the Body
 


Basic Description: 

Stand up in a poised, dignified, quiet, still, attentive, silent, and relaxed manner; keep the arms and hands close to the body; and, remain standing like this.


Detailed Description:

Keep your feet close together OR Keep your feet separated by 6" to 18" 
     
Master Sun Lu-Tang kept his feet together for Wu Ji.  Keeping your feet together
      will require more attention to balance and holding to the plumb-vertical.  
      A rule to use is "Place your feet at a "comfortable" distance apart."  
      Some keep the inside of the feet aligned with the inside of the armpits.
      Mountain Pose (Tadasana) practitioners keep the feet closer together. 
      Both of your feet should be pointed straight ahead and flat on the floor.
     
Some turn the feet slightly outward at a 45° angle.
      You decide on a comfortable position of your feet for standing still for 10 minutes or much longer.

You should feel stable, centered, rooted to the earth.
Imagine human and earth energies streaming and exchanging between the Bubbling Well acupuncture point on the bottom of your foot.  Imagine roots from your feet extending five feet underground into the Earth. 

 
Relax your body (
Sung: loose, untensed, open, relaxed, calm).
Clear your mind.  Set aside your thoughts on the work and worries of the day.
Keep a pleasant look on your face - a soft
gentle smile is beneficial.  

Keep your head up and look forward. 
      The crown of the head should be lifted.  
Your eyes should be open, with a soft and wide angle focus.
       Use the method of looking/seeing called
ping shi or "level gaze."
       Some close the eyes during Wu Ji standing meditation.  

Breathe in and out in a relaxed, easy, and regular manner.  
       Use the abdominal
breathing techniques.
            Abdomen relaxes, softens, and drops on the inhale
            Abdomen draws in and up on the exhale  
       Breathe deeply and exhale fully.
       Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
       Keep your lips parted slightly.
       Breathing should be natural, relaxed, and not requiring your attention.  
       Some recommend that you keep the tip of your tongue lightly touching the roof of your mouth.

Arm Position
a)  Your arms should hang down in a relaxed manner at your sides.
     The palms of your hands should face the thighs and lightly touch them.  
     Relax the shoulders and let them hang down.   

 

 

           

 

                  

 

    
               

"This posture is often called the "Wu Ji" Posture in Taijiquan.  It is the resting position, the position before any motion begins, a state of "grand emptiness."  It is the primordial condition - empty, free, motionless, without qualities.  It precedes the movement of Yin/Yang both logically and temporally.  The classics talk of Wu Ji giving birth to Tai Ji, emptiness transforming itself into the manifold of cyclic dualities, the ten thousand things, The Many.  Our bodies are still, quiet, standing, motionless, and inside our hearts contract and relax, our blood moves up through arteries and veins, we breath in and out, our two feet and two arms help keep us in balance as we stand, our mind may be calm and focused but billions of neurons are quite busy in our brains creating that phenomenon we directly apprehend as our consciousness of standing quietly.  Then, at some point, Tai Chi or Taiji, at the moment of the Grant Ultimate, and moving with with two feet, two legs, two arms, and two eyes (Two, Yin/Yang), we begin to move and perform some Taijiquan form (e.g., Standard 24 Form) or a set of some Qigong  exercise routine (e.g., Eight Section Brocade Qigong).   

The concept of Wu Ji has symbolic, allegorical, Taoist, or figurative interpretations. 

"Return to Wu Ji" is also an expression I use to my Taijiquan and Qigong classes to tell or que the exercisers to return to a standing position, keep their feet closer together or touching, keep their arms to their sides, stand quietly, be still, be silent, be attentive and alert, listen, relax, rest, and stand for awhile. 

Students should note that this posture the same as the Yoga posture of Tadasana - the Mountain Pose, if arms and hands are held close to the body (e.g., Anjali Mudra).  We should stand like a Mountain: strong, stable, unmoving, grand, still, aloof, above the mundane, powerful, accepting but unbroken by the storms of ideas, and avalanches of strong emotions and real worries.

The positions of the arms in this posture can and do vary somewhat.  I prefer a Wu Ji Standing posture with both of my arms down and my hands lightly touching the outside of my thighs, with my feet less that 6" inches apart.  After a long while standing still in my Wu Ji Standing Posture maybe I might then slowly move my arms up and fold them together at my midsection, or bring my hands together in front of my heart (Anjaii Mudra), or put my hands on top of my head and clasp my fingers together, or place my hands over my Dan Tien in the lower intestine below the belly button area; all, of course, while I continue to stand in one place, still and quiet, for long periods of time.  

One fundamental aspect of the practice is how many minutes you can remain standing still, quiet, and attentive in the Wu Ji Standing Posture.  Experiment and experience the effects. 

Remaining still and quiet while sitting or standing are the two basic physical postures of and for meditation and spiritual practices. 

Standing Still, like a tree, both of us rooted in the Earth, not speaking, aware of the environment, intertwining roots, and allowing myself to have mystical experiences." 

-  Michael P. Garofalo,
The Eight Section Brocade Qigong
 

 

Empty Standing Posture: Wu Ji Zhuang

 

"Body is the bow,
asana is the arrow,
and soul is the target."
-   B.K.S. Iyengar

 

"The body extends upwards, with the base as firm as a rock; the mind is steady and attentive.  Tadasana teaches balance, centering and evenness and direction of extensions.  These principles apply to all the postures."
-   B.K.S.  Iyengar

 

 

I recommend the following books on Wuji Zhuang, Tadasana, Still, Quiet and Attentive Standing:

Warriors of Stillness: Meditative Traditions in the Chinese Martial Arts.  By Jan Diepersloot.

Xing Yi Nei Gong.  Compiled and edited by Dan Miller and Tim Cartmell.  Pages 58-93. 

Di Guyong on Xingyiquan.  Translated and edited by Andrea Falk.  Pages 7-36. 

 

 

"Start in a standing position, with your feet parallel and spaced a shoulder-width apart.  Slightly bend your knees.  Your back should be straight, with your buttocks tucked and your pelvis thrust slightly forward.  Your shoulders must be relaxed and your chest slightly concave, with the chest muscles relaxed.  Do not slouch or round your shoulders too much.  Your body should be relaxed.  Focus your eyes straight ahead, mentally lining up your nose with your navel."
-  Jane Hallander,
Tai Chi Chuan's Internal Secrets, p. 17

 

 

"Stand with the bases of your big toes touching, heels slightly apart (so that your second toes are parallel). Lift and spread your toes and the balls of your feet, then lay them softly down on the floor. Rock back and forth and side to side. Gradually reduce this swaying to a standstill, with your weight balanced evenly on the feet.

Firm your thigh muscles and lift the knee caps, without hardening your lower belly. Lift the inner ankles to strengthen the inner arches, then imagine a line of energy all the way up along your inner thighs to your groins, and from there through the core of your torso, neck, and head, and out through the crown of your head. Turn the upper thighs slightly inward. Lengthen your tailbone toward the floor and lift the pubis toward the navel.

Press your shoulder blades into your back, then widen them across and release them down your back. Without pushing your lower front ribs forward, lift the top of your sternum straight toward the ceiling. Widen your collarbones. Hang your arms beside the torso.

Balance the crown of your head directly over the center of your pelvis, with the underside of your chin parallel to the floor, throat soft, and the tongue wide and flat on the floor of your mouth. Soften your eyes.

Tadasana is usually the starting position for all the standing poses. But it's useful to practice Tadasana as a pose in itself. Stay in the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute, breathing easily."
- Tadasana, Yoga Journal


 

 


"Our legs are the foundation for movement and action since they carry our weight while walking. They should be firm and steady to hold the brain, which is the seat of intelligence, in correct alignment with the spine. Hence, the standing poses are elementary to yoga. They are designed to bring flexibility and make the body strong and steady. 

'Tada' means a mountain and sama upright, unmoved. 'Sthiti' means standing still. 'Tadasana', therefore, implies a pose where you stand firm and erect like a mountain. 'Tada' also means a palm tree growing straight. This is the basic standing pose.
 
1. Remain as natural as you are when standing.

2. Keep the feet together, toes and inner heels touching and the arch raised.

3. Rest the feet flat on the ground and stretch all toes.

4. Heels should not come off the floor and the weight should be exactly in the center of the feet.

5. Tighten the knees and pull up the kneecaps. Compress the hips and pull the muscles at the back of the thighs up.

6. Keep the spine erect, raise the sternum and expand the chest.

7. Keep the stomach in and the neck straight.

8. Do not lift the shoulders when you keep the arms by the sides of the body, fingertips extending downwards and palms facing the thighs.

9. Stand still for 20 to 30 seconds and breathe normally.
"
-   B.K.S. Iyengar  

 


"Tadasana, a position in Yoga, is also called Mountain Pose. It is a very basic standing pose with the feet together and the hands at the sides of the body. Yoga practitioners consider it a pose that promotes confidence and happiness as well as improving posture and creating space within the body. This creating space within the body may allow internal organs to work more efficiently thus improving respiration, digestion and elimination. The pose strengthens the abdomen and the legs. It may help relive sciatica and reduce flat feet. Poses that help prepare for Tadasana include Adho Mukha Svanasana and Uttanasana. Although Tadasana is a very basic pose it is the basis for many standing poses. Urdhva Hastasana is a very similar pose with the hands raised above the head."
-   Tadasana, Wikipedia    

 

Tadasana - Google Search  

 

"Return to Wuji" is a little like the "Parade Rest" command used with U.S. military formations of standing soldiers, except that in Parade Rest the arms are clasped behind the back and the feet are wider apart.  The soldier looks forward at the speaker.  The soldier stands still and quiet. 

