Monday, February 28, 2011
From: Jim (email@example.com)
There are many arts that claim to return the mind/body/breath to the natural state via softness but the plain and simple reality is there are very few arts that practice and achieve the natural state. Most of the so-called "Internal Schools" have swayed so far from the natural path that very little to no results can be yielded and within the Yogic community one can clearly see most of the training is more related to Hard practices. Breath of Fire is one of the most common breathing sets found in classical Yoga and is the opposite of "tranquility" methods! So, if you are tired of learning complicated sets, numerous movements and practicing un-natural exercises then it is time to experience the power of Zhan Zhaung!!!
Some notes regarding tranquility:
The importance of "entering a quiet state" is not purely spiritual: IT IS OF GENUINE THERAPEUTIC VALUE. The influences of mental overwork, worry, stress, and emotional distress are now well known to have far-reaching effects on the human organism as a whole. The importance of nurturing Shen "spirit" and protecting it from exhaustion due to overwork or emotional stress was recognized from early times.
In Chapter 15 of "The Book of Master Zhuang," Zhuang Zhou writes:
When one is at ease and tranquil, worries cannot penetrate, noxious external influences cannot invade one. Hence one's virtue will be complete and one's spirit not decline!
The Inner Classic of the Yellow Emperor expresses it in similar terms:
When one is tranquil and empty, TRUE BREATH (ZHENG QI) responds, and with one's attention inwardly fixed (guarded), how can illness take hold?
Saturday, February 26, 2011
The wisdom of Master WXZ
"The standing exercise represents a very special accumulation of knowledge in China. But in the past there were very few people who paid attention to it because most people thought it was too simple. They wondered how, by standing in a single posture without moving, can you improve health? When people wonder this, it is because they do not really understand the essence of standing. In reality, in practicing the exercise of standing without moving, we can not only increase physical strength, but also awaken healing process within the body, allowing the body to cure itself of all kinds of chronic diseases it might have accumulated during a lifetime. Therefore, in preventative medicine, standing exercises have great value. In fact, it is one of the most appropriate ways of exercising."
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
From: JJR (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: Great Stand!
I just wanted to say last night we had a very good Zhan Zhuang sessions! Every holiday night work out we typically just Zhan Zhuang the whole class. Last night was no different! After a short warm up we got right into Zhan Zhuang and out of the One Hour work out we did Fifty Minutes of Pile Standing! The most impressive thing about last night was we had 4-5 new people and everyone did very well for such a long stand. Zhan Zhuang is the heart and soul of Yiquan Qigong and truly there is