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I recently recorded myself doing zhan zhuang to analyze my session. Playing the video at about 4x speed, I can see a lot of movement in the lower back (I am moving the shoulders as well, but those more intentionally), which somewhat resembles nauli kriya to me :lol:. When doing zhan zhuang I can feel myself stretching the spine, creating more space between the vertebrae, and I usually think of breathing into my upper back. 

 


One question I have is whether in the practice of zhan zhuang such movements are desirable or whether more stillness is desirable instead. Any other feedback is welcomed. 
 

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My answer might not be the best, as I'm self taught, but because I am, I have to deal with questions like this all the time and this is how I'd go about it.


 

Simply try to stand with more stillness next time and see what happens.


 

ZZ is a bit strange as the kinaesthetic feedback loop where your body tells you if you're doing the right thing does not always work as effectively as in other practices, but if that's all you have, then that's what you've got to work with.


 

So, just see how it goes. From my own experience, I know that after 15 minutes of standing I can find myself stretching my back off slightly for a short while. Also, as my pelvis relaxes, I might straighten out my feet a bit. Then near the end, in order to push myself a bit, I'll move my centre of gravity to the balls of my feet which activate my calf muscles more.

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From my understanding of 'standing the post', zhan zhuang, there are a few 'schools' teaching it with differing emphasis. What I was taught required the person to bend the knees with the tip of the knee cap to be vertical with the toes. The chest is caved-in, meaning that breathing is by the abdomen/diaphram, the tongue is thrusted up with the tip touching the upper palate behind the front teeth, the back is naturally curved towards the front, and the head is slightly dipped to line up the two pressure points: bai wei on top of the head ("meeting of hundreds") and wei yin, ("meeting of yin energy") the point between the anal opening and the sexual organ. The sitting is without movements, it is still with the slowness and quietness of breathing. The adjustment of limbs and body is at the beginning of the exercise and not during the whole period. The butt is tucked in with the upper body fully relaxed.  The person practising zhan zhuang is like a battery cell to tap energy from the heavens and earth. Upper body is relaxed, thus it is yin, soft, and the top of the head faces the sky which is considered as yang, a positive energy. And we have a positive and negative charge for the upper body. Earth is considered yin, but the standing requires the bending of the knees, thus the lower limbs is inflexible and unintentionally hard (has to be natural, not forced), a yang energy; giving it negative + positive charge. The zhan zhuang transforms the person to be like a battery taking energies from Heaven and Earth. 

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Stillness is where it's at...there's no need to move around.

The video is also showing too much muscular tension in the shoulders and spine...everything should be relaxed and centered.

Also, I personally like to bend the knees slightly...a little more than the video shows...so that the weight of the body above the knee transfers 100% through to the lower leg, and doesn't get stuck at the knee joint.

Best of luck.

Edited by Aetherous
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While stillness is best, this comes with time and practice. It took me years to find perfect stillness and that's only because of involuntary movements the body does to balance itself out and relieve years of tension. As you practice regularly, this is all sweated, shaken, and itched out of the body from the many ways it balances itself. 

 

Just keep practicing; those little movements will go away eventually with proper instruction and discipline. 

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Looking for feedback.

When I stand, I'll usually try to feel as if there's a stretchy cord going at the back of my head pulling up continually but gently, which lightly stretches my spine and keeps my chin lower.  Another stretchy cord pulls my shoulders gently apart opening up my chest.  A third at my sacrum pulling down and gently curving my pelvis forward.

 

I'll generally try to keep the weight even or slightly forward on my feet.  For some reason I like the 'Holding balls down' posture the best, ie resting my palms to large balls at my side. 

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On 14-2-2018 at 2:13 PM, Earl Grey said:

While stillness is best, this comes with time and practice.

 

Not to advertize anything, but after learning from my teacher for the very first time, I had the skill to keep my mind still, if even just for a moment.

 

I haven't learnt it (yet), but Yiquan is the bomb in zhan zhuang, the master (Wang Xiangzhai) who created it, is in my opinion one of those that put things to the next level. Highly recommended.

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10 hours ago, thelerner said:

Looking for feedback.

When I stand, I'll usually try to feel as if there's a stretchy cord going at the back of my head pulling up continually but gently, which lightly stretches my spine and keeps my chin lower.  Another stretchy cord pulls my shoulders gently apart opening up my chest.  A third at my sacrum pulling down and gently curving my pelvis forward.

 

I'll generally try to keep the weight even or slightly forward on my feet.  For some reason I like the 'Holding balls down' posture the best, ie resting my palms to large balls at my side. 

 

Did you learn from a master?

 

It's hard to tell from a post, really :) But my two cents, trying to feel, or imagining anything, is a no-no.

 

Learning from an established master will give you a feel of staying at the dantian, and further progress can make you 'feel' the dantian and further progress the whole body, and things get really interesting from there. But trying to feel things, or imagining cords, and playing with the spine and all, no, it should be natural.

Edited by Zhongli

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Yes this is true I learned from a Yi Quan teacher who had Wang Xiangzhai as his teacher too.

 

Standing is a simple practice but mastering it does indeed become much better with a qualified teacher.

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12 hours ago, Zhongli said:

 

 

Did you learn from a master?

 

A master of ZZ?   They're not to common where I live.  No, but I've done some yoga and years of Aikido where posture was pretty important.  It'd be great to have someone experienced with ZZ take a look at my stance.  Undoubtedly they'd make some changes, as my Aikido sensei and Yoga instructors often would. 

 

I respect what you say about feeling and imagination, yet can't help thinking that they are tools to be used then let go of.  Metaphors to reinforce good posture, acting as reminders, not a constant.  Get the feeling, then let it go.  

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Trust your intuition, as long as you don't have problems. I'm not exactly the biggest expert on this. I got sidetracked in my training, and still seeking something that resonates more to myself to be honest. So forget what I said ;)

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