 

"Tadasana is perhaps the most basic yoga pose. All yoga poses are called asana and the word tada translates from Sanskrit to mountain, thus this is the 'mountain posture'. As it is a very simple and restful pose it is usually one of the very first that must be mastered by a new student. It is the base for all the other asanas, particularly the standing ones.

The pose is often done at the beginning of a yoga routine, either as the first one, or perhaps after some simple sitting poses such as virasana or sukhasana. It can also be practised in between more strenuous poses to regain an even control of the breath and refocus and re-center the body. For the same reasons, it can also be done before entering a meditation period. Many people also find it beneficial to practise first thing in the morning after getting out of bed to align and refresh the body before the day.

Although the pose looks simple, and indeed is the most simple of the asanas, it still takes much practise and concentration to master all the different areas of the body and combine them into a strong yet relaxed posture. Placing the body correctly from the beginning is of utmost importance as this will help the pose to be balanced for its entirety.

The ideal when practising tadasana is that the ankles, knees, hips, shoulders and ears are exactly in a straight, vertical line. At first, this may take a surprising amount of concentration and effort. In order for your body to be lined up this way, its base, that is your feet, must be lined up. Think about the way people stand most of the time, they pretty much always lean one way or the other. Resting most of their weight on one leg, perhaps switching between the two, or standing with one leg placed more forward that the other. Even when sitting ones feet are hardly ever planted flat and together on the floor.

That is why this pose is so important and teaches many of the fundamental disciplines needed to carry out other standing poses successfully. Balance, alignment, concentration and awareness of the body are all focused on whilst practicing tadasana. When one first begins to practise it is very important to take care when doing each of the following steps so that the end result is good. As one becomes more experienced the body will more naturally align its self, and many of the steps will become less conscious.

If this all sounds a bit confusing just reading through it - and it can be - just stand up and try do it step by step, it makes a lot more sense that way, as you can feel what your body naturally does and what you should be trying to achieve."
-   Tadasana@Everything

 

"To review, the basic elements of the Paleolithic Posture are:  Feet under the shoulders.  Slightly bent knees.  Receiving and feeling the ground.  Long, straight spine.  Relaxed as possible.  Eyes open with a wide, level gaze.  Slow, quiet belly breathing.  Awareness.  Whole body alive."
-  Kenneth Cohen, Honoring the Medicine, p.246

 

 

 

 

 

Zhan Zhuang (Standing Like a Tree)

 

 

 

2.  Embrace the One
 

Cosmic Post Posture, Post Standing, Hold the Ball, Embrace the Tree's Trunk
Embrace the One (Ping Bu Cheng Bao Zhuang)

Entering the Heart of Trees Meditation
Holding the Tai Chi Sphere 
Horse Standing, Riding the Horse

Magic Pearl Qigong


Holding the Cosmic Ball
Holding the Sphere of Qi
Being Mindful of the Sphere
Holding the Balloon, Magic Pearl, Ball, Sphere of Qi 
Hugging the Tree

 

Description of Embrace the One:

You are standing still and quiet.  Stand tall and maintain erectness and energize with the power of the posture.  Gently raise your arms until you hands are in front of your chest, elbows bent, hands facing the body.  Imagine that you are holding a large inflatable beach ball cradled in your arms and pressed against your upper torso.  Leave space between bicep and side of chest.  Fingers are soft, rounded, and spread.  Bend your knees slightly as needed for comfort and balance while standing.  Look forward, maintain a level gaze, and be alert.  Try to present a pleasant, calm, content, and kindly face. 

 

There have been numerous articles and books written about this qigong and taijiquan practice called "Embrace the One."
There are two books on the subject by by Jan Diepersloot, the first was Warriors of Stillness: Meditative Traditions in the Chinese Martial Arts.  Some NeiGong devotees or mystical explorers will stand for 30 to 60 minutes in this posture. 

Posture variations include: a) take a a wider horse stance and/or bend the knees more into a semi-squat position, 2) arms are held above or below the line of your nipples, 3) eyes are open or eyes are shut, 4) your toes are pointed straight ahead or are pointed slightly outward up to a 45 degree angle. 

 

                     

 

                   

 

 

"Please stand in a big circle, and give each other some space, small people in front.  Could you please close your eyes and just be in touch with the ground. Feel the earth under your feet, even through the soles of your shoes.  And allow yourself to arrive here, everybody on their own, just being grounded like a tree.  Imagine that you are a tree, a big, wonderful tree, with strong roots going down into the earth, spreading out deeper, and deeper.   You are standing firm as a tree, nothing can shake you too much.  Allow your body to shift slightly sideward, to the left, to the right, and back and forth, enjoying these soft movements.  And now lift your arms just a little bit and allow your fingers to move, to dance like leaves, so that your whole body becomes responsive with small movements, and you can connect your heart to what is around you. Just stay for a while transparent like this to the environment.   And now, still with eyes closed and no speaking, open yourself to the world of sound.  And now, slowly open your eyes, and just quietly watch he leaves of the trees, light and shadow, shades of colors, movements.  Just open yourself with all senses to what is alive in the woods."
-   Standing Meditation, Amarvati Buddhish Monastery

 

 

"Standing meditation or Zhan Zhuang is an ancient form of Chi Kung that is gaining popularity in China and the rest of the world. This system is simple on the outside, and as deep as the universe on the inside. Standing exercises are extremely important to Tai Chi training, and the essence of self-healing.

   The basic idea for all standing exercises is the use of the mind to move energy. These exercises can be as easy as just standing in a normal posture and breathing naturally, or as complex as twisting the body or sinking into a very deep posture and moving the breath in quite intricate patterns. In any case, the exercises always proceed from simple to complex as the student gains the necessary skills needed to use the mind to move energy.

   T. T. Liang, one of America’s leading Tai Chi masters, used the term “Imagination Becomes Reality” to describe how Tai Chi and standing meditation works. At first you imagine certain things, like holding a ball and feeling it expand and contract, or feeling energy circle in an orbit inside the body. Before long, you will actually be able to feel these sensations as the mind (Yi) acts on the energy (Chi) to create internal energy (Jing or Shen). These sensations are, at the beginning, quite obvious like tingling, shaking, vibrating, or heat. As the body opens and relaxation happens, the grosser sensations vanish and the movement of the finer energies becomes possible. In the final stages, time seems to vanish, the separate ego identity merges with the universal energy or Tao, and the person has realized his or her own potential. It is a journey requiring diligent and constant practice, yet is attainable by everyone. Many individuals throughout history have walked on this path, and their teaching can and should guide you. There are many pitfalls, obstacles, and quite difficult places, yet if you follow the advice of those who have gone before, and listen to your inner self, the potential problems will be minimized."
-   Michael Gilman, Standing Meditation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.  San Ti Shi

    
   
Trinity Posture (Heaven-Man-Earth, Spirit-Mind-Body Posture)
     Three Elements Form or Posture
     Three Body Posture

     San Ti Chi is the standard on guard posture used in nearly all styles of Hsing I Chuan (Xing Yi Quan) internal martial arts. 
     The
Sun Lu Tang's martial arts system makes extensive use of San Ti Shi.  
     

Description:  

"Posture One - Three Body Posture (San Ti Shi):
The Five Element Creation Fist routine begins as with most Xingyiquan routines in the Three Body Posture (San Ti Shi). The San Ti Shi is the most important and most basic training method in Xingyiquan.  All movements in the style do not stray away from the principles of the San Ti Shi. There is a saying which states that "ten thousand methods originate from the San Ti Shi". The San Ti Shi is formed by first placing the feet together with body erect.  The arms hang down beside the body. The toes of the right foot turn out at a 45 degree angle. The legs bend at the knees as the weight of the body shifts to the right leg. The left arm rises up to the front of the chest with the palm facing down and fingers pointing to the front. The right hand rises up directly above the left hand (the right
index finger is in line with the left middle finger). Both elbows are bent. The left foot steps to the front with the two heels in line with each other. The distance between the two feet should conform to the length of the lower leg.  To check the width of one's stance, place the knee of the right rear leg down to the ground. The knee should fall directly next to the left front heel. Should the distance be different, simply adjust the feet to fit this width. The knees are bent with the weight distributed 60 percent on the rear leg and 40 percent on the front leg. Consequently, this stance is often referred to as the 60/40 stance. At the same time, the left hand straightens to the front. The fingers point up with the palm facing out at an angle. The wrist is at shoulder level. The elbow is bent at an angle of approximately 135 degrees. The wrist of the left arm should be directly above the ankle of the left leg; the elbow of the left arm should be directly above the knee of the left leg; and the left shoulder should be directly above the left hip.

The nose, the index finger of the left hand, and the toes of the left foot should be aligned in a straight line. The right hand lowers down to the front of the lower abdomen. The base of the right thumb is pressed against the navel.  The eyes look in the direction of the left hand. The head should be held upright with the chin slightly tucked in. The tail bone should be slightly curled under to allow the spine to become straight. The chest should be hollowed and the abdomen should be filled. These requirements should be maintained throughout the entire routine."
-  Ted W. Knecht, Yongnian Taiji Martial Arts, 
Xingyi

 

 

 

"From wuji we move into another standing posture that is called san-ti. The san-ti is the primary posture of Hsing-i. In fact, about 60 % of the Hsing-i student's time is spent holding this posture. The transition from wuji to san-ti is made by bringing the feet together and then raising the arms with the palms facing up along your sides. As your hands reach above your head, they begin to close into fists with the thumb side closest to your body. Sink your chi as the fists are lowered to the pelvis level. The right fist screws inward and up along the center line of the body.  This screwing is started in the ground and involves the entire right side of the body. However, do not sacrifice your vertical posture. As the right fist screws upward along your center, the hands rise at a 45 degree angle away from the body. When the right fist reaches the level of the chin, the left side begins its movement. Just as on the right side, the left's movement starts from the ground and is done in unison. The left fist screws and follows a path along the center of your body. The fist moves away at a 45 degree angle and passes over the right fist.  As the left fist passes the right, the hands rotate and the right hand is pulled back to a position to the right of the tan tien. The left hand goes forward and is held as shown. Examine the photographs closely.  But I must point out that which can not be captured on film.  The intent of the lead hand is to project forward while the intent of the rear hand is going back to counterbalance the action of the lead hand. This is an important point that will become more clear as we examine the requirements of the san-ti posture. As the left foot extends forward, the left foot will also step out with the toe pointing straight. About 70% of your weight will be held in the rear leg.

