ZHAN ZHUANG (Standing Meditation)
Zhan Zhuang, pronounced “Jan Jong” in Mandarin or “Jarm Jong” in Cantonese, means standing like a stake or like a tree (deeply rooted in the ground with an erect trunk and large and powerful branches that grow up to reach the sky).
The function of Zhan Zhuang is to strengthen legs and other- muscles depending on the position adopted- develop balance, physical and psychological stability, rooting, as well as peace of mind and a quiet heart. In an energetic level, Zhan Zhuang helps to center the qi and allow it to circulate within the meridian network.
When you can stand straight with your body completely relaxed, your body Chi will flow freely and without any obstacles. When this happens, we allow our muscles to work at their own rate and our skeleton structure achieves the desired state. The Chinese use the word “Sung” to describe this state of relaxation and loosening up.
Although it may seem that the Qi is stationary in your body, it is circulating and through this practice, it will grow strongly. This is not only an energy producing exercise that implies virtually no movement, but also a way to unblock inner energy produced by stress. It is the foundation of all of the Chi-Kung Tai-Chi and internal exercises.
Place your feet parallel with your sides and separated at the width of your shoulders; bend your knees slightly in such a way that they rest just above your feet. Make sure the soles of your feet are firmly standing on the floor and your head straight as if you wanted to touch the ceiling with it.
You may keep your eyes closed or looking at the floor at a downward angle.
Make a long exhalation through your mouth and relax your face, shoulders, chest and abdomen, imagine that someone is pulling you up by the hair so that your column is hanging free.
Be aware of your face muscles and relax them… Relax your forehead and allow all your tension and wrinkles to disappear.
Relax your eyes, be aware of your mouth and mandible, and relax those muscles: your mouth is semi open, your chin is slightly moved towards yourself, your shoulders are relaxed and they fall; your arms are hanging freely.
Your chest is in a slightly concave position; your back is a little bit curved. This allows your weight to fall to the Dan Tien, or center of gravity of your body, where you must keep your awareness for the rest of the exercise. Relax your groin and your Cox femoral joint, as well as the lower part of your backbone: your lumbar zone, as well as your sacrum and your coccyx.
Now we will continue with a sequence of exercises for toning, sedating and stretching the backbone.