The Standing Meditation of Chinese Soaring Crane Qigong

The Standing Meditation of Chinese Soaring Crane Qigong falls in the category of static qigong (the five routines belong to kinetic qigong). It is an exercise to clear the channels, balance yin and yang, regulate the function of qi and blood and improve health. Designed to enhance the therapeutic effectiveness of Soaring Crane Qigong, the standing meditation is taught after the Five Routines. Students must first of all learn the Five Routines well before they go on to this stage. They should have practiced the Five Routines for at least 40 to 50 hours and have had the sensation of numbness, fullness, warmth or cold which proves that their main points – say lao gong, yong quan and bai hui – are open and their major channels are clear. Then they may learn this standing meditation.

When doing the standing meditation, use natural breathing. That is to say, you do not have to think about how to breathe but just let your respiratory system work naturally.

During the practice of standing meditation, various spontaneous external body movements are observed. Some are seen with the whole body shaking, some with hand movements and jumping, some massaging and hitting their own body, some utter some sounds and regulate their breath, some dancing, etc. Upon closer observation, these movements are closely related to sicknesses the practitioners concerned are having. Which parts of the body is having sickness or the channels blocked, those parts will move more. Qi is like a good doctor. It can automatically detect sicknesses and attempt to cure them. These movements gradually become lesser and lesser as these sicknesses and channel blockages get better, until eventually there is no more external body movement. The movement then becomes internal.

1st Instruction for the Standing Meditation

Preparation (Yu Bei)

Stand with your feet as wide apart as your shoulders, toes turned in a little, knees slightly bent. Let your shoulders relax. Allow your hands to fall at your sides naturally. Place the upper tip of your tongue on your upper palate, just behind your teeth. Keep your eyes level and open, thinking of nothing.

Use your mind to relax your whole body sequentially from top to bottom. Gather Qi into your lower dan tian. Concentrate your mind on your lower dan tian for al little while.Direct Qi from your lower dan tian to hui yin, then back up along du mai to da Zhui. At this point, split the Qi into two streams and direct it through the middle of the shoulders, down through the arms to lao gong.

2nd Instruction for the Standing Meditation

Double return of Qi (Shuang Hui Qi)

Turn your palms forward and using your shoulders as a pivot, raise your arms while holding a ball of Qi in your hands, then beam it into tian mu. Open your chest by spreading out your elbows. With palms down and fingertips pointing at each other, your hands descend in front of you body guiding Qi down into your lower dan tian.

3rd Instruction for the Standing Meditation

Holding a ball of Qi (Bao Qiu)

When your two hands reach the level of the navel, relax your fingers and bend them slightly and push your hands gently away from your body with the backs of your hands angled a bit toward your body at about 45 °. Turn your palms to face your lower dan tian. Embrace a ball of Qi in front of your lower dan tian.

4th Instruction for the Standing Meditation

Hanging the head from Sky (Ding Tou Xuan)

Keep your head straight as if your bai hui were connected to heaven by a string, and visualize that you are holding an object (such as a bowl of water) on the top of your head. In this way your upper body will be kept straight and your head and neck will be very steady so that you will not easily fall onto the ground.

5th Instruction for the Standing Meditation

Relaxing the Spine (Zhui Ji)

Raise your shoulders up a little and then inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. At the same time relax your spine by loosening each of your vertebrae.

6th Instruction for the Standing Meditation

Holding in the Chest (Han Xiong)

Take in your arms a bit to enable the Qi in your lungs to flow unimpeded but not so much as to press against the inner organs, Be sure to relax the area around the heart; only in this way can the inner organs be relaxed.

7th Instruction for the Standing Meditation

Relaxing the Shoulders (Song Jian)

Raise your elbows outwardly a bit as if you were holding a tennis ball under each armpit, and relax your shoulders.

8th Instruction for the Standing Meditation

Sinking the Elbows (Zhui Zhou)

Hang down the joints of your elbows a bit and you will feel Qi flow down from your arms to your forearms immediately.

9th Instruction for the Standing Meditation

Relaxing your Wrists (Song Wan)

Keep your mind on shen men and relax your wrists a bit and you will immediately feel the flow of qi into your ten fingers.

10th Instruction for the Standing Meditation

Smoothing out the fingers (Shu Zhu)

Relax your fingers and bend them a little as if you were holding a ball of Qi in each palm. Then visualize that you are mingling the two balls of Qi with the Qi in your dan tian to form one big ball, 2/3 of which is outside your body in front of your lower dan tian, and 1/3 of which is in your lower dan tian.

