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Manaus

Fatigue from short sessions of zhan zhuang

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Hello,

I've been practicing ZZ for 9 months regularly following the instructions in Way of Energy by Lam Kam Chuen.

I built up the hold time slowly, bringing it to 12 min in the 'hold the tree' position. Recently for an accident I had to stop that particular posture. What happens now is that even after shorter times (8 minutes) I feel very fatigued, and it lasts hours. Feel like sleeping and weak and cannot even think. It was never easy anyway.

I don't know if I have to go beyond (8 minutes could be a really short time) or keep myself in the 'comfort zone'.

In the book Lam Kam Chuen advises to 'relax' in case of fainting. But also "[in case of poor health] Do not force yourself to hold positions that cause you pain or exhaust you."

Note that fatigue has been a major issue in my life even before starting practicing.

 

Thanks for any suggestion

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I recommend you see a professional healer. PM me if you'd like a couple sources. 

Edited by OldChi
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Hello,

I've been practicing ZZ for 9 months regularly following the instructions in Way of Energy by Lam Kam Chuen.

I built up the hold time slowly, bringing it to 12 min in the 'hold the tree' position. Recently for an accident I had to stop that particular posture. What happens now is that even after shorter times (8 minutes) I feel very fatigued, and it lasts hours. Feel like sleeping and weak and cannot even think. It was never easy anyway.

I don't know if I have to go beyond (8 minutes could be a really short time) or keep myself in the 'comfort zone'.

In the book Lam Kam Chuen advises to 'relax' in case of fainting. But also "[in case of poor health] Do not force yourself to hold positions that cause you pain or exhaust you."

Note that fatigue has been a major issue in my life even before starting practicing.

 

Thanks for any suggestion

 

Hi Manaus,

 

I practiced ZZ as taught by way of energy for a number of years rather diligently. I think it is a great book to get people started without a lot of nonsense. 

 

Can you explain your accident? also are there particular positions that effect you more or less?

 

-grok

Edited by Grok
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Thanks Grok and OldChi,

many years ago my tailbone went slightly in. Scans see a bulge. Energetically I feel qi cannot pass the spot. It gave me lot of troubles, great fatigue walking even a short distance, mainly, lack of energy etc.

I feel very good at practicing the 'holding golden ball in front of dantian' and love doing 'standing in the stream', but the book says it is an advanced position, so I'm training myself with 'holding the tree' even if I feel I don't do much progress.

The recent accident was just a broken foot bone, but it's recovering fast.

Edited by Manaus

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Which accident caused the fatigue?

 

If certain exercises feel "very good"  that's usually a green light to keep going. The problem however is that your former accident may cause a blockage which long term would not be good. However, in this case I believe that standing in the stream is helping move energy around the blockage.

 

I think your ok to keep expanding in this area of practice, but if I was you I would be open ears to others who chime in and see it differently. 

 

Also, highly recommend you follow Old Chi's advice. 

 

-grok

Edited by Grok

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Hi Grok, the fatigue is supposedly caused by the tailbone twist. I believe that's the reason.

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Interesting story as I've had a similar experience. I'd been practising ZZ for about 6 months, taking the duration up to between 15 to 20 minuets. I was then knocked off my bike and my wrist bone was so severely dislocated, it broke open the skin of my arm and was exposed. Looking at the X-ray immediately after the accident (which the driver was really apologetic about, which I appreciated) my hand started over an inch from where my arm bones ended.

 

So, immediately afterwards, my body was completely exhausted from all the healing it was having to do. It had a massive impact on the length I could stand. Initially, it dropped down to little over a minute. I then built it up to 5 minutes, and after 2 months, could just about do 10. Just shortly after the accident, although I could only stand for a minute or two, I could do this 3 to 5 times a day, which I did.

 

A month later, when the consultant saw me, he was amazed by how well it had healed.

 

So, don't push yourself. Don't worry if your duration is severely reduced. It really does help however little you can do.

 

Wishing you well :)

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Hi Grok, the fatigue is supposedly caused by the tailbone twist. I believe that's the reason.

 

I'm having trouble following your timeline. The tailbone was years ago and doesn't seem to have been a problem until you broke your foot. Now you have fatigue after standing and think it's the tailbone?

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Hi soaring crane,

sorry the timeline misalignment could be a symptom :)

Here is: more clear

 

- tailbone twisted

- fatigue for many years

- tree zz (very difficult, but zz)

- broke foot

- no more tree zz, sitting zz

- now tree zz even more difficult :)

 

Thanks guys!

 

@miffymog, very interesting, I had somehow a similar experience, my doctor said "you placed your foot on ground!" I said "Yes, but lightly" "You should not have done that. Well, it recovered as well".

