Quiet Standing Wuji Posture

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The word Wuji refers to a Chinese philosophical concept. In Western terms you can compare it to the existential void that existed before creation or the big bang. It divided into the movement of Yin and Yang called Taiji (not to be confused with the martial arts that go by that name as well), and Taiji gave birth to the universe as we know it. The Chinese call this the "Ten Thousand Things."

To describe it in a more mundane manner, stillness leads to movement, which leads to stillness, which leads—you get the idea! Hence, the use of the Wuji Posture before and after more active qigong training methods and martial forms. It seems funny to most beginners that standing still and doing the minimum of physical work properly is the key to eventually moving properly—but there you are!

You can also think of running through the following list of key points as a sneaky way of getting yourself to stand quietly before and/or after completing a more complicated qigong method or one of the forms. Standing this way as an exercise in its own right is also a way of becoming aware, in progressive stages, of how gravity and bad habits (i.e., leaning back slightly, keeping more weight on one side than another) can affect the human structure as well as your bagua practice.

Tim Cartmell, an internal arts expert that I respect a great deal, suggests that standing this way for a few minutes when you first get up in the morning can be a way of gently encouraging your body to remember a posture that is structurally efficient and harmonious.

For a long time, you won't be able to remember all (or any) of these points when training on your own—don't worry about it! As in all aspects of your training, effort and ongoing practice are the keys. I have appended, where appropriate, the Chinese terms. Use them if you like as a memory aid. For the first few months you will only have the correct posture, if at all, when you are concentrating and correcting yourself on a conscious level; eventually it will creep into your daily life.

If going through this mental checklist while trying to stand accordingly, start with the top of the head and work your way down:

• lift the top of the back of the head as if it is suspended gently from the ceiling. Doing this properly will also assist in keeping the chin at the desired angle. (N.B. From a traditional perspective this is, perhaps, the most important of practice.)

• the forehead is smooth and free of furrows of concentration;

• the eyes are open but not focused on any details, near or far; look at the big picture around you;

• inhale and exhale quietly through the nose;

• the teeth and lips are closed, gently touching. Try to keep a slight smile on the face, as this encourages the many muscles in the face to relax. Many of us carry a surprising amount of tension in the jaw and facial muscles;

• the tip of the tongue is resting behind the two upper front teeth in gentle contact with the upper palate;

• the neck is straight and comfortable, especially where it connects to the centre of the skull; the shoulders are relaxed, and the scapula should feel downwards, relax and drop somewhat;

• the armpits (kua—"bridge") are relaxed and slightly rounded;

• the arms and hands are relaxed and long; the elbows only slightly bent as if you had a one pound weight held in each hand providing a gentle downwards traction to each limb;

• the palms are hollowed, the fingers long, relaxed, and slightly separated one from the other. The only exception is the thumb which should be held a little farther away from the rest of the fingers to form what is called the Tiger's Mouth;

• the spine is long and relaxed, especially between the shoulders (ba bei—"draw/pull the back");

• the sternum is empty as if you have just sighed deeply (han shou—"hold something precious"). The corresponding space in the upper torso feels comfortable and gently expanded, as if it was lifting gently away and up from the centre of the chest;

• the abdomen is relaxed. It expands as you inhale and compresses as you exhale;

• the tailbone is relaxed so that the pelvis is tilted very gently, and the area of your lower spine between the kidneys (mingmen—"Gate of Life") is able to relax;

• the crotch (kua—"bridge") is relaxed, and the perineum is lightly closed and lifted (ming dang—"close the inner groin");

• the legs are relaxed, the knees are almost straight;

• the feet are held with the heels together, while the toes of the feet form a ninety degree angle in relation to the direction you are facing, or are held comfortably parallel to each other. One of these methods will feel more natural to you, use it.

• the toes are flat, and the body's weight is evenly distributed between both legs. Sink gently into the floor, weight dropping into the centre of the sole slightly towards the heels.

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Heal Yourself With Qi Gong

Heal Yourself With Qi Gong

Qigong also spelled Ch'i Kung is a potent system of healing and energy medicine from China. It's the art and science of utilizing breathing methods, gentle movement, and meditation to clean, fortify, and circulate the life energy qi.

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