Standing Like a Tree! What is this Standing Practice?

In china Standing has almost been made into an exact science. Healing aspects and martial applications have been handed down from teacher to student for millennia. In any discussion of Standing Practice one must always mention the established Master Wang Xiang-zhai (1885-1963) who was a Master at all three aspects of Qigong, healing, martial application, and meditation. He believed that Standing had a number of benefits “cure anemia, normalize blood pressure, and make the heart-beat calm and regular.” He said , “In movement, be like the dragon and tiger. In stillness have the mind of the Buddha.” to him the secret of standing was “emptiness” (kong). Emptiness leads to awareness where one can sense blockages and the flow of qi and also realize the nature of the cosmos. “After forty years of experience, I have learned that all true strength arises from a primordial, selfless void, and that this void can be gradually comprehended by paying attention to the small, subtle movements of the body”

Zhan Zhuang - Hands Floating on Water

Hands Floating on Water

Most students pass through several stages in their practice of standing. Usually the first is a stage of discomfort where everything seems to ache, accompanied by trembling or shaking in the joints. This usually results from weakness in the muscles and tendons perhaps from atrophy. The body is definitely adapting to a greater charge of internal energy. We should just feel this  and after a few minutes return to the posture of rest, Wuji. The second level could be called the “Test of Fire”. Energetic knots have been released how to stand and breath become automatic, formerly depleted places are now full of energy. the hands and feet may become warm. the for-head may sweat and the abdomen feels hot. This is a transitory state and can last from a few days to months. The most difficult level is the level of patient growth. This the level where most people become bored and do not persevere and the stage where most benefit is gained if one can persevere. As Wang has told his students “The ordinary is the extraordinary.” We can now focus on the positive ,breathing, feeling and awareness.


Filed under chi kung, health practice, Nature, Qi Gong, Qigong, qigong practice, Reality, Science, Tai Chi, Tai Chi Chuan, yoga

4 responses to “Standing Like a Tree! What is this Standing Practice?

  1. It sounds like this is along the same lines as our sanchin and tenshoa katas in Goju. Dynamic tension, deep ‘ibuki’ breathing, solid chi stances which root into the ground. In sanchin kata we use hard and fast hand movements and in tenshoa we use soft and flowing open hand movements. By practicing both kata back to back we harness the best of both worlds. This is a very self rejuvenating internal exercise that promotes blood flow and oxygen to the blood.

  2. Hi Andrew!
    Yes this sounds similar, although in this practice there is no tension in fact all tension is to avoided and we use only the amount of muscle strength that is required to hold these postures. If “ibuki” breathing is very deep even and slow then it is definitely the same or similar. The rejuvenating aspect by promoting blood flow and oxygenation of the blood is the same.

  3. Robert Dale Booth

    I am curious to know what your meditation subject / object is while doing the Standing Like A Tree. Is it simply clearing the mind by focusing on the breath?

  4. Yes clearing the mind focus on deep abdominal breathing, not consciously slowing the breath just allowing this to happen naturally.

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