The Hsing-i classics address this transition. Essentially the classics state: "the movement is started with the intent of the mind."  With this intent the bear and eagle combine to move the body without further thought or consideration. In regard to this, here is a translation of the Song of Tai chi: "The mind has already moved, and the boxing has started. (The boxing) is hard and soft, empty and full, opening and closing, rising and falling. "

Hsing-i postures, to include the fists and animals, have four requirements that must be met at all times if a sound structure is to be maintained.  Let us look at the four requirements we need for standing practice.  They are: chicken leg, dragon body, bear shoulder, and tiger embrace. The details of these requirements are spelled out in the Hsing-i classics. I will attempt to summarize them for you here.

"Chicken Leg" refers to the manner in which the feet and legs are held. First, the toes must grasp the ground to secure the feet in their place. The legs are held as if screwing into the ground. The effect of which is felt in the knees which are inclined slightly inward. The heels will feel as though they want to push out, but the toes hold the feet in place. As a result of the inward inclination of the knee, the inner thigh is opened. The pelvis is relaxed and allowed to sit back and rest on the rear leg. The hui yin is raised. The focus of the balance should be on the bubbling well of the foot. The toe of the lead foot points straight while the toe of the rear foot points about
45 degrees outward. The knee of the lead foot should be above its heel. The distance between the two feet should be comfortable.

"Dragon Body" refers to the turning of the torso in the direction of the rear foot. The head will remain looking straight ahead, however. A key point here is to relax the inner groin and sit back on the rear leg. The muscles along the ribs should also relax as much as possible to allow for good rotation. Do not rotate the pelvis. It remains oriented toward the front. Also, keep your posture straight and erect. The dragon body accentuates the intent of the lead hand to go forward and the rear hand to counter balance it to the rear.

"Bear Shoulder" helps keep the structure sound by relaxing the shoulders and allowing them to roll forward from the side as opposed to hunching them over the top. Think of hollowing the chest through relaxation to help you fulfill this requirement.

"Tiger Embrace" ensures that the arms will keep a sound structure while sending and receiving energy. The palms will be hollow and the tiger mouth open (area between the thumb and index finger). You must always drop the elbow and sink the shoulder. This ensures sound structure and also acts to protect your ribs. Remember to relax and hollow the chest or there will be too much tension and your chi will rise. The index finger will be on the same plane as the big toe of the lead foot and the tip of the nose.
-  Jim Dees,
Hsing-I: An Examination of Principles    

 

 

"The San Ti Shi is based on the stances used in the Xing Yi exercise which is said to have originated by General Yue Fei (1103-1142) of the Jin Dynasty or, according to authentic historical records, by Dai Longbang during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), who passed it on to Li Luoneng, a wushu master in Heibei Province. Using internal strength cultivated through this Xing Yi exercise, Li managed to conquer every single one of his adversaries in fighting contests and earned the nickname of Holy Fighter.

 Li's style was later known as "neijia," or "internal school of boxing," which lays emphasis on developing internal strength through exercises. The most basic technique to be learned by a neijia practitioner is the standing exercise. As a saying among Li's descendants goes, "The standing exercise is to martial arts what a granary is to food grains."

The three-harmony standing exercise is explained in some of the writings by neijia masters, with the main points as follows:

1) Stand upright and turn the body 45 degrees to the right, using both heels as pivots. Bend both legs slightly so that the knees are directly above the toes. Meanwhile, clench both hands into fists and place them on the hips with palm side down.

2) As you inhale deeply, bring the right fist up to nose level with the arm held close to the body and turned externally so that the knuckles of the fist face forward, while the left fist remains on the hip with the knuckles turned downward.

3) As you exhale, lower the right fist to chest level and, with the left arm drawn close to the body, bring up the left fist to nose level, unclenching it when it passes over the right hand.

4) Then move the left foot about two foot lengths to the front and strike out with the left hand at nose level while unclenching the right fist into a palm and pressing it down to the right "riyue" point as if to protect the rib cage.

5) As the foot and hand movements are completed at the end of exhalation, both legs are slightly bent and the bulk of the body weight is on the rear leg, with the left arm bent at an angle of 135 degrees and the palm facing obliquely downward like a tiger's claw, that is, with thumb and index finger forming a semi-circle and the other fingers naturally extended.

6) Keep standing in this position for as long as you don't feel tired. Traditionally, one would stand for at least three minutes on each foot.

By "three harmonies" we mean, externally, 1) proper alignment between hands and feet (with fingers above toes); 2) proper alignment between shoulders and hips (also with the two on a vertical line); and 3) proper alignment between shoulders and hips (also with the two on a vertical line)."
-  International Sun Tai Association,  San Ti Shi: "Three Harmony" Standing Exercise  


 

 

Michael Garofalo standing in San Ti Shi
Red Bluff, California, November 2006

 

"Standing still in the circle of trees, in the sacred space,
one wet and chilly morn,
feet rooted, toes clawing the earth, sunk deeply down;
twisted like a dragon, alert, poised, ready to fly;
settled like a bear, strong, full of power, gathering;
looking through the tiger's eye, mind-intent, penetrating;
embracing the Trinity of Body, Mind, and Spirit,
as ancient as Now, the Three Bodies, all still, all one.

From the edge, the cosmic circle opened,
Chang San-Feng slipped inside, smiling,
he stroked his long beard and spoke softly,
"Ah, another old man standing so still in San Ti Shi.
Continue, my friend, stand in peace, touch the mind. 
The subtle winds of understanding blow down the centuries.
When still, fly like the Eagle; when moving, walk like the Mountain.
Tame the Tiger within, ride the Tiger to the temple, and roar in silence.
Awaken like the Bear from the winter of the soul, and rise like a Man.
Feel the vital energies from bone to brain,
Sense the Great Tao before you Now,
Drop delusions, break through the Gate of Mystery,
Embrace the Center, Empty, unattached, ready to be filled
With boundless beauty, everything There, marvelous beyond words."

The cottonwood leaves spoke with the wind,
the sun rose over the shadows,
my legs shook a little;
the cosmic circle trembled,
the Master had gone."

-   Michael Garofalo, Poetic Relections on Chang San-Feng 

 

 

 

 

"The San-t'i ("three essentials") posture, the basic Hsing-i posture, generates both the Five Fists and the Twelve Animals.  Your head should press up as if balancing a book, you elbows and shoulders should be held down, and you knees should be well bent, thus lowering you hips, forming a crease where you lower abdomen and thighs meet (the inguinal area).  You weight should be distributed so that the rear leg supports 60% of it.  You left arm should be extended, the elbow slightly bent and the fingertips at eyebrow level.  You left hand should be open and stretched to form the "tiger mouth" as it strikes forward.  Your open right hand should be held palm down, but the fingers pointed upward to protect the groin.  Finally, your eyes look at your left index finger, gazing past it, focusing on a point ahead.  ...  Your left foot is now on a line slightly to the left (about a fist's width) of your right heel.  The length of your advancing step should accord with your height." 
-  Robert K. Smith and Allen Pitman, Hsing-I: Chinese Internal Boxing, 1989, p. 34

 


"The foundation of Xingyiquan is it's stance keeping practice called San Ti Shi (also known as San Cai) , which means "Three Body Posture" or "Trinity Posture." It is the very core of training and develops many of the qualities essential to the development of martial ability.

The "three bodies" refers to the three phases all together, i.e. heaven, earth, and the human being. It corresponds to the head, hands, and feet in Xingyiquan. These phases are again divided into three sections.

Head - The position of the head is the key to the alignment of the whole body. When standing, the head is gently lifted upwards allowing the entire body to release tension and align itself properly with gravity. The chin is slightly tucked down and in while the head is pulled back and slightly up, as if hung on a meat hook. The Eyes are level, looking straight ahead and into the distance. Sometimes the eyes will be closed. The ears "listen" behind you and to the sounds of the body. The facial muscles remain relaxed; one should not wrinkle the forehead creating tension between the eyebrows. The tongue is curved upwards, touching the roof of the mouth and thus connecting the Ren and Du meridians, allowing the circuit to complete and the qi flow smoothly.

Body - The body should be centered and balanced. The shoulders drop and "get behind" the arms as the chest is relaxed and sunk slightly inwards. The shoulders should never lift upwards and should align with the hips. The buttocks are relaxed and have a sinking feeling. "Get into your legs" by pulling the tailbone slightly forward and under. This roots you better to the earth and straightens out the spine. The testicles should be lifted. As the body moves forward, the head and shoulders should reamain on the same horizontal plane.

Hands and Arms - The arms and hands are relaxed and held in gentle curves. They should never be fully extended. The fingers are separated and "shaped like hooks," allowing the qi to flow to the ends of the fingertips unimpeded. The hands are open and the palms deep. The elbows should feel heavy (with the mind) and remain dropped, protecting the ribs. "The hands never leave the heart, the elbows never leave the ribs." The index finger of both hands should be on the same vertical plane as the nose, or your centerline. The bottom hand should be at the navel or Dan Tian area.

