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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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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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I was taught to stand in a post without movements, on the video You make too many movements. I think You need to practice more relaxing Qigong practices, which would gradually remove tension from the back.

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Thanks, everyone, for the kind and helpful comments! 

 

Maybe I'll post in the future a video where I'm standing more still, for comparison. Here I am purposefully tensing/stretching my shoulders as well as doing other things. As I suspected, that's not the 'right' thing to do in zhan zhuang. When I've sat more still in the past I sometimes will get some shaking, but in this video there is no shaking - it's all pretty voluntary movement. 

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On 3/2/2018 at 10:20 AM, dekomori said:

Thanks, everyone, for the kind and helpful comments! 

 

Maybe I'll post in the future a video where I'm standing more still, for comparison. Here I am purposefully tensing/stretching my shoulders as well as doing other things. As I suspected, that's not the 'right' thing to do in zhan zhuang. When I've sat more still in the past I sometimes will get some shaking, but in this video there is no shaking - it's all pretty voluntary movement. 

 

Shaking comes on when you are not in control of your qi-flow. I suggest that you check on your breathing system/method and to bring your awareness/mental focus into your practice. The shaking is involuntary. When it happens, you have allowed it to continue. In my book, the shaking is dangerous as you allowed your qi-flow to be unrestricted/uncontrolled.

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6 hours ago, Sudhamma said:

 

Shaking comes on when you are not in control of your qi-flow. I suggest that you check on your breathing system/method and to bring your awareness/mental focus into your practice. The shaking is involuntary. When it happens, you have allowed it to continue. In my book, the shaking is dangerous as you allowed your qi-flow to be unrestricted/uncontrolled.


Hm, I was taught that shaking appears when there are tensions or blockages. How do you wanna control your chi flow? Yes with mind, but why to do that? The qi will flow through the body where it needs to really. 

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Posted (edited)

As Miroku says shaking is perfectly normal, as is movement[1].This might be an indication that mental or emotional trauma is being released[2][3]. Even some Western psychiatrists are starting to realise the fundamental centrality of the physical body in the area of emotional and mental health[4]. This comes as no surprise to fans of the concepts of the psychologist Abraham Maslow's[5][6].

 

1024px-Dynamic_hierarchy_of_needs_-_Masl

 

 

References

[1] Kam Chuen Lam, The Way of Energy (1991).

[2] Peter A. Levine, Waking the Tiger (1997).

[3] Peter A. Levine, In an Unspoken Voice (2010).

[4] Bessel van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score (2015).

[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham_Maslow

[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow's_hierarchy_of_needs

Edited by Daemon
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On 3/7/2018 at 4:38 AM, Miroku said:


Hm, I was taught that shaking appears when there are tensions or blockages. How do you wanna control your chi flow? Yes with mind, but why to do that? The qi will flow through the body where it needs to really. 

From my own experience, when a point or part of the body has a stagnated qi, pain will occurs at the spot during practice, not shaking. When shaking manifest, the qi radiates from inside (core) towards the surface and if it is controlled like in Wai-Dan qigong or the Tibetan Fire Palm (3rd exercise), then there is a focused qi generation and flow. Some practitioners of Shaolin Yi-zi-chan have the same shaking phenomenon, some instructors would comment that it is good ( a good indication of qi manifesting), however, some instructors advised against allowing the shaking to go on (truly so as those students will be loosing their qi and hence, prone to illnesses). There are three qualities (amongst others) that a qigong practitioner seeks (and relevant to this thread) : stillness/calmness of Mind as a precursor to mental focus; qi to be regular and smooth (not stagnated); and relaxation of the body to allow qi to seeps into every cells and marrow.

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, Sudhamma said:

From my own experience, when a poSome practitioners of Shaolin Yi-zi-chan have the same shaking phenomenon, some instructors would comment that it is good ( a good indication of qi manifesting), however, some instructors advised against allowing the shaking to go on (truly so as those students will be loosing their qi and hence, prone to illnesses). There are three qualities (amongst others) that a qigong practitioner seeks (and relevant to this thread) : stillness/calmness of Mind as a precursor to mental focus; qi to be regular and smooth (not stagnated); and relaxation of the body to allow qi to seeps into every cells and marrow.

I am practicing something similar to Yi-zi-chan (probably the same roots and same basic-stances) and my teacher told me if the shaking gets too heavy one should suppress the movements to some extent, but not entirely (as it will stop by itself after some time).

In my experience, I would say that it is also important in which body-area the shaking occurs. Usually I like to suppress the shaking and just relax as this seems to allow the Chi to accumulate and penetrate deeper in the body/cells - which also results in increased stillness of mind - , this was a good way to go for me, except when shaking of my whole head/neck area started and my head began to move left/right/forward/backward in a very vigorous way. When I suppress (I am still at that stage) this movements Chi easily stagnates at head-area, which results in very unpleasent states.. I´m gonna ask my teacher for advice, but till now it feels more safe for me to (fully) allow this shaking. 

Edited by phil
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