Notes on Zhan Zhuang Continued
Not just for beginners, use as a reminder.
On the 16 April I gave a basic introduction into Zhan Zhuang Qigong or Standing Post. This week I’d like to underline important examples of the benefits of regular practise of this aspect of the art.
A number of practitioners suggest there are three main categories of development, and they are probably right. There are a couple of caveats to consider, it does depend on the depth they wish to divulge, because the length of time someone has practised will make a difference. If one is serious about
this art, things will happen to the body irrespective of deliberate intensity of practise. I use the word intensity deliberately as we all like to get results quickly, but frustratingly it doesn’t happen quickly, so encouraging an over enthusiastic response would be detrimental. As the quotation goes, “anything worth having takes effort, so don’t get discouraged when the going gets tough”.
Yes, to put your body and mind in the right place exposes a multitude of questions as all bodies and minds are different. The prerequisite of practising Zhan Zhuang is; correct posture, relax in this posture while emptying the mind, and concentrate on breathing as instructed.
Let me go through various practise scenarios; sportspersons tend to push their bodies to extreme, TJQ practitioners should never go to extremes, but one should push the boundaries as this is a Martial Art and fitness is a major factor. Setting gaols that are achievable and being astutely aware when you’ve
accomplished it, and importantly to sustaining this fitness. This means to maintain reasonable low stance and the ability to hold postures for at least ten minutes and being able to check the state of relaxation within and have little or no physical discomfort. There is a membrane that runs throughout the body that covers every muscle and organ, it enables the muscles to smoothly flow over each other. As we get older movement can become more difficult as this membrane begins to get tighter particularly in shoulder joints and also other places too. One of the benefits of moving Qigong like the Dao Yin exercises are so important in keeping this membrane fluid and flexible.
The next challenge is to be able to concentrate on a breathing technique throughout the ten minutes. Do endeavour only to inhale 70% of your capacity with the exhalations taking longer. This is not easy and there are many pitfalls on route. The two words that come to mind are perseverance and patience and not to be judgemental. Be kind to yourself as this could take a long time, but it does help to be single minded which is also an aim. Be able to only think of one thing at a time is total concentration which is exactly what’s needed when practising the form.
The intent overall is to be able to create this sense of well-being at will, so at any time, you can become self-centred and calm.
The three categories therefore are as follows; Physical development, Energetic, the feeling of movement of intrinsic energy throughout the body, and Shen the development of internal force issued by the powerful mind.
Without the physical aspect being developed none of these three energetic elements can be achieved.
A word of encouragement to you all, our bodies have an internal mechanism of renewal and replenishment, we can help it by practising our Zhan Zhuang regularly. This will create the will for the mind/body to relax more and will generally increase body awareness which will grow exponentially.
Now I know some of you are not keen on the Martial Art aspects, but this is a whole art and you will not be able to help but become fitter and more flexible by practising it. Therefore, your health will improve if you concentrate on the relaxation aspects. The only fight you’ll have is to maintain good health and longevity helped particularly if you keep 2 metres apart.
Please don’t ignore your Zhan Zhuang (Standing Post) and let me know how your practise is going. Thank you to the students who keep contact.