11th Instruction for the Standing Meditation

Relaxing the Waist (Song Yao)

Use your mind to relax the section of your spine from lumbar vertebrae to sacrum and then push your tail bone back a bit as if to sit, being sure that your knees are not further forward than your toes. The whole body should be completely relaxed, and every vertebra, especially, should be loose.

The 12th Instruction for the Standing Meditation

Relaxing the Hips (Song Kua)

Take in your hips a bit and rotate them once or twice and then the hips will be fully relaxed.

The 13th Instruction for the Standing Meditation

Hanging down Wei Lu (Chui Wei Lu)

Wei lu is a point at the end of the tail bone. Visualize that there is a pendulum hanging down straight from wei lu to 4” (10cm) above the ground. This forms a triangle with your feet as the other 2 sides.

The 14th Instruction for the Standing Meditation

Relaxing the Knees (Song Xi)

Relax your knees which should be slightly bent naturally and not further forward than your toes. Use your mind to visualize that Qi passes through your knees.

The 15th Instruction for the Standing Meditation

Adjusting the Feet (Diao Zu)

Let your feet be flat on the ground, toes fully relaxed. Use your mind to direct Qi from your shoulders, hips and ankles to yong quan. When you feel the Qi in your yong quan, use your mind to direct it down to the earth to connect with the Qi from the earth. Your feet will then be rooted.

The 16th Instruction for the Standing Meditation

Gathering Qi into Dan Tian (Qi Chen Dan Tian)

By this time your whole body is completely relaxed. Now use your mind to mingle the Qi in your two hands with the Qi in your dan tian to form a big, round ball of Qi. Concentrate your mind on shen men, ming men and yong quan so as to relax them. Visualize that you are mingling the Qi in your upper body with the Qi in your lower body and mingling the Qi outside your body with the Qi inside your body so that you are in the middle of a ball of Qi.

17th Instruction for the Standing Meditation

Bringing down the Eyelids (Chui Lian)

Use your mind to withdraw the spiritual light from far to near slowly until you have taken it completely back. Lower your upper eyelids and look at the end of your nose (you may either close your eyes or just leave a small gap but never squeeze them shut). Look down the nose inward through shan zhong and along zhong mai into lower dan tian. Then keep your mind on dan tian without thinking of anything else.

There are 4 steps in the finishing for Standing Meditation.

1st step : Slowly Coming to a Stop

When you feel that you need to stop or you feel too tired to go on with the standing meditation, you tell yourself that you want to stop. You say the following words silently, ”Hao Liao Qi Gui Dan Tian.” (It means, “let all the Qi gather into dan tian; I am ready to finish.”) Gradually your movements will become slower of milder until they come to a complete stop. Stand for a little while and until your heart is in complete peace.

2nd Step : Double return of Qi (Shuang Hui Qi)

Turn your palms forward and using your shoulders as a pivot, raise your arms while holding a ball of Qi in your hands, then beam it into tian mu. Open your chest by spreading out your elbows. With palms down and fingertips pointing at each other, your hands descend in front of you body guiding Qi down into your lower dan tian.

3nd Step : Finishing (Shou Gong)

When your hands reach the level of your navel, relax your fingers and bend them slightly and push your hands gently away from your body with the back of your hands angled a bit towards the body at 45°. At the same time, push you wei lu backward as if to sit. Keep your upper body straight. Be sure your nose is in line with your navel.

Turn your palms in to face your lower dan tian, finger tips pointing slightly down. Embrace a ball of Qi in front of your lower dan tian; relax your shoulders. Use your mind to contract your hui yin. Draw your two hand towards your hips and sides and then let them fall naturally, while at the same time straightening your legs.

Note: You may do parts 2 & 3 as many as three times, until you feel that the Qi is firmly stored in your dan tian.

4th Step : Placing your Hands Together (An Shen He Shi)

Palm to palm with your finger tips pointing up (prayer position), rub your hands together several times and then run them over your face gently from jaw to forehead and down up. Then use your fingertips to comb your hair from your forehead back to the point called fong fu. Then use the outer side of your little fingers to rub the back of your ears and the part under your cheek bones. Bring your ten fingertips together under your chin and let your palms come together naturally. Then draw them down to the point called shan zhong between your breasts. Stay in this posture for a while and then let your arms fall naturally to your sides. Open your eyes slowly and walk away.

1. Your movements and mental focus must be accurate.

The stance adopted by CSCQ is of the medium type meaning the angle of inclination between the thigh and the vertical shall exceed 20°. Only by so doing, the wei lu can be protruded resulting in the point on the ground vertically below wei lu forms an equilateral triangle with the two feet. Use mental focus to virtualise that a heavy pendulum hangs down from the wei lu. This pendulum shall be 10cm from the ground. Never imagine that this pendulum reaches the ground as this would lock the body and Qi from the du mai will be lost into the ground. Prolonged practice this way will cause fatigue and degradation of the brain.