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haha, much better, thanks.

 

For the tailbone (Weilü), do you have access to a Cranio Sacral practitioner? If not, how about an Osteopath? And if neither, perhaps Feldenkrais? You can relieve a lot of the problems associated with it yourself through a kind of figure eight meditation, which is quite simple, but not so easy to learn in written form (and not so easy to describe that way, either).

 

It could be a cause of your fatigue, but maybe not. I would suggest writing a specific thread about it in the healing forum.

 

With your ZZ, well, ZZ isn't always ZZ. There are sooo many approaches to standing that it's sometimes just a matter of experimenting until you find the one that's right for you. For example, I started standing meditation in conjunction with Qigong classes long before I'd ever heard of the term Zhan Zhuang (or the name Lam Kam Chuen). And I still stick to the original principles and techniques I learned all those years ago, even though I've been to numerous ZZ workshops and retreats (including with Lam Kam Chuen) in the meantime.

 

And the first standing exercise I learned wasn't "stand like a tree", or "standing post", or "stand like some inanimate thing going to an alpha state", it was "stand like a warrior". The vision and the mental attitude behind the exercise plays the largest role after the posture and physical motionlessness. The eye are open, bright and shining, alert and aware, gazing at a fixed point far on the horizon (like a warrior sentry watching for signs of an enemy approaching in the distance). The ears are awake and the skin alert to every change in temperature or the slightest change in the wind.

 

Another difference is the way I get into a stance. I start dynamically, generally with an arm swinging motion for a minute or two that I then stop suddenly and hold for the duration of my session. Here is a short mobile phone video I made for someone who asked me to describe the method (it's easier than writing this stuff)

 

 

This is just one variation.

 

Entering the static position this way brings the dynamic of the movement into the standing session and it builds up more energy, strength. The effect is subtle, but apparent.

 

A good solid closing routine is also important and could help with your fatigue, too. You might be "leaking qi" out of that tailbone, and even if that's not the case, you want to do a closing routine that figuratively stops energy from leaking out of your body.

 

What do you do to close your sessions now?

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I find ZZ more boring then tiring.  When I do it I like listening to Rawn Clark's Archaeous meditations (at abardoncompanion.com).  They're 15 minute long, relax the body, then stack the elements from feet to head, moving from earth  up to fire.  They make the time go by faster and the feeling of legs as earth, middle region as water, chest as air, head as awareness/fire, improves my standing. 

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@soaring crane: at the moment, to close the session, I join the legs as in tadasana (removes tension from legs), bring the hands on the dantien, and stay there for couple minutes.

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What do you suggest?

Lam Kam Chuen advises "When you finish the second position, lower your arms and stand quietly for two or three minutes. Then gently shake your arms and legs."

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I'm thinking your problems are more generally health related - diet, sleep patterns, social circles, work, family, all that normal stuff. Plus your basic constitution.

 

Your questions on the MCO thread indicate that you're dabbling and experimenting with the Qi work, and maybe missing some fundamentals. Try making the changes to your ZZ practice that I suggested above and see if that helps a little, give it about a week.

 

For closing, Lam Kam Chuen circles the palms around the LDT for quite a while, then rubs the back of the neck alternately with the left and right hands, then uses the palms to push the qi down the breastbone to the LDT. Then lays the hands atop one another on the LDT.

 

That would be the absolute minimum.

 

In my groups, the absolute minimum is to first rub the palms together, then use them to rub the lower back (left and right of the lumbar spine), then along the beltline, pausing to rub the hips, then to the front to rub the groin kua.

 

Then warm the hands again and rub the neck and back of head.

 

Then use fingertips to drum all over the head and face.

 

Then "wash the face" gently with the hands.

 

Then on an exhale, rub downward along the breastbone and stomach area to the LDT, then gather around the LDT and close/gather for a minute.

 

That would be my minimum routine when time had already run out... When we have time, we might do some bouncing, slapping, knee work, more gathering, and a whole host of nifty little tricks, every one of which is valuable in its own right :-)

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Hi soaring crane,

sorry the timeline misalignment could be a symptom :)

Here is: more clear

 

- tailbone twisted

- fatigue for many years

- tree zz (very difficult, but zz)

- broke foot

- no more tree zz, sitting zz

- now tree zz even more difficult :)

 

Thanks guys!

 

@miffymog, very interesting, I had somehow a similar experience, my doctor said "you placed your foot on ground!" I said "Yes, but lightly" "You should not have done that. Well, it recovered as well".

