It may not look like exercise but this standing form of meditation from ancient China is just that. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Zhan Zhuang (pronounced “Jan Jong”) means ‘standing like a tree’ or ‘post standing.’ It’s a stance practice in which the body is kept still and mostly upright, though in some stances the spine may not be vertical. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The purpose is to become aware of the body and how it stabilises itself. A primary benefit is an increase in physical energy. In this stance we correct our body’s posture over time as it strengthens our minor and major stabilising, postural muscles while we can create a condition of deep relaxation, calmness and presence, allowing us to enhance our breathing and place the body into a state of restoration and rejuvenation (parasympathetic response). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
This position of power and relaxation also create conditions where our blood and qi can circulate and flow freely, resulting in less tension in mind and body. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The best way to understand the benefits is to practice. Students practice this from anywhere between 2 minutes to 2 hours and beyond. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
In the short time I have been practicing, I feel the difference in my body’s strength (particularly legs, core, back, shoulders and arms), a renewed and uplifting energy once I’ve finished and a calm, peaceful mind. It’s also helped me become more aware of areas of tension in my body, for example, my shoulder (you can see how my arms are at different levels). ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Overtime this practice seeks to restore correct posture so you carry less tension in the body and more energy as the body doesn’t have to work as hard (or in incorrect ways) to keep itself upright. (*I’ve also been seeing a chiropractor, to create the correct foundational environment and alignment which has been super beneficial in conjunction with this practice!).
Stay tuned for tips on to practice this standing meditation exercise.