Master Ziji explains the principles of controlling Yin & Yang and how to cultivate energy. https://youtu.be/8xphTrXINtI…
As recently discussed in this post, Zhan Zhuang is an important pillar in internal martial arts. But what skills does Zhan Zhuang actually bring to Taiji practitioners? We want to go into that today.
Feel and recognize Yin and Yang
Through the continuous practice of Zhan Zhuang, we become aware of areas of tension. Like others train for more strength, we train Zhan Zhuang on the way of relaxation. Constant standing means no change for body and mind, but something will change constantly in this exercise with untrained students. It is about accepting situations and perceiving the state. When the body is calm and controlled, the focus should be on the mind next, otherwise, the mind will always find something to deal with. In the state of absolute calmness, we will really experience the states of Yin and Yang. Therefore, a connection to the extreme can be made next.
Yin and Yang in Taijiquan
In Taiji, yin and yang move, it is like the balance is held in two glasses so that none of them drips over. The movement out of balance is the direction to harmony. When someone can keep a close focus on Yin and Yang, the body and mind are in control of the movement. Taiji is thus controlled at the extremes and harmonized therefrom, which is an important basic understanding for self-cultivation.
Master Yuan Xiu Gang leading a Zhan Zhuang class:
What is Zhan Zhuang?
Zhan Zhuang is one of the most important pillars in the inner martial art of Wudang. This exercise is a relaxed standing with open arms and shoulders. In Wudang, it is one of the Qi Gong exercises that everyone should do every day.
Why do we stand?
For beginners, Zhan Zhuang is important to feel the tension in the body and to become more relaxed. For advanced users, Zhan Zhuang is important to be able to control the flow of energy. It is also the only exercise that builds up Qi effectively.
Zhan Zhuang has a positive effect on the entire body. The reason for this is breath control and relaxed standing, which calm the brain waves. This significantly reduces stress and the body can concentrate on the stimulation and circulation of blood and oxygen and thus also on qi.
How to practice:
The body requires a certain basic condition, but also a strong mind, to make progress with Zhan Zhuang. It is recommended to exercise at the same place and at the same time every day to avoid further internal conflicts. The duration between 15 and 60 minutes is recommended. Under 15 minutes, Zhan Zhuang is not effective because our brain needs time to adapt to the exercise.
Qi Gong or Chi Kung?
The spelling Chi Kung (Wade & Giles) is outdated and was developed as a transcription around 100 years ago in Cambridge. Today we know how Chinese people emphasize and the current romanization is called Pinyin. It is also called Tai Ji instead of Tai Chi.
Breath or energy?
There are schools that say Qi Gong is about energy or breathing, but both are not entirely accurate. The fact that one tries to delineate the whole is typical of our Western conception and absolutely cramped.
After traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and classical Chinese medicine (CCM), which by the way are different from the commercialization of the Sino-Republican concept, the CCM is closer and more authentic to our Wudang understanding. Both teachings state the following:
- Qi is energy
- Breath is oxygen
- The heart carries both over the blood
- Power arises from this process
- The heart stands for emotions
- Therefore, it is important to keep calm in the breath and in the heart to gain strength
What is Qi Gong?
Qi Gong can be translated very precisely as a breathing practice that brings us energy. However, here the medical conception differs from the esoteric one. Energy is not obtained from the pleasant comfort in which the ignorant like to crawl. Qi Gong is a soothing and enjoyable practice where you learn to stand properly, breathe properly and relax. The focus is inside out and the practitioner gains control over himself. The path is to change, and for any organism, change is never pleasant.
Qi Gong is the foundation of the inner martial arts and health, the circulation created by these exercises gives the body the necessary energies to become stronger. Qi Gong is also the only practice recommended for healthy and sick people.
Zhan Zhuang, standing like a tree, most people just imagine it to be easy; However, Zhan Zhuang is one of the basic as well as the mastery exercises. Zhan Zhuang shows what you are missing.
Influence of the energy channels
Zhan Zhuang is only half as exhausting when the body has many blockages that cushion the very core of inner conflicts because these blockages primarily serve that purpose. The nesting of the self, like a snail, leads to many problems at all levels and is often supported as a protective function of one’s own imagination. Zhan Zhuang is the straightening of our frame of reference and shows us the straight path to the Self, a path of rest.
If the energy channels are not blocked and released, for example, by stretching, the inner conflict is immediately open and the Zhan Zhuang exercise becomes increasingly demanding.
People with many blockages start to sweat, this is not conducive and more like a transistor that converts energy into heat as a by-product. Who has free energy channels, does not sweat and maintains a natural heat balance, the mental sensitization, which is related to the resolution of the conflicts, increases. Therefore, Zhan Zhuang is experienced as more exhausting when done properly.
Learn to accept the calm
While keeping the spine absolutely calm, we feel as a spiritual and physical being. This being possesses a state of constant, any form of restlessness and fluctuating concentration is causing our universe to burst like a bubble.
We can only accept who we are, and Zhan Zhuang provides the knowledge of what to do.
Our breath, the energy that flows through our body, provides everything that we imagine. Those who do not consciously care for their body and mind get cold feet and stares into the fool’s box. Because even though we are rigid at first sight, with the tolerance of our will, every rock softens.
Me and Zhan Zhuang
The way of the Dao, is the way of ours is determined in the situation of absolute peace. Because only then is enough time to learn more about ourselves. The Daoists tell of a heavenly dictation. Who are we behind the mental and physical blockages?
Master Ziji tells:
On my long journey, I learned about Zhan Zhuang, while practicing Zhan Zhuang motivates me to be successful, to feel the freedom. Zhan Zhuang is a challenging exercise that touches me to this day, because nature knows no exceptions and no mercy. If you are looking for peace, Zhan Zhuang will not understand. Those who want to face his weak points will find peace.