Feet and Legs - The knees are slightly bent, never passing the vertical line which passes through the tips of the toes. Your weight should be in the back leg in a 70/30 distribution. This may vary a bit depending on the style. The feet grip the ground as if you were trying to pick up the ground with your toes. They should be visualized as twisting inwards and down like the powerful roots of a tree, gripping the ground - rooted, but ready to move without a thought."
Konghua Xingyiquan   Empty Flower Xingiquan.   By Dave Devere.

 

 

 

"Stand with front knee over heel, lead hand along center shoulders relaxed (allowing the elbows to drop inward) and second hand beside lead elbow. Second hand can be open or closed, depending on your school, or whatever you feel like 'expressing'. Generally the closed fist (heart) is a Phoenix eye, and an open palm can be either thumb and 4 fingers flat (as if on a table) and slightly open (cotton balls) or thumb underneath fingers, as if holding a small steel ball.

Feel your body sinking into the posture, as if you are continually sinking and never quite being able to 'arrive' in that posture. Imagine a 1000 lb. Steel ball suspended from a chain off you tail bone into the center of the earth, and allow the feeling if downward pull to go through your legs from the sheer weight of it. Attach a string to the crown of your skull (bai hui point) and have it pull upward, the combined effect with the steel ball will elongate the spine and open meridians. Another analogy for bai hui is to imagine a 'meat hook' in the back of your skull pulling up, or to imagine a 'push button' for a light above your head, and your have to push up on the button to keep a light on.

Feel the skin from your elbows to your fingers getting heavy. All the weight in your arms and body is sinking into earth. The skin on your arms (elbow to finger) is starting to sag from its weight, and eventually hangs tattered off the bone. Feel the sinking in the bones as the body continues to 'fall' into this posture. Maintain this for a few minutes.

Between your fingers imagine there is cotton balls. Experience the feeling of them and embrace them with your fingers, but don't 'flatten' them, they are delicate. Feel the weight of a steel ball in each open hand; allow the weight to flow evenly through to the elbows, creating a balanced heaviness throughout the arm. Try to 'feed' the lead hand forward, as if pushing the steel ball through extremely thick mud, simultaneously drawing the reverse hand back. Feel the connect wrap around the body and through the spine and into the legs. This is the action of split (reverse, opening) and the element of metal (sinking, condensing)."
-   San Ti Shi Visualization Exercise
 

 

 

"The most basic technique to be learned by a neijia practitioner is the standing exercise. As a saying among Li's descendants goes, "The standing exercise is to martial arts what a granary is to food grains."

The three-harmony standing exercise [San Ti Shi] is explained in some of the writings by neijia masters, with the main points as follows:

1) Stand upright and turn the body 45 degrees to the right, using both heels as pivots. Bend both legs slightly so that the knees are directly above the toes. Meanwhile, clench both hands into fists and place them on the hips with palm side down.

2) As you inhale deeply, bring the right fist up to nose level with the arm held close to the body and turned externally so that the knuckles of the fist face forward, while the left fist remains on the hip with the knuckles turned downward.

3) As you exhale, lower the right fist to chest level and, with the left arm drawn close to the body, bring up the left fist to nose level, unclenching it when it passes over the right hand.

4) Then move the left foot about two foot lengths to the front and strike out with the left hand at nose level while unclenching the right fist into a palm and pressing it down to the right "riyue" point as if to protect the rib cage.

5) As the foot and hand movements are completed at the end of exhalation, both legs are slightly bent and the bulk of the body weight is on the rear leg, with the left arm bent at an angle of 135 degrees and the palm facing obliquely downward like a tiger's claw, that is, with thumb and index finger forming a semi-circle and the other fingers naturally extended.

6) Keep standing in this position for as long as you don't feel tired. Traditionally, one would stand for at least three minutes on each foot.

By "three harmonies" we mean, externally, 1) proper alignment between hands and feet (with fingers above toes); 2) proper alignment between shoulders and hips (also with the two on a vertical line); and 3) proper alignment between shoulders and hips (also with the two on a vertical line).

Furthermore, internally the term refers to 1) harmony between mind and will, which means that only with concentration of mind can you attain a state of tranquility and use the power of the will; 2) harmony between will and "chi", which means that only by the power of the will can chi be conducted up and down the body without interruption; and 3) harmony between chi and force, which means that the internal organs will relax when chi descends and contract when chi ascends, thus creating a force which, as vividly described in The Yellow Emperor's Canon of Internal Medicine, "lies hidden as if in a drawn crossbow and which is capable of displaying the power of a released arrow," a force that is often effectively used by wushu masters for knocking down their adversaries and by qigong masters for treating their patients. "
-   San Ti Shi, International Sun Taijiquan Association

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.  Chen Taijiquan Post Standing Posture

I began the study of the Chen style of Taijiquan in March, 2007, at the age of 61.  In my very first lesson from Carmine Farruggia, he gave me instructions on how to do Chen style post standing.  His descriptions closely match those provided by Mark Chen is his fine book "Old Frame Chen Family Taijiquan," 2004, pp. 68-72.  Mark Chen said that the standing meditation exercise is from Small Frame Chen Style (xiao jia). 

Stand in a horse stance, knees bent, back straight, with the insteps in line with the outsides of your shoulders. 
Your feet should point outwards very slightly, with the knees forward.  Keep the weight evenly on the ball and heel of the foot. 
Some tension is the perineum area should be maintained, as with yoga postures like mula banda (root energy lock). 
Tuck your bottom of the pelvis/hips forward to open the inguinal area (Kua).     
Keep your shoulders down, and your head erect.
Both eyes focus on the tip of the middle finger of the right hand, with a soft focus.  Eyes should be halfway closed.   
Your weight is centered.  Aim at feeling deeply rooted, sunk, connected with earth energies. 
Your right hand is held in front of your face, fingers pointing upward, fingers straight and close together.  The middle finger is in line with the nose.
The middle finger is about 8" inches from the front of the nose.  The palm faces to the left.  The elbow should be soft and buoyant. 
The left hand makes a hook hand (i.e., left thumb touches the four fingers).  The hand is placed on the lower back, at the Ming Men point, in the lower lumbar area.  The fingers of the left hand point up and the side of the hand rests on the back. 
You settle and sink into the horse stance as low as you can go and hold the posture.
Breathe as slowly, gently, and evenly as possible. 
The mind should try to center one's awareness on the central abdomen, in the Dantien. 
Try to maintain a feeling of
Sung: alert, open, and "relaxed." 
The correct posture is rather uncomfortable, and can be quite painful to maintain.  
A beginner might want to aim at practicing, for example, four times a day for 3 minutes each practice session, for the first month of practice.  Gradually increase the length of the practice time. 
Although attention should be on the Dantien, practitioners will need to monitor the aspects of their posture and make corrections as is necessary. 

Mark Chen writes: "Correct, move on, correct again.  If you do this diligently over a period of months, you will find that your posture drifts less during each successive practice session because your awareness expands; part of your consciousness remains where you made a correction, even when the center of your attention moves elsewhere.  You will eventually develop a comprehensive awareness of your entire posture so that your mind is free to focus where it will without loosing track of any individual part.  This is the primary objective of this exercise, and a necessary step in learning Taijiquan."

Carmine Farruggia wrote to me by email on 3/5/07: "Right hand about 8 inches from nose.  Eyes half way closed.  Concentrate on the Dantien.  Left hand fingers all touching thumb.  Left hand on the Ming Men.   Sit in your Kua as far as you can.  Suspend from the top, drop down from below.  Do this from 1 to 3 minutes.  If this time is easy then you are standing too high."

 

The Cloud Hands Blog by Mike Garofalo

 

 

 

 


 

 

5.  Bear Spirit Standing Posture



"The Bear Spirit Posture:  The name of this posture is derived from a wonderful carving of the Northwest Pacific Coast Indians in which the Grandfather Bear Spirit, the Great Healer, stands behind a shaman who holds the pose.  It is very old and, of all the postures, is the most widely known.  Evidence of it has been found in countries throughout the world, and historically it has existed from 6,000 B. C. to the present."
-  Belinda Gore,
Ecstatic Body Postures, p. 49.  See my comments on Wu Ji.

 

"Here for example is the Bear Posture, one of the ones found most widely on the planet and still in use today. The earliest record of the Bear Posture is from 6000BC. The images here are from Nana Nauwald’s book, Ecstatic Trance.  Stand with your feet straight ahead and your legs hip width apart with the knees bent slightly. Cup your hands as if you are holding an egg and place them across your belly. Belinda says, " Position your hands so your folded fingers form a tall triangle over your navel. The first joint of the index finger of each hand should touch to form the apex of the triangle, with your thumbs resting one in front of the other, not one on top of the other." According to Nana, the thumbs rest on the fingers so there is a difference of opinion. Only your own experience will tell you w hich exact pose works best for you. Tilt your head back to look at the seam where the ceiling of the room meets the wall. Close your eyes, relax your jaw so your mouth may hang slightly open."
Ecstatic Body Postures, Athanor Arts 

 

 

                                  

 

 

Ecstatic Body Postures: An Alternate Reality Workbook.  By Belinda Gore.  Foreword by Felicitas Goodman.  Santa Fe,  New Mexico, Bear and Company, 1995.  Endnotes, 284 pages.  ISBN: 1879181223. The Bear Spirit Posture is described and illustrated, pp. 49-54.   VSCL. 


The Ecstatic Experience: Healing Postures for Spirit Journeys.  By Belinda Gore.  Bear and Company, 2009.  160 pages.  Includes 60 minute CD of trance rhythms.  ISBN: 1591430968.  VSCL. 