Actually, by imagining that there is a pendulum is to help new practitioners to activate the Qi faster. After some time when the practitioners are more familiar and feel at ease with standing meditation, the same result can be achieved by merely mentally focusing on the wei lu.

2. Spontaneous movements must be really spontaneous instead of artificially induced.

Most practitioners have spontaneous movements naturally. Some practitioners may not have spontaneous movements. This is because some of them have not practiced long enough and have not accumulated sufficient energy of have hot mastered the instructions of the standing meditation. Once these problems are overcome, they will have spontaneous movements. On the other hand, some practitioners do not have spontaneous movements because they do not have any channels blocked, so the Qi travels through their body smoothly.

Once practitioners understand why spontaneous movements come into being and why some do not have them, then they will not force them.

Some practitioners have spontaneous movements but are not satisfied with them. They intentionally induce movements or imitate others’. These are not true spontaneous movements, they will, instead of having curative effects, cause suffering to the practitioners. Therefore false movements are strongly forbidden.

3. Self-control in spontaneous movements may be needed at times.

You should be able to control yourself when spontaneous movements appear. Sometimes the spontaneous movements are very violent and ungraceful, for instance lying on the ground, but you can control them by giving yourself an instruction such as, “Let the violent movements become milder or slower.” If you are lying on the ground, you may thick of bai hui and then you will naturally stand up.

4, Relaxation is preferable to nervousness in the standing meditation.

When you are doing standing meditation, you must be relaxed the whole time from the beginning to the end. You should never be tense. When you are doing standing meditation the true Qi has been activated to its ultimate, therefore the Qi is very strong and travels very fast in your body. If you are tense, some parts of your body may be blocked. As a result, the Qi will accumulate there and block the channels and will not disperse for a long time, and you will feel uncomfortable or in pain. If you are too tense perhaps the Qi circulating in your body cannot be gathered back into dan tian even though you want to shou gong (finish). So, to be relaxed is of utmost importance. You should not worry at all. Let the spontaneous movements happen naturally and enjoy yourself; then you will feel very comfortable and your disease will be cured and your health improved.

5. Adopt a positive attitude toward hallucinations.

You should have a right attitude toward hallucinations. During the circulation and change of Qi (vital energy) while practicing qigong, very often hallucinations will appear. This is because your channels are open and you are receiving information from the Universe through the open channels. You can accept the information that makes you happy and comfortable. This is called ‘positive information’. For instance, you may feel that you are growing taller and bigger; you may see brightness in front of you; you may see beautiful scenes; you may hear wonderful music or even smell the fragrance of flowers. All these information is good for you both physically and mentally.

On the other hand, some ‘negative information’ might appear, which, of course, is not good for health. But do not be frightened because such things happen. Just shake your head and say “shi” and immediately they will disappear. There is nothing to be afraid of. Go on with your qigong practice and you will succeed in the end. Upon finishing, if you wish to continue practicing, choose another location of better environment. Do not continue at that same place.

6. Be comfortable and happy about the time and frequency of practice.

Consider the time you will spend practicing meditation. You might give yourself an order: “I am going to do this for 30 minutes”. Then, when 30 minutes have passed, the Qi will naturally come to a halt. As to how many times you should practice eash day, it all depends on whether or not you feel comfortable and happy. Do not exhaust yourself.

The 5 routines and standing meditation complement one another. They should be practiced con-currently. By so doing, your health will be enhanced and sickness cured.

Reference: China Soaring Crane Qigong (cscq) – http://cscq.webs.com/standingmeditation.htm

Starting and Ending Forms of Basic Qigong Exercise Patterns

Starting Form
The Relaxed and Quiescent Form in Standing Position
Pithy Formula

Keep the spine upright and suspend the Baihui Point.
Pull in the chin, shut the lips and touch the tongue tip to the teeth ridge.
Drop the upper eyelids, permitting the eye to look forward.
Tuck in the chest and relax the waist as well as the hips.
Keep both of the elbows outward to form hollowed armpits.
Pull in the stomach and lift the anus without any strain.
Bend the knees, turn them outward and then inward for a round crotch.
Stand firm with feet flat and weight evenly distributed.
For the posture, attention is paid to softess, roundness and farness.

