When talking about improving ones health, people would usually think of physical exercise like walking, cycling and resistance training, but the idea of standing still to improve health seems like a strange concept.
This practice is a relatively new concept to the west but has been practiced for centuries in China. People of all ages gather every morning in public places in China to practice various activities such as standing meditation.
This exercise is also practiced in the various internal Martial Arts such as Tai chi, Xing Yi Quan and certain lineages of Wing Chun kung fu.
It is also referred to as standing qi gong. There are many health benefits to practicing this style of standing meditation.
What are some of the benefits that standing meditation can give?
Some of the most common benefits are: improved circulation, decreased blood pressure, improved energy, increased concentration and improved skin complexion. Research has also shown that qi gong can help specific diseases such as fibromyalgia.
What are the basic principles of doing this special style of exercise?
The way this exercise is practiced differs slightly depending on what art is being taught but the basic principals are as follows:
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart or a bit wider, the toes can be pointing straight forward or slightly out
- Draw your attention to your tail bone, let your tail bone naturally curve down and under which will flatten your lower back and bend your knees slightly
- Picture that you are sitting on a ball directly under your buttocks, this will help to relax your thighs and knees while allowing your weight to drop to your feet
- From the tail bone picture a flowing or rising up right through your spine right to the crown of your head, just back from the centre of your head, try to keep this feeling flowing rather than holding.
- Try to let go of every muscle in your body, the only thing raising up is the spine everything else is dropping down to the ground like a jacket hanging on a coat hanger, your spine being the coat hunger, this is hard to do but persistent practice will bring about results
- Lastly place your hands out at belly button height as if you are holding a ball, try to feel as if your arms are just hanging off your spine
How long should you practice for?
At the beginning try to practice for 5 minutes, your may feel as if your legs are tense or numb, keep practicing as this will pass. Gradually build up toward 10 minutes then eventually 20 minutes. And if you are really dedicated, even an hour! If you experience any dizziness or faint feeling stop and rest, if however you feel hot, tingling in your hands and fingers or a feeling of lightness in your body these are good signs so continue practicing.