Ecstatic Trance: New Ritual Body Postures.   By Felicitas D. Goodman and Nana Nauwald.   Binkey Kok, 2003.  Workbook edition, 184 pages.  ISBN: 9074597637.   VSCL. 


Bear: The Five Animal Frolics


The Spirit Bear Looks Inward at the Turning Cosmos

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

6.  Open Hands and Close Hands 


Practitioners of the Sun Style of T'ai Chi Ch'uan are familiar with the movement "Open Hands and Close Hands" (He Shou, Kai Shou). 

Description:

Stand at attention with feet comfortably apart, toes pointed straight ahead.  Both arms are gently raised to chest height, elbows are soft and bent.  Fingers are spread slightly and rounded, palms face each other, hands are 2" to 15" inches from the middle or your chest, and fingers are 4" to 8" apart.   As you inhale, draw the hands farther from each other, and this movement is called "Open Hands."  As you exhale, draw the hands closer together, and this movement is called "Close Hands."

Inhale and Open Hands.  Exhale and Close Hands.  Inhale, Yang; Exhale, Yin.  The rhythm of our respiratory cycle, constant, repetitive, oxygenation of our organism/body, life sustaining, crucial. 

 

Try the Opening Hands and Closing Hands Movements while you stand for 10 minutes. 

 

"Creation and reversion are both expressed in Taiji quan forms.  Practitioners begin by standing motionless and being free of thought [1a], then move in symbolic separation of yin and yang, lifting the hands as yang energy rises to create Heaven [1b] and lowering them [1d] as yin energy sinks to create Earth.  Like the creation of the myriad beings, the movements transform from posture to posture without pause.  In the end, the hands drop and the feet come together [72b].  Practitioners find stillness and return to formlessness [73c]."   
Daoist Body Cultivation, Edited by Livia Kohn, 2006, p. 195. 

 

Sun Lu Tang says, "The hands feel as if they are holding on to a balloon, and as the air in the balloon increases, the hands are slowly moved apart.  The two thumbs are about an inch or two away from the chest.  Move the hands apart until the tiger's mouth [i.e, the are from the inside tip of the index finger to the inside tip of the thumb] of each hand are in front of the shoulders, at shoulder height.  The five fingers are separated.  Pause for a moment."  -  A Study of Taijiquan, 1924, 2003, p. 81.  Sun Style Taijiquan 73 Competition Form

 

In Taijiquan, the complimentary concepts of "Opening" and "Closing," and their experiential correlates, are quite complex.  Master Bruce Frantzis (Tai Chi Health for Life, 2006, pp.213-251) is a good source for starting to learn about these more advanced concepts in Tai Chi Chuan.  Specifically, as related to opening and closing (pp.238-243), "Opening means to expand, grow larger, or flow outwards and emanate like a sun.  Closing means to condense inwards, and get smaller along an inward direction of motion, like the gravity flow of a black hole or dwarf star.  Closing carries no connotation of tension, contraction, or force in the movement, only a continuous inward flow toward a point of origination, like iron filings towards a magnet.  Opening and closing actions can occur with any of the body's soft and hard physical tissues.  Equally, opening and closing can occur anywhere within the body's subtle energy anatomy (channels, points, aura, etc.)."

 

 

Opening Hands, Closing Hands
By Michael P. Garofalo


"Standing at the Mysterious Pass
Centered in the Eternal Now,
Balanced in Body and Open in Mind,
Rooted into the Sacred Space,
Motionless as the Golden Mountain,
Fingers around the Primeval Sphere.

Dragons and Tigers are still dreaming -
Ready for Rebirth. 


I breathe in, the World Breathes Out.
The Gate of Space opens;
Heaven moves and Yang is born.
The hands move out, embracing the One.
The mind settles and is clear.
The Dragon Howls,
Ravens fill the Vast Cauldron,
Mind forms melt like mercury,
Spirit rises in the Clouds of Eternity.
Yin appears like the moon at dusk.

I breathe out, the World Breathes In.
The Doors of Emptiness close;
Earth quiets and Yin is born.

The hands move in, entering the One.
The body settles and becomes whole.
The Tiger Roars,
The Great Ox is nourished by the Valley Spirit, 
Substances spark from flaming furnaces,
Essence roots in the Watery Flesh.
Yang appears like the sun at dawn.


Dragons and Tigers
Transformed within the Mysterious Pass -
Chanting and Purring.
Awakened,
Peaceful,
Free."

-   Michael P. Garofalo, Opening at the Mysterious Pass
    Opening Hands and Closing Hands

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7.  Samasthiti
     Anjali Mudra and Tadasana


 

Description:  

 

The great yoga master teacher Krishnamacharya (1888-1989) in the Samasthiti Asana (Pose)   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Standing Meditation
Quotations, Sayings, Poems


 

"Standing Meditation is the single most important and widely practiced form of gigong, integrating all elements of posture, relaxation, and breathing previously described.  It is a way of developing better alignment and balance, stronger legs and waist, deeper respiration, accurate body awareness, and a tranquil mind."
-  Kenneth S. Cohen, 
The Way of Qigong,  p. 133.  

 

 

"This practice is part of an ancient Chinese health system of exercises.  One of the first references found about this type of exercise is in the Huang-Ti Nei Ching (Classics of  Medicine by the Yellow Emperor, 2690-2590 B.C.E.) which is, by the way, probably one of the oldest books in the medical field.  This posture, practiced and transmitted secretly in martial arts circles, has been openly shown to the public since the last century.  Wang Xiang Zhai, a very famous martial arts master of that period in China, made of this technique the base of a new martial art that he called I Chuan (Mind Boxing).  He used to say, "The immobility is the mother of any movement or technique."  
-  Victoria Windholtz, Standing Like a Tree

 

 

"Although there is no obvious movement, they are deeply engaged in one of the most demanding and powerful forms of exercise ever developed.  It is so utterly focused on deep, internal growth that it literally requires learning to stand like a tree.  It is known in Chinese as Zhan Zhuang, "standing like a stake', or "standing like a tree." It is pronounced "Jan Jong", or in southern China, "Jam Jong"." 
-  Mater Lam, Kam Chuen,
The Way of Energy, p. 11

 

 

"Classical admonitions for standing practice include: keep head upright (raise the baihui) and the body straight; eyes gaze forward and level; hollow the chest and raise the back (careful, does not mean "hunch"); relax the waist and huiyin (perineum); sink the shoulders and elbows; extend the fingers; keep the kua (inguinal crease) open and the dang (crotch) rounded; tailbone hangs straight down; weight balanced over yongquan (bubbling well points behind balls of feet); qi circulates freely and completely throughout body."
-  Michael Jones,
Zhan Zhuang

 

 

"If I had to choose one qigong technique to practice, it would undoubtedly be this one. Many Chinese call standing meditation "the million dollar secret of qigong." Whether you are practicing qigong for self healing, for building healing ch'i, for massage or healing work on others, standing is an essential practice.  Acupuncturists feel that by practicing standing meditation they can connect with the ch'i of the universe, and be able to send it through their bodies when they hold the acupuncture needle ... Standing is probably the single most important qigong exercise.  One of the reasons that standing is such a powerful way to gather and accumulate fresh ch'i in the body is that during the practice of standing the body is in the optimal posture for ch'i gathering and flow."
-   Kenneth S. Cohen

 

 

"The most basic method of training is zhan zhuang.  Zhan zhuang is an exercise common to many Chinese martial arts, including Taijiquan.  Usually, the practitioner stands with the arms held as if holding a large ball.  However, the zhan zhuang exercise can be practiced using any of the end postures of the Taiji form.  During "standing" practice a static posture is maintained for a period of time while using just enough strength to maintain the posture.  ...  Benefits of zhan zhuang include deep relaxation, strengthening of the legs, and increased internal qi.  The first requirement is to have a calm mind.  This can be achieved in a number of ways - for instance, concentrating on the Dantian, paying attention to one's breath, or silently counting.  Through standing practice, emphasis is place upon developing awareness of maintaining the most efficient and relaxed structural alignment necessary to hold the position.  Prolonged practice, along with enhancing postural awareness and tranquility of mind, greatly develops the strength of the legs.  When the legs are strong and can bear weight firmly, then the upper body can relax and sink down into them, making the top more flexible.  ... Taijiquan requires lightness and sensitivity in the upper body.  At the same time, the lower body should have a feeling of extreme heaviness and connection to the ground.  This feeling is often compared to a large tree with deep roots.  While the branches move and sway in the wind, the trunk is solidly anchored by its roots."
-   Davidine Siaw-Voon Sim and David Gaffney, Chen Style Taijiquan, 2002, p. 106.

 

 

" Stand naturally, the hands loosely at the sides. The ears, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles should all be aligned when viewed from the side.  Close the mouth, and place the tip of the tongue on the upper palate behind the teeth. The eyes may be open or closed.  Fangsong (relax the mind and body) 

Mentally repeat the verse "weight balanced, mind balanced, listen behind, qi balanced in the dantien."

Slowly bend the knees, lowering the center of gravity, and relax the hips.  Shift weight to the right leg.  Sink down, and lift the left heel, followed by the toes. 

Step out to shoulder width, with weight still on the right leg. Slowly shift weight back to the center of the body, so it is evenly distributed on both legs.  

Mentally repeat the verse “weight balanced, mind balanced, listen behind, qi balanced in the dantien."

Beginning from the medulla and proceeding downward, relax each vertebrae in the spine, counting to 9 for each vertebrae.  

Slowly raise the arms to a shoulder height and width position, as if holding a large ball.  Depending on one’s fitness, the arms may be held at a greater than shoulder width.  As the arms rise, simultaneously sink the hips more. Relax.  Keeps wrists and fingers loose and relaxed.