Explanation
The essentials of the body position of this pattern fall on “roundness and softness”. Roundness brings about the free flowing of vital energy and softness can prevent stiffness. The specific method is as follows: Stand firmly with feet flat. Bend the knees slightly. Turn the knees first outward and then inward. Return to the original position, thus bringing about a round crotch. Sink the vital energy and drop the seat slightly to make the hips relaxed. Avoid using effort when pulling in the stomach and lifting the anus. Once the thought reaches these points, the result will be fine. To tuck in the chest refers to pulling in slightly using effort when pulling in the stomach and lifting that part of the chest above the pit of the stomach, avoiding any forward thrust of the chest. The back of the body will be lifted when the spine stands erect. It is somewhat contradictory to drop the shoulders and hollow the armpits at the same time, but so long as your attention is paid to the slight out-turning of the elbows, you will get hollow armpits and dropped shoulders. To get the head suspended, you should avoid lifting the head with a stiff neck. When the chin is slightly tucked in, the Point of Baihui will face the sky, so the breath can flow freely. Closed eyes help prevent the leakage of vital energy and shut eyes help prevent the dispersing of vital energy. To make the tongue touch the upper palate means to let the tip of the tongue touch it, the upper teeth ridge. Do not use effort, otherwise, the tongue will get stiff and sore. Swallow the saliva, if there is any, slowly and gradually as if it were sinking into Dantian – the Point of Qihai (located at about 1,5 cun below the navel). For this posture, see figure 21,

Note: The Pithy Formula starts from the top and goes downward while the Explanation starts from bottom and goes up. To perform it, you should start from bottom to the top and check it up by mental activities from the top to the bottom. By doing this, it helps get quiescence and the ‘vital energy can go down after going up.

Detailed Movements
The Relaxed and Quiescent Form in Standing Position can also be called the Standing Qigong Technique. This form of Qigong exercise requires a quiescent head, so it’s best for you to think of nothing when performing it. If you fail to do so, you can think of the detailed movements of this Qigong exercise. The general key point of this exercise is that the whole body is relaxed and free from stiffness. This form of Qigong exercise can be divided into 13 detailed steps:

(1) Stand with feet flat and spaced as wide as shoulder width. Keep the feet parallel. Bear the body weight on the point where the feet are perpendicular to the tibae, at point about 2 cun inward from the heels.

(2) Knee-Bending: Bend the knees slightly. Your knees are not to exceed the toe tips.

(3) Crotch-Rounding: Turn both knees first outward and then inward. After that, return to the preceding knee-bending position. This is called the “crotch-rounding”.

(4) Hip-Relaxing: Drop the seat slightly with the vital energy sunken and the hips will be relaxed.

The above-mentioned four items are the detailed movements to relax the lower limbs in the relaxed and quiescent Qigong exercise in standing position, of which “crotch—rounding” is the key point.

(5) Stomach-Contracting: “Stomach” here refers to the lower part of the abdomen above the pubic bone. When pulling in the stomach, just pull inward the lower ‘part of the abdomen. Do not contract it with force.

(6) Anus-Lifing: Draw in the anus and lift it gently only by mental intention. Do not raise it with effort.

(7) Waist-Relaxing: The relaxing of the waist is very important. It must be performed on the basis of the relaxing of the hips. First stretch the back and then breathe out. And now you will feel the waist relaxed. There are quite a number of‘ ways to relax the waist (head-suspending and chin-tucking-in can also help the waist relax), but it takes a long time for you to make the sacral bone loose.

(8) Chest-Tucking-in: Make the stomach pit cave in. Turn both elbows outward.

(9) Back-Stretching: Straighten up the spine and you will have a sense, in a way, of the opening of the scapula.

These five items mentioned above are the requirements for the relaxation of the body trunk, of which the relaxation of the waist is the key point.

(10) Shoulder-Dropping: Relax the shoulders and there will be a sensation of the dropping of the upper arms.

(11) Elbow-Dropping: There seems to be something hanging from the elbows.

(12) Wrist-Relaxing: With the fingers down, the wrists will be free and loose.

(13) Armpit-Hollowing: Turn the tips of the elhows outward with the backs of the hands forward, palms slantly toward the trunk. Though the shoulders are drooped, the armpits are hollowed as if they can hold an egg each.

The above-mentioned four items are the essentials of the upper limbs in the quiescent and relaxed standing position, of which “hollow-armpits” is the key point.

(14) Head-suspending: The Baihui Point on the top of the head is perpendicular to the sky (Baihui is located in the middle of the line joining the two tips of the ears). When the head is suspended, the head seems to be hanging on a thread.

(15) Cheek-Hooking: In fact this is a necessary step to suspend the head. The head can never get suspended if the chin is not tucked in. When the chin is pulled in, nasal breathing will be free.

(16) Eye-Shutting: Drop the upper eyelids, permitting a thin beam of light (In terms of Qigong it is called “to draw the curtains”). This will help the eyes relax. A complete shutting of theeveyes will cause tension in the eyes.