 

Hi Manaus,

I am not the authority that Lam Kam Chuen is but I did have a superb teacher for Chinese martial arts and Daoist practices.

We were taught to cultivate our standing postures very gradually - over months and years. Some people are ready for challenging postures early on based on their physical and energetic gifts and prior training. Others need much more time and may never get comfortable in some postures.

 

One of the most powerful bits of instruction I received regarding zhan zhuang was that if you simply stand in the basic wu ji posture for long enough, your body will spontaneously tell you when you are ready to advance. The body will loosen, soften, strengthen, and settle into effortless structure - song. The hands and arms will naturally rise of their own accord when they are ready. There is no reason to push yourself to follow a recipe in a book. That recipe is an average, your are a unique individual with unique abilities and needs. Any trauma can take time to recover - typically 4-6 months in uncomplicated cases. 

 

My advice is to stick with wu ji posture as long as is necessary.

If you do work with more advanced postures, just do what you can.

One thing that I think is very helpful is to approach the practices in a spirit of playfulness and gratitude.

Give thanks before and after each session for having the good fortune to have the ability to learn and practice these wonderful methods and don't take the practice to seriously. Enjoy it!

Good luck to you.

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Steve, that is what I call a taoish vision! To put yourself aside and let the [   ] speak! 

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Often a student will have a stubborn deep idiosyncratic difficulty that is not really addressed by a cultivation system that is kind of written from the, "in general, follow these steps". Problem is, you have something *unusual*. Your cultivation system may quite successfully, or quite possibly not-at-all, handle your difficulty.

 

 

These sorts of things you just make up your mind to keep at patiently, gradually kindly, over the years. Trying exploring different modalities etc that might help resolve - to at least some degree - your specific trouble.

 

 

A massager that I've found to be helpful for me - might nor might not be appropriate for you - is the NovaSonic masssager. It's a little pricey but has been well worth it. The vibe is gentle enough that you could use it on your face yet the vibes penetrate into the bones. (I'd advise staying AWAY from the big clunky back massagers that rattle your spine.) I'd check it out w/ your osteopath before getting seriously into it. For a while the NovaSonic wasn't available in the US, was supposed to resume earlier this year. I dunno.

 

:)

Edited by Trunk
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@forestofemptiness yes currently it's the only practice I do, I've been trying other practices out, Baduanjin, Yijinjing, etc, to no avail. 

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Often a student will have a stubborn deep idiosyncratic difficulty that is not really addressed by a cultivation system that is kind of written from the, "in general, follow these steps". Problem is, you have something *unusual*. Your cultivation system may quite successfully, or quite possibly not-at-all, handle your difficulty.

 

 

These sorts of things you just make up your mind to keep at patiently, gradually kindly, over the years. Trying exploring different modalities etc that might help resolve - to at least some degree - your specific trouble.

 

 

A massager that I've found to be helpful for me - might nor might not be appropriate for you - is the NovaSonic masssager. It's a little pricey but has been well worth it. The vibe is gentle enough that you could use it on your face yet the vibes penetrate into the bones. (I'd advise staying AWAY from the big clunky back massagers that rattle your spine.) I'd check it out w/ your osteopath before getting seriously into it. For a while the NovaSonic wasn't available in the US, was supposed to resume earlier this year. I dunno.

 

:)

 

I think this is really good advice. 

Edited by Grok
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I'm not a qigong expert or teacher, but I feel like posting this. 

 

I've been taught from a number of teachers that standing is more of a gathering/increasing qi exercise. Nearly every teacher I've had did standing at the end of practice, which typically started with relaxing, then movement of some sort, then standing at the end. What I've noticed is that learning to relax and flow with gross movements makes it easier to relax in standing. When I first started to stand, I had nothing but tension. 

 

One of my early qigong instructors deeply impressed on me that qigong is about flow. Flow can be inhibited by a number of things. On a physical level, this can be muscular tension. On an emotional level, there are desires. One a mental level, these can be thoughts. All of these represent a contraction of one kind or another. One mistake I made for many years was trying to force the sensations with some sort of mental, emotional, or even physical tension. I thought I was helping the techniques to work, but as it turns out, I was stopping them FROM working by creating tension. 

 

But now imagine you have these tensions, then try to up the voltage with standing. This would only intensity the contractions. So in an effort to get it to work, one might then further increase the tension. Looking back, if I could have my earlier self do one technique to help with qigong, it would probably be laying down and relaxing completely. 

 

@forestofemptiness yes currently it's the only practice I do, I've been trying other practices out, Baduanjin, Yijinjing, etc, to no avail. 

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Just to add (given the stage I am at in my current practice), I completely agree with the above post.

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