Mentally repeat the verse "weight balanced, mind balanced, listen behind, qi balanced in the dantien.”

Assume a posture with the chest concave, shoulders and hips relaxed, the dantien area relaxed, the back straight.  When all these requirements are met, your body will feel comfortable.  Hold this position for a set period of time. Beginners should work gradually to a time frame of at least 20 minutes.

Mentally repeat the verse "weight balanced, mind balanced, listen behind, qi balanced in the dantien.”

Very slowly lower hands to the sides, standing up as they drop, but not completely.  Keep the hips relaxed.  Allow the qi of the shoulders to flow downward to the hips: the elbow qi to flow downward to the knees: and the qi of the hands to flow downward to the feet.  Mentally repeat the verse "weight balanced, mind balanced, listen behind, qi balanced in the dantien.”  Relax any tense areas in the body.  

Slowly shift weight to the right leg.  Lift heel and then toes of the left foot, and move it inward next to the right foot. Place first toes, then heels on the ground.

Mentally repeat the verse "weight balanced, mind balanced, listen behind, qi balanced in the dantien.”  Count silently to 9.  Stand up fully."
-  Hun Yuan Zhuang,
The Practice of Zhuang Gong

 

 

"Taming the Playful Monkey:

The Chinese refer to the mind as the playful monkey always jumping from one thing to another.

Zhan Zhuang Standing is about being mindful. Mindfulness of your presence in the present moment. Mindfulness of your body.   Mindfulness of your relation to your surroundings. Awareness on the waves of energy that ripples through you and the universe.
Awareness of the field of energy that unites everything into one great being. Simpley being mindfull of the way (tao).

If your mind start to wander off, while standing there are quite a few remedies to tame the playful monkey and enter into the present moment.

Open your eyes and glare into the far distant horizon with a soft focus on everything without any specific attachment (to avoid daydreaming)

Start watching your own thinking without any attachment to the different thought patterns that naturally arises in your mind.

Accept the present moment what ever it brings and you will release the mind.

Try becoming intensely aware of all sensory input to the finest detail in the far background.

Enter into your body with your mind and listen to the myriad of changes that constantly takes place.

Seek out tensions in your body and then release the tensions with your mind by softly blowing hot hair into the areas of tension, and then tensions will dissolve themselves.

Glare into the far distant imaging your are on beautiful island in the Caribbean standing on the beach looking at the sunset.

See your self standing out on the face of the earth as a single hair follicle.

Imagine your are standing in water to your nose (if you wobble).

Imagine your are rocket about to take off into the far space (if your feet feels numb or your lower part feels heavy).

Imagine your whole body as light as a feather. Or a balloon that can blow away in an instant with the wind ( if you feel heavy ).

Rest the mind on the center of the body (dan tian) and feel the raise and fall of the waves of energy. Expanding the energy to the skin of the body and beyond. Contracting and storing up the energy. Feel the energy bouncing to the center of the earth and back.

Circulate the energy in the micro-cosmic orbit.

Just barely notice your own breath through the nostrils when you breathe in and out.

Articulate the sound “heng” as a long soft in-breath with your center (dan tian) when breathing in and articulate the sound “ha” as a deep bass humming in your center when breathing out.

Say “I am here or just here” breathing in, say “now” breathing out.

Say “I have arrived” breathing in, breathing out say “I am home”.

Smile to your self. Smile to your body. Smile to your heart, liver, lungs, spleen and kidneys in appreciation. Smile to the world. Release your mind. Be happy and full of joy."
Suggestions from Thomas, All-Round Pole Standing Qigong

 

 

 

"Stand with feet apart at shoulder width, toes point forward or slightly outward. Bend the knees and sit down slightly, weight centered firmly on the soles of the feet. Keep the head and spine erect from tip to tail, chest empty (i.e. relaxed and slightly concave, never stuck out) and stomach full and relaxed, not pulled in. Gaze straight ahead, eyelids hanging relaxed over the eyes. Rest the tip of the tongue on the upper palate behind the front teeth, let the lips and the teeth hang slightly open. Arms hang by the sides. The body should feel perfectly poised, relaxed but not slack, breathing completely natural and no joint locked, as if the body is suspended in air, hanging from the top of the head by a string.  

This is the basic standing posture. Stand like this for a few moments relaxing the whole body and collecting one’s thoughts before assuming the following posture.

Raise the arms to shoulder level, keeping them curved as if holding a ball in each arm. Keep the fingers apart   slightly curved, palms pointing in and slightly down. Hands are at shoulder distance apart, and about three fists distance from the chest. Elbows should be slightly below the level of the wrists. Shoulders must be relaxed, not hunched, with a slight sense of outward stretching, so the chest feels open, neither sticking out nor constricted.  Curved arms should also have a slight sense of inward force, as if not letting a ball drop, though no physically in tension.  

The posture is most suitable for those without any particular illness to strengthen the constitution, prevent illness and promote health into old age.

-   J. P. C. Moffett, Wang Xuanjie,  Traditional Chinese Therapeutic Exercises: Standing Pole.
Foreign Languages Press May 1994.  ISBN: 7119006967.  Pages: 49-52

 

 

"Find a comfortable and convenient place to stand, with your feet about shoulder width apart and parallel, and start to feel the support of the Golden Cord holding you up from the top of your head, held by Kuan Yin, the Chinese Goddess of universal compassion. Just allow your body to relax and hang off that cord.  Allow Kuan Yin to do the work of holding you up, just trust her to do her job.

Allow the weight of your body, and any tension in your body, to start to drain out, starting from your head,  through your face, your neck, your shoulders, your arms, your wrists, your hands, your torso, your belly, your pelvis, your thighs, your knees, your ankles, your feet, all the way down into a reservoir three feet under the ground.

Allow even your feet to relax, with your weight going down into the ground just forward of the heels, so the front parts of your feet don't have to exert any force on the ground, and can sit easy and relaxed on the ground, king of like the webbed feet of a duck.

Imagine you have a horse between your legs, and that the very bottom part of your body is resting on the saddle of that horse. So there's a feeling of the weight being taken on your perineum - that's the very bottom point of the body. Relax into the support you're feeling there. Relax the buttocks and the anus - create a feeling of everything opening down to the ground.

Feel your pelvis like a bowl full of water.

Now imagine strings attached to your wrists, held by Kuan Yin, the Chinese goddess of compassion.

In a few moments you will feel her lifting up your wrists by these strings.And as she lifts up your wrists, allow the shoulders to relax and open as much as they can. One good way to do this is to imagine all the joints of the shoulders expanding, just a little more space in all the joints of the shoulders, as if every bone in the shoulders is getting just a little further apart from all its neighbors.

Have your palms facing your body at around the height of your heart, so that there's a round space between your arms and your body, as if you were hugging somebody. By the way, one of the Chinese names of this position is 'Hugging the tree.' You can even do this while really hugging a tree if you want to.

Allow the shoulders and elbows to roll down and back, making more space, as if opening your arms to hug somebody, greeting a long-lost friend, opening your arms, saying 'AAAAh!, good to see you!'"

Chi Kung Standing Meditation, Instructional CD, by Martin ?

 

 

"In its most pure form, kyudo is practiced as an art and as a means of moral and spiritual development.  Many archers practice kyudo as a sport, with marksmanship being paramount. However, the highest  ideal of kyudo is "seisha seichu", "correct shooting is correct hitting". In kyudo the unique action of expansion (nobiai) that results in a natural release, is strived for.  When the spirit and balance of the shooting is correct the result will be for the arrow to arrive in the target. To give oneself completely to the shooting is the spiritual goal. In this respect, many kyudo practitioners believe that competition, examination, and any opportunity that places the archer in this uncompromising situation is important, while other practitioners will avoid competitions or examinations of any kind."
-  
Kyudo - Wikipedia

 

 

"By yourself, try all the same things standing with your feet parallel to each other, about shoulder width (or less) apart, with your knees just slightly bent. Relax your shoulders, shoulder blades, and chest.  Gently adjust your coccyx (tail bone) so that it is more or less pointed directly down toward the ground. When this happens, the arch in your lower back will naturally flatten out. See if you can sense your lower back and sacrum connecting directly to your legs. (Remember to let your arms hang naturally at your sides with your palms facing back.) Once you are more or less comfortable in this posture, use your attention to slowly scan your entire body from the top of your head to the bottoms of your feet, noting where there is any unnecessary tension in your muscles. As you scan your body, do not attempt to change anything. Simply observe and sense. Once you reach the bottoms of your feet, start again from the top of your head and see if you can gradually release any unnecessary tension in your muscles downward through your body into the earth. As you try this, you will begin to sense a new dimension of inner balance, a sense of being supported by and rooted to the earth. Start out by standing this way for at least five minutes a day. Once your legs and pelvis begin to feel comfortable in this posture you can move on to ten or fifteen minutes a day or more.

After undertaking this practice for a couple of weeks, begin to experiment with it in your ordinary life-as you talk to friends, wait in line, and so on. The idea is not to take the same exact posture that you take when working alone, but rather to have the continuing sensation of releasing all your muscular tension downward through your body into the earth. See if you can "just stand" with your weight equally distributed through both feet and your arms at your sides, totally open to whatever impressions or perceptions the moment may bring. If you observe a thought or emotion making some part of your body tense, just return to the sensation of releasing this tension downward into the earth. As you continue to work in this way in whatever circumstances you may find yourself, you will begin to discover a deep sense of relaxation not just physically, but also mentally and emotionally. You will find yourself spontaneously "letting go" of much that is unnecessary in your life."
-   Dennis Lewis,
The Transformative Power of Conscious Standing

 

 

An old Chinese Zen Master once said, "Some of you are taking me literally when I say, 'Don't think,' and you are making your minds like a rock. This is a cause of in-sentiency and an obstruction to the Way. When I say not to think, I mean that if you have a thought, think nothing of it."