(17) Lip—CIosing: Close the lips slightly.

(18) The Tongue Touching the Upper Palate: The tongue touches the upper teeth ridge gently. Do not use force. Only touch the tongue to the teeth ridge.

These five items are the requirements of the head in the relaxed and quiescent standing of Qigong exercise, of which head-suspending is the key point.

Of the 18 Principles for the relaxed and quiescent Qigong exercise in standing position, head-supending, armpit-hollowing, waist-relaxing, and crotch-rounding are the four key points. Among them the relaxation of the waist is the leading factor. So in this exercise, emphasis is on the relaxation of the waist. Without the relaxation of the waist, vital energy can not sink into Dantian.

The length of time for relaxed and quiescent Qigong exercise in standing position is flexible. If you can reach the stage of relaxation and quiescence in three or five minutes, you are ready for the next form of Qigong exercise. The exercise can also last for 20-30 minutes.

 

The Three Deep Exhaling and Inhaling Form

Pithy Formula

With one hand on top of the other at Dantian, breathe out and in evenly and slowly.
Crouch slightly while breathing out; remain crouched when breathing in.
Stand up only after slowly breathing in, when the air can flow freely.

Explanation
Make the Laogong Point (P. 8) in the inner part of the left hand face Qihai (i. e., Dantian). Put the right hand on top of the left hand {for females, the right hand under the left hand) (see Figure 22). Breathe out slowly, i. e., to breathe deeply. The breath must be gentle, thin, even and long. In ancient times, the method was called “Slow and Deep Exhaling”. Crouch when breathing out through the mouth. Move the tongue from the upper teeth ridge to the lower teeth ridge while crouching. After a short pause, the tongue returns to the upper teeth ridge, and breathe in through the nose. Do not stand up until you stop breathing in (see Figure 23). Regulate breath freely when standing up. Start for a second round when you resume normal breathing. Do three rounds altogether.

Detailed Movements
(1) Start the Three Deep Exhaling and Inhaling Form when the Relaxed and Quiescent Form in Standing Position is over. Before breathing out slowly, put the hands one on top of the other (the right hand on top of the left hand i for males, while for females, the left hand on top of the right hand) at Dantian below the navel (1.5 can below the navel) with Yuji of the thumb placed on the navel and Laogong facing Qihai.

(2) When breathing out slowly, move the tongue from the upper teeth ridge to the lower teeth ridge. Send out air very slowly and retain a certain leeway. For mental activities, think of letting out completely the turbid substance, or think of the requirements for the softness, thinness, evenness and length, or think of nothing at all.

(3) While breathing out, crouch by bending your knees with the seat slightly lowered until the tips of the knees somewhat exceed the toe tips.

(4) After breathing out, stay in the crouching positon and do not stand up. Move your tongue to the upper teeth ridge, then draw in air through the nose. To stand up while breathing in will probably cause tightness in the chest or even high blood pressure.

(5) After breathing in, start to raise the torso from the crouching position and then breathe normally (natural breathing).

(6) Regulate the breath and then start a second round.

(7) Do the third round. When the torso is raised, start  the next pattern of Qigong exercise.

The Three Open-and-Close Form
Pithy Formular

Start with hands one ‘upon the other over Dantian, and move the hands sidewise, back to back, till they are half chi away from the hips.

Palm facing palm, return them to where they were, and something is gained from both “open” and “close”. With pathogenic evils out and vital energy in, you’d better keep Dantian closed.

Explanation
When performing the “open-and-close” exercise, carelessness must be avoided. Move the hands inward gently and slowly from off the hips in the figure of arc. For beginners breathing may not be involved. When you have grasped the basic skill, breathe out when “opening” and breathe in when “closing”. For mental activities, think of the vast plain when you “open” and think of the vital energy returning to Dantian when you “close”.

Detailed Movements
(1) Start from the preceding position. Turn the hands back to back at Dantian. Move the hands sidewise toward the side of the hips with palms facing outward. This is called the “open form” (See Figure 24).

(2) When performing this starting form, point the fingers to the front (the small finger across the thumb). Move. the palms along a horizontal line at the level of Dantian until they are about half a chi away from the hips.

(3) Turn the palms in an arc to face inward (i. e., facing the centre of the body). With thumbs up and small finger down, move the hands inward to the central line of the body (see Figure 25) until the fingers of‘ both hands meet. This is called the “close form”. Repeat three times.

(4) To do this “open” and “close” form, beginners may not involve breathing. When you have practised for some time, you may consider breathing. Breathe out when “opening” and breathe in when “closing”. Exhale through the mouth when “opening” and inhale through the nose when“closing.

(5)When doing this form of exercise, you can think either of the actions or of nothing at all. When you are skilled, you can imagine: When opening, it is spacious so that the exogenous pathogenic factors can be expelled, and when closing it is sealed so that the exogenous pathogenic factors can not get in.

Closing Form
You must do the closing form when you are through with a form of Qigong exercise. To do the closing form is just like to do the starting form only in reverse sequence. That is, to do the Three Open-and-Close Form first; then the Three Deep Exhaling and  Inhaling, and finally do the Relaxed and Quiescent Form  in Standing Position. The purpose of doing the closing form is to bring the internal energy released through Qigong exercise back into Dantian. As the saying goes: “Doing Qigong exercise without a closing form means to have thrown away what you have gained.”

In ancient China, saliva was called “gold fluid” or “jade fluid” and was always considered as treasure, so swallow the saliva down slowly whenever there is any.

Reference: Chinese Qigong Therapy by Zhang Mingwu  p. 105-115

ISBN 7533103785

The Arhat Holding Up the Sky

Movements:
1) Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, toes sticking to the ground. Bend and close in knees into half-way crouching position with buttocks drawn in. Reach out arms to parallel posi- tion, palm facing upward and fingers apart and relaxed. Also relax wrist, elbow, waist, and in particular, shoulder.

2) Hold head and neck erect, with chin slightly drawn inward and tongue against upper jaw. Keep body upright and stick feet inward to the ground.

3) Look straight forward with steady eyesight and relax
corners of mouth as if to smile.

Purpose:
The practice of Riyuezhuang on the basis of Hunyuanzhuang aims at enriching the inner vitality of the practitioner to such an extent that he will remain immovable, through the plucking of “cream from both the earth and heaven,” under the enemy’s hooking or kicking attacks. Thus he may concentrate all his strength for the dexterous employment of the capture skills.

Essentials:
1) Keep torso upright and look straight forward. Other essentials are the same as those in Hunyuanzhuang.
2) Riyuezhuang takes the practitioner less time to reach stillness than Hunyuanzhuang and is, therefore, more effective. Spontaneous movements, however, should be controlled if they are too violent.
3) When inner Qigong is activated in the practice of this Zhuanggong, the practitioner might jump up, despite of himself, as high as three feet. He should be mentally prepared for such an amazing phenomenon. The height of the jump and the steadiness which he drops to the ground reflect the level of expertise he has acquired through practice Riyuezhuang.
4) Salivation during practice is the result of the smooth circulation of your breath and blood and the activation of your vital energy. Gradually swallow saliva and do not lose it in your relaxation because it is precious secretion from your body.
5) Riyuezhuang is a more fatiguing Zhuanggong than Hun- yuanzhuang. Be sure to keep crown of head,shoulders, elbows, wrists and legs all at level positions, and head, torso, and feet
upright.

Further Explanations:
1) Beginners can hardly stand in this posture for more than – three or five minutes. As he goes on with the practice, he will gradually bring out his inner skills which will enable him to stand for as long as two hours, showing that he has already enough skills in the practice of Riyuezhuang.
2) After the practitioner reaches the state of stillness, the activation of his body begins from his fingers, small fingers in particular, in the form of a slight shaking movement, and goes to the wrists, elbows, shoulders and then to the waist until finally the vital energy passes through the Yinmen, Weizhong, Chengshan and Kunlun acupoints on the legs to bring him up in the air. Such technique is most useful in an actual situation.
The above postures are two primary postures of Zhuanggong ‘ in the martial arts of the Jingang-Chan Natural School. Since there is no “Yin” (the feminine and the negative) and “Yang’ (the masculine and the positive) involved in the two postures, the “cream of the earth and heaven” can be easily plucked. The same rhyme used in the practice of Hunyuanzhuan may be applicable here except for a change of the term ‘Hunyuanzhuang” into “Riyuezhuang” in the rhyme.

Simplified Caputre Skills by Wang Xinde, Hai Feng Publishing Company 1983-84
ISBN 9622380131 p. 21-23

Hunyuanzhuang

Jingang-Chan Posture

Movements:
1) Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, toes sticking to the ground. Slightly bend knees and hang arms naturally by sides of body with elbows also slightly bent, palms facing backward, fingers apart and thumbs pointing to trouser seams. Relax shoulder, elbow, wrist, and finger joints. Hold head and neck erect, with chin slightly drawn inward and tongue against upper jaw.

2) Stand upright and consciously straighten Dumai (a Chinese medicinal term which denotes the line running from the perineum up through the spine to the top of the head) Slightly lean torso forward but neither protrude nor withdraw chest or waist. Slightly pull in buttocks and keep weight to front of sole.

3) Look 45 degrees downward to the ground.

Purpose:
This is designed for the training of internal breathing skills and inner strength so as to activate the internal organs, work up the internal vitality and increase the steadiness of the lower limbs.

Essentials:
1) With stillness as the principal requirement for this movement, try to realize motion through stillness. Up to a certain point of the training of this Zhuanggong and with the increase of the level of stillness, unexpected body responses will be experienced by the practitioner. This is a reflection of the activation of the internal breathing and should not be worried about. Instead, the practitioner should go on with the practice.

2) When you lean slightly forward, keep entire body relaxed except for the sticking of toes to the ground and the slight pulling in of coccyx. These two parts of body must not be relaxed during the entire practice lest your vitality is lost.

3) Roll your eyes 36 times to the left and 24 to the right before and after the practice. During practice of Hunyuanzhuang, eyes should remain open. Green color is preferred in front of
practitioner; objects with red and yellow color are forbidden to avoid possible distraction of attention and failure of practice.

4) Natural breathing is required but breath should be controlled, so to speak, at the Laogong (on the palm), Dantian (on the lower abdomen) and Yongquan (on the sole) acupoints. (Beginners may practice how to control his breath at each of the acupoints in the above order for two months before he begins to practice, half a year later, how to control his breath at all three acupoints at the same time.

5) When absolute stillness is reached, the practitioner begins to move, despite of himself, every part of his body in a natural manner. But violent movements should be brought under control.

Further Explanations:
1) Hunyuanzhuang is an important Zhuanggong closely related to Qigong, or breathing skills in the Jingang-Chan Natural School (please refer to 64 Leg-Attack Methods of Shaolin Kungfu by
the same author), which bases its Wugong (martial skills) on Qigong. The time used for the practice of Hun be yuanzhuang may 10 to 15 minutes for beginners and it is gradually increased to one hour. Highly skilled practitioners may extend the time up to two hours.

2) Clear away all distracting thoughts during practice and the following rhyme may be silently repeated for the achievement of stillness:

Aside I put everything and be ready to practice my skills; Stand upright and keep body comfortably still;
Clear away all distracting thoughts until
I reach the acme of the Hunyuanzhuang skill.

Reference: Simplified Caputre Skills by Wang Xinde, Hai Feng Publishing Company 1983-84
ISBN 9622380131 p. 14-19

Ox Leading Posture

Qianniuzhuang

Movements:
1) Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and turn feet 45 de- grees to the left (right) with heels as an axis. Keep torso upright but turn it to extreme left, with knees slightly bent and drawn together, toes sticking to the ground.
2) Raise and naturally stretch arms to front of chest, elbows dropping slightly and pointing to the ground, with left palm facing downward and right palm upward.
3) Raise arms to backward left right) as torso
turns left Look at left (right).
ward. (Fig. 3)

Purpose:
This is a basic Zhuangong for the employment of capture skills, in which the hands are ready to catch, elbows ready to pull down, steps ready to close in and waist ready to turn, an ideal Zhuanggong for the practitioner to advance and retreat, assault and defend. Capture skills should be based on this fundamental posture. Practice in both directions.

Essentials:
1) Press closely together your elbows and knees and stick your feet firmly to the ground.

Reference:
Simplified Caputre Skills by Wang Xinde, Hai Feng Publishing Company 1983-84 p. 25
ISBN 9622380131

Further indications concerning Zhan zhuang

1.Before starting post standing you should have already empty your bowels, avoiding from interrupting your post standing,

2.Before post standing you should loose your tie and belt, take off your watch, open shoelaces so that all limbs feel free to move.

3.For beginner in post standing and convalescent practitioner with weaker body, during your post standing exercise you should not close your eyes. Later when you can reach during each training session at least 20 minutes of standing and feel relaxed and happy, than you can naturally close your eyes. But if when you are closing your eyes you feel dizzy or lack of balance, do not hesitate to reopen them and continue your training with eyes opened and looking to a fixed direction.

4.When post standing do not contract your lips but also do not leave your mouth open. Just keep it naturally closed. Upper lip and lower lip should keep a slight space with your teeth.

5.The therapeutical effects of post standing come mainly from the characteristics of the posture itself and your aptitude to maintain it. During this exercise you will progressively taste all different changes happening in your internal body. If you have difficulties to calm your mind you can for example count your breath cycles, a complete cycle including inhale/exhale. But in any case avoid from holding your breath or accelerate/prolong consciously your breath rate. Let your body install by itself breath rate instead of trying to control it.

6.The best time to practice post standing is during set sunrise/sunset where you are not exposed to the dazzling effect of sunshine. In winter and in autumn post standing becomes a very comfortable exercise at these periods of the day.

7.When you are practicing post standing indoor, make sure to refresh regularly the air, temperature should be suitable to the season and try your best to select a place with very quiet surroundings.

8. When leg’s muscles are initiating vibrations and your body is starting to sway forward and backward, at this time you should pay attention to control the swaying amplitude: not too large and rather slow. You can use swaying leftward/rightward to control swaying forward/backward. Your swaying movements should be rather reduced in amplitude and low in frequency.

9.At the end of your post standing, you should reduce gradually the amount of physical effort you are enduring: slowly straighten up your both legs, slightly lower your both hands, place back of both hands on your lower back (in front of kidneys) and rest 2-3 minutes. Wait that any sensation of tingling, souring, swelling and aching in four limbs has completely disappear before changing posture.

10.Concerning people suffering from insomnia and more generally practitioner planning their post standing exercise before sleeping, there are two categories of possible scenarios: a.Just after ending the post standing session, If one will rapidly fall asleep: one belongs to the “apathetic” type. In this case one can practice post standing just before going to bed. b.After post standing one will be rather excited: one belongs to the “nervous” type. In this case the best option is to practice 2-3 hours before sleeping, so that one will have around 1-2 hours to rest, slow down one’s excitement and prepare to a normal sleeping process.

11. Below half hour before or after meal, post standing is not suitable as it is preferable to avoid interference with the normal course of your appetite and digestion.

12. For women in period of menstruation, in the case that there is no perception of discomfort, they can continue post standing exercise but it is recommended to reduce the global amount of physical effort involved in training. If there is any undesirable reaction, they should immediately rest and wait to pass their period of menstruation to restart again post standing.

Reference: Zhan zhuang and the Search of Wu by Yu Yong Nian p. 42 – 44

Holding Jar

by Su Weixue, Feb. 2006

‘Holding Jar’ is an old secret practice for Taichi training to let student feel and then grasp how to distinguish the substantial and in-substantial quicker.

Grand Master Yang Chenfu said in his 10 essentials: The first most important principle in TaiChi is to practice with Yin and Yang in mind.

Holding Jar gives anyone the simplest yet quickest way to gain the understanding of this principle:

Relaxed standing for 1 or 2 min, then two hands like holding a ball, palms face to each other. Loose the shoulder, elbow, wrist, and fingers. The ball is at about chest high and it is away from chest about 1 feet.

Step left leg or right leg forward about 1 feet, the back feet toes toward to 45 degree to the front and side, two foot shall not be on the same line, from back look at the two foot, it should have about 1 fist distance in between. The weight is completely on the back feet.

Now, one looks like holding a ball and sitting on the back leg. “Slowly move the weight from back to front, and then move to back, repeat this movement”

Slowly – It is very important do this slowly, once you do it fast, you may not feel what you should feel.

1. Two foot are like a scale – Move the weight from one leg to the other is to transition your weight gradually from one to the other, one feet release the weight then the other feet shall gain the weight, the feeling is that the two foot compensating from one to the other, if one feet feels it is releasing 10 percent of weight, then the other feet shall be trained to feel that 10 percent weight again.
2. No standing and sit! – Most common problem is to stand up and bend the knee or stand up and sit down. Use the tail bone to measure this, your tail bone shall be on the same level all the time during the practice.
3. Internal organ also has substantial and insubstantial, and sense this with your move.
4. Borrow the force from substantial leg – once the substantial one takes the control, it starts slowly pushing the ground so the weight start shifting to the insubstantial leg. Make sure you carefully sense the force bounced back from ground.
5. Transmit the force from ground to the waist then to the center of the back then to the shoulder, then to the elbow, then to the palm.
6. Switch the leg when your one side is getting tired. Repeat this left and right.

This shall be practiced for any new students for at least 10 min a day, for advanced students, make the step bigger to increase the strength of the leg.

Breathing: Nature, for advanced practitioner it shall be discussed separately.

Reference: Taichi Secret Practice – ‘Holding Jar’ taichitoday.com

The All-Round Standing Pole Exercise

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 manifest 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.

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

Pages: 49-52

(Red. Caveat: If the standing pole exercises are not done naturally with composure, correct posture and body alignment, and with the necessary lightness and full relaxation of all parts of the body without collapsing, there is a potential health risk. It is recommendable to consult an experienced Zhan Zhuang teacher. The Way of Energy by Master Lam Kuen Chun is an excellent beginners tutorial.)

Links:
Zhan Zhuang  Michael P. Garofalo’ extensive bibliography and reference