 

 

"Body is the bow,
asana is the arrow,
and soul is the target."
-   B.K.S. Iyengar

 

 

"The foundation of the internal martial arts (and many external martial arts as well) is the practice of "stance keeping" or Zhan Zhuang.  In the Xing Yi Quan system, stance keeping is the very core of training and develops many of the qualities essential to the development of martial ability.  ...   The root of efficient movement is stillness.  Therefore, a logical place to begin training is simply standing still.  Standing still, one may reduce the number of variables to be dealt with to the bare minimum.   The mind may naturally quiet and focus itself on the felling of correct posture and true balance.  The first goal of standing is to return to the state of "not-doing" anything, thereby inhibiting previously acquired bad habits and allowing the neuromuscular system to register the feeling of natural balance until it once again becomes the predominant state.  Any movement initiated from this state of true balance will naturally have power."
-  Tim Cartmell, p. 58, Xing Yi Nei Gong

 

 

"Beginning students bust first stand 'hun yuan zhuang' (Standing meditation. 'Hun' = mixed, foggy, obscure, confused, all over etc. yuan = beginning, zhuang = 'post') The body must be stilled and intentioned must be focused on 'wuji'. From stillness into motion is the taiji. ...  The single palm change is the mother of ten thousand palms. The mother palms give birth to them all. Its place is between stillness and motion. It could be moving; it could be still. Towards movement but not moving. The San Jian Zhao (3 points stance) of Baji, the San Ti Shi of Xing Yi Quan, the Bu Chan Shi (Snatching a Cicada Stance) of Preying Mantis, The Ti Shou Shi (rising hands stance; the opening position) of Taijiquan, all of them follow this logic. The incredible power of baguazhang can all be found withing the single palm change."
-   Baguazhang of Liu Yun Chiao

 

 

"Standing meditation. Calmly stand with the eyes fixed on the floor; stand comfortably but not stiffly. Place the left hand on the abdomen with the right hand covering and lightly holding the left. Observe the breathing while saying to oneself ‘Bud’ during inhalation and ‘Dho’ during exhalation. Repeat ‘Bud’-‘Dho’, ‘Bud’-‘Dho’ until one changes one’s meditation posture.  Standing meditation can be practiced alone or alternated with Walking meditation. When one has reached the end of the Walking meditation path, one can practice Standing meditation for a while before turning around and continuing the Walking meditation.
    To obtain quicker and better results for the mental practice, one must have mindfulness (Sati) and clear comprehension (Sampajanna) in all activities and movements of the body. These activities include, for example, standing, walking, sitting, lying down, working, speaking, taking a shower, eating, drinking, looking back, bending the arms, stretching the arms, purging, urinating, and even breathing in and out. If one succeeds in doing this, then one is sure to increase one’s mindfulness and clear comprehension which will then increase the strength of mindfulness, resulting in deep concentration or Samadhi which can be used to accomplish both worldly and spiritual affairs more effectively. If one practices only in the sitting posture and leaves the mind to its liking all the rest of the time, then one will make very slow progress because the mind is not under control most of the time.  Mindfulness of breathing (Anapanasati) can be practiced in four postures, i.e. sitting, standing, walking, and lying down."
Mindfulness Meditation While Standing

 

 

"In the zhan zhuang form, you do literally "stand like a tree;" your arms assume positions resembling the branches of a tree while your feet and legs remain motionless. Some instructors include the visualization of roots reaching out from the soles of your feet and spreading into the soil.  Like all qigong, the intent of this form is to maintain the free-flow of your internal energy (qi or chi) since stagnant or blocked energy is at the root of most illnesses. Zhan zhuang delivers the added benefit of actually increasing your internal energy and making you stronger as you stand while holding your arms in each of the five basic positions. It is recommended that you begin with five minutes and build up to standing for about thirty minutes each day."
Standing Meditation, Living Stress Free

 

 

"Zhan zhuang practice typically begins with wuji zhuang, a balanced posture with arms down at the sides of the body.  A transition into cheng bao zhuang (’Embracing the Ball’ Stance) consists of raising the arms up and forward.  This action shifts your center of gravity forwards, and unless you compensate for this shift with another part of your body, you will immediately topple over.  When you adopt different postures with the arms, you must engage different muscles in the legs and back to remain upright.  At first, this will feel uncomfortable, as it increases the load on your entire body; nevertheless, it is correct.  This discomfort does not necessarily mean you have violated the principle of no-force; rather, it simply shows that your body is not yet strong enough.  One of the signature benefits of zhan zhuang practice is development of hunyuan li, or unified martial force.  To gain this benefit to the fullest degree, be sure to practice with your whole body."
Do You Make This Zhan Zhuang Mistake 

 

 

    "Many variations of standing meditation require that the arms be held up, as if holding a ball, for fifteen minutes or more. At first, such postures are unpleasant, and cause tension and soreness in the shoulders. However, the posture itself is not the problem, it only exposes the problem: an unhealthy lifestyle, so deficient in exercise that even your own arms seem oppressively heavy.  After a few weeks of regular practice, the soreness will give way to more pleasant sensations. You will be able to raise your arms up with no discernable effort, and your entire body will become warm. Your joints will feel well-lubricated; stiffness or arthritic conditions will be relieved.
    A lack of upper-body strength is not the only obstacle to successful practice. After the soreness disappears, a succession of images will parade through your mind. Endlessly replaying the events of the past, and predicting those of the future, you should begin to recognize that you are addicted to distractions.  Starving the beast will weaken it. If you can disregard these distractions from within, do so; otherwise, remove them from your practice environment. Shut the windows and the doors. When your mind finally stops, your perception of time will change; instead of watching the clock, you’ll wish you had more time to spend in this calm and quiet state."
The Four Paradoxes of Standing Meditation.  By Wang Xiangzhai, the founder of Yi Quan

 

 

"Begin by standing with your feet parallel and about shoulder-width apart. Take a couple of deep long breaths, saying “aaah” (either out loud or to yourself) with the exhales. Let go of any tension you find in your shoulders, neck or face ~ simply let it “melt” away, with the exhale … as though that tension were a frozen river, being touched now by a warm sun, and flowing downward, like the gentle cascade of a waterfall, forming pools at your feet. Feel your energy, your awareness, settling into your feet & legs & hips & belly, connecting you strongly to the earth. Bend your knees just slightly ~ just enough to feel a softness at the backs of your knees.

Let your arms hang down next to your sides, so that your thumbs are gently touching your outer thighs (which means the backs of your hands will be facing forward). Separate and extend your fingers downward, so that they’re straight without being rigid, and so there’s space between each pair of fingers (as though you had webbed fingers). Now, float your hands directly forward, three or four inches, so they’re hovering now just in front of (but still to the sides) of your thighs. This should create a feeling of hollowness in your armpits. Let your elbows be bent just enough to create a feeling of softness in them.

Now choose a gazing point, eight or ten feet in front of you. Rest your eyes very softly on that point (or area). (The meditation Masters of the past have discovered that there’s a connection between the movement of our eyes, and the movement of thoughts in our mind … So making the eyes still is a wonderful way to calm the mind.) Try to let that spot you’re looking at come into your eyes, instead of reaching out (with the energy of your eyes) to “grab” it. In other words, let your eyes become receptive, instead of active … Relax your jaw, so that there’s space between your upper & lower teeth, even though your lips are gently closed."
-   Qigong Standing Meditation by Elizabeth Reinger

 

 

"I have a growing need to return to Wu-chi for a while. There are two traditional elements basic to the Taoist understanding of life: Wu-chi and Tai-chi. Wu-chi is an expression of 'no-thing'-the formless Mystery from which all life emerges. Tai-chi is an expression of 'grand ultimate'-the infinite expression of forms and life in the universe. Tai-chi is born from Wu-chi and does its marvelous dance, then returns to Wu-chi and is re-formed into a new step in the dance. I feel the need to spend some time in the Wu-chi, the Yin side of life. I am going to take a few months of semi-retreat living."
-   William Martin, Taoist Studies Newsletter, 12/1/2011

 

 

"I call the ancient, natural way of standing "the Paleolithic Posture."  In the Paleolithic Posture, the knees are slightly bent, the spine is straight, and long, the breath is deep and quiet, and the eyes are open and alert.  The body feels like a tree with deep roots for balance and tall branches for grace.  Although we usually think of a "posture" as a static pose, it includes our carriage in movement as well.  Since a straight and tall stance confers the greatest balance, sensitivity, awareness, and alertness, we see it in a scout standing still on a mountain lookout or walking through camp to a council meeting."
Honoring the Medicine, p. 240, by Ken Cohen

 

 

    "Standing meditation or Zhan Zhuang is an ancient form of Chi Kung that is gaining popularity in China and the rest of the world. This system is simple on the outside, and as deep as the universe on the inside. Standing exercises are extremely important to Tai Chi training, and the essence of self-healing.
   The basic idea for all standing exercises is the use of the mind to move energy. These exercises can be as easy as just standing in a normal posture and breathing naturally, or as complex as twisting the body or sinking into a very deep posture and moving the breath in quite intricate patterns. In any case, the exercises always proceed from simple to complex as the student gains the necessary skills needed to use the mind to move energy.
   T. T. Liang, one of America’s leading Tai Chi masters, used the term “Imagination Becomes Reality” to describe how Tai Chi and standing meditation works. At first you imagine certain things, like holding a ball and feeling it expand and contract, or feeling energy circle in an orbit inside the body. Before long, you will actually be able to feel these sensations as the mind (Yi) acts on the energy (Chi) to create internal energy (Jing or Shen). These sensations are, at the beginning, quite obvious like tingling, shaking, vibrating, or heat. As the body opens and relaxation happens, the grosser sensations vanish and the movement of the finer energies becomes possible. In the final stages, time seems to vanish, the separate ego identity merges with the universal energy or Tao, and the person has realized his or her own potential. It is a journey requiring diligent and constant practice, yet is attainable by everyone. Many individuals throughout history have walked on this path, and their teaching can and should guide you. There are many pitfalls, obstacles, and quite difficult places, yet if you follow the advice of those who have gone before, and listen to your inner self, the potential problems will be minimized."
-   Standing Meditation by Michael Gillman 

 

 

"Cross-culturally, the posture of standing meditation in one position with arms at sides and eyes open for at least fifteen minutes is used in the martial arts, spiritual practices and in the military as a way of reinforcing and coalescing the three universal powers and of connecting the practitioner with the greater being of who he or she is.   ...  The task of the warrior is to show up, to be visible and empower others through example and intention.  ...   Universally there are three kinds of power: power of presence, power to communicate, power of position. Shamanic societies recognize that a person who has all three powers embodies "big medicine."  Every human being carries the power of presence. Some individuals carry such presence that we are drawn to and captivated by these charismatic people even before they speak or we know anything about them.  A warrior or leader uses the power of communication to effectively align the content, timing and placement to deliver a message at the right time in the right place for the person involved to hear and receive it.  A warrior demonstrates the power of position by the willingness to take a stand. Many politicians have great presence and great communication, but lose power when they allow constituents to wonder where they stand on specific issues."  
-   Four Ways to Wisdom by Angeles Arrien

 

 

"Hi, in the early 60's I lived and trained in ZZ with a man who was raised in the Sarmong Brotherhood monastery on the NW side of the Himalayas.  For many years I did 1-2 hours of ZZ a day.  (9 postures) I still go back to it at times...sort of like visiting an old friend.

He taught by the principles:
(1) All motion begins from a still point.  Be the point and the knowing of how to defend is automatically yours.  (No "method" of how to use it in self defense was necessary.  This is the source of Ziranmen Boxing.)
(2) ZZ is in three modes according to the persons evolvement as a Being: Heaven, Man, and Earth.  Earth...practitioners want martial uses for standing.  That is their level of being.  Man...practitioners want health uses for ZZ.  Heaven...practitioners see the still point as a return to Source.  They use ZZ as a vehicle to return to the clear Light of emptiness.  (See Tibetan Dzogchen for example.)
(3) When "Heaven" ZZ is done correctly, the energy entering the body will begin to move the body without the brain/muscles being involved.  (i.e. don't think, then move).  Each day the energy will move the body as it needs it.  When the moving is over the body will vibrate at a very fine frequency, like a tuning fork.
(4) Tai Chi came from this concept long ago.  (A friend who lived off and on in the Chen village said the old men told him all Chen Tai Chi was originally only ZZ.  Then the chi linked the ZZ positions together into a form.)
(5) Martial uses of ZZ...the body will move as driven by the energy (see (3) above) and this is called "No Form".  (No contrived set of moves, brain muscle driven).  This is balanced with "Form" wherein you use a memorized set of movements, but let the energy (in (3) above) move you in it's patterns.  How to apply it is intuitive.  The energy will protect you."
-   Ron Loving, email on 3/20/2008

 

 

    "Standing meditation is also one of the most important aspects of doing Tai Chi. Tai Chi has an attitude of uncovering the "stillness within motion", and it is only through meditation that we can realize this. It grounds us, teaches us to center ourselves both emotionally and physically, shows us how to Be in the moment, and builds up tremendous leg strength from the inside out. It is through doing meditation that our Tai Chi movements will be filled with relaxation and that flowing, beautiful grace that it is known for. 
    What should one try to make happen in meditation? Absolutely nothing. The idea is to fully experience - in a very grounded way - whatever it is that happens. Sometimes this will be nothing more than a serene sense of peace and clarity. Other times experiences could include visual, auditory, or tactile sensations. And energy flow within ourselves can be a wonderful thing to allow and observe. There are also physical changes in health and emotional attitudes that will start to change and open. Each person will have their own, unique range of experiences so it is best not to expect anything specific, but remember to allow and observe what it is that does happen. 
    The beginning student should learn not to fear any sensations, thoughts, or feelings experienced in meditation. The idea is to be able to ground and center yourself, and from this position just allow and observe the experience. By doing this there is no limit to what we can learn about ourselves, why we think or act certain ways, the depth to which our bodymindspirit is connected, and our relationship to life. 
    Standing meditation is the most basic posture in Qi Gong, and Tai Chi is a form of Qi Gong. Simple standing is usually done first to ground and center ourselves, and begin to open and fill our energy centers. Standing is then followed by some warm-up Qi Gong exercises. These exercises build up our qi and harmonize the meridians. Finally we do moving Tai Chi to flow the abundance of qi throughout our bodies like the wind and water. The Taoist definition of health is "the smooth, harmonious, abundant, and appropriate flow of qi".
-   Standing Meditation for Tai Chi by Cynthia McMullen

 

 

"Find a comfortable and convenient place to stand, with your feet about shoulder width apart and parallel, and start to feel the support of the Golden Cord holding you up from the top of your head, held by Kuan Yin, the Chinese Goddess of universal compassion. Just allow your body to relax and hang off that cord. Allow Kuan Yin to do the work of holding you up, just trust her to do her job.  Allow the weight of your body, and any tension in your body, to start to drain out, starting from your head, through your face, your neck, your shoulders, your arms, your wrists, your hands, your torso, your belly, your pelvis, your thighs, your knees, your ankles, your feet, all the way down into a reservoir three feet under the ground.  Allow even your feet to relax, with your weight going down into the ground just forward of the heels, so the front parts of your feet don't have to exert any force on the ground, and can sit easy and relaxed on the ground, king of like the webbed feet of a duck.  Imagine you have a horse between your legs, and that the very bottom part of your body is resting on the saddle of that horse. So there's a feeling of the weight being taken on your perineum - that's the very bottom point of the body. Relax into the support you're feeling there. Relax the buttocks and the anus - create a feeling of everything opening down to the ground.  Feel your pelvis like a bowl full of water.  Breathe and take a lot of energy into your body with your breathing.
    Now imagine strings attached to your wrists, held by Kuan Yin, the Chinese goddess of compassion.  In a few moments you will feel her lifting up your wrists by these strings.  And as she lifts up your wrists, allow the shoulders to relax and open as much as they can. One good way to do this is to imagine all the joints of the shoulders expanding, just a little more space in all the joints of the shoulders, as if every bone in the shoulders is getting just a little further apart from all its neighbors.  Now feel her slowly lifting up your wrists using those strings, till your wrists come to about the height of your heart.  Have your palms facing your body at around the height of your heart, so that there's a round space between your arms and your body, as if you were hugging somebody.  Allow the shoulders and elbows to roll down and back, making more space, as if opening your arms to hug somebody, greeting a long-lost friend, opening your arms, saying 'Aaaah!, good to see you!'"
Chi Kung Standing Meditation 

 

 

"Meditation has multiple components. The physical component is aimed at relaxing the body. The mental component is aimed at calming the mind. The spiritual component is aimed at harmonizing your [internal] energy. Many, if not most people, practice only 1 of these, and ignore the others.
    When you know why you are doing something, this will accentuate your focus, allowing you to steer-clear of confusion and/or second-guessing's like "am I only daydreaming?".  Visualizing beautiful things, esp. nature, can:
-  help harmonize your body with nature ("I am rooted like a tree") [physical]
-  help harmonize your mind with nature ("My mind is calm/quiet like a mountain")
-  help harmonize your spirit energy with nature's energy patterns ("My energy flows down like a waterfall")
    Next, you can also physically go-out into nature, and 'breathe' nature in, allowing your body to kinesthetically feel how rooted a tree is... outreach it, extend into it, feel yourself become one with it.  Share in its experience, blend with its energy. Since it's nature, the energy is good, and will heal you.  Blending your energy with it will naturally harmonize your energy, plus teach you a different, more whole/balanced/calm way to be [ie, running your energy that way].
    Remember, whatever comes-up is part of the practice.  Sometimes psychological releases are necessary before a profound physical change can happen. Don't discard anything; it's all necessary. cherish what comes up.  This all-about discovering about you. By putting aside martial considerations for a while and turning within, you'll be able to develop an internal alignment which will eventually translate into significantly increased power... if that's your focus."
Thirteen Questions About Standing Meditation by Ed Ramirez  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zhan Zhuang
Entering the Heart of Trees
Notes and Observations, Questions, Leads


Standing Relaxation and Meditation Posture

"Wu Ji" is the name of the Chinese Qigong Standing Meditation Posture
   "Wu" means emptiness, the primordial undifferentiated Ground of Being
   "Ji" means the limit, the boundary, the terminus, the end point

"Tadasana" is the name of the Indian Yoga Standing Meditation Posture
   "Tad" means mountain
   "asana" means posture, specific body position, ritual posture

X References:  Wu Ji, Standing Meditation, Zhan Zhuang, Standing Post, Standing Like a Tree,
Yi Quan, I Chuan, Pole Standing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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Disclaimer

© Green Way Research, Red Bluff, California, 2004-2015
By Michael P. Garofalo, All Rights Reserved.

This document was first published on the Internet in June of 2004. 

This document was last modified or updated on November 12, 2014. 

 

Zhan Zhuang (Standing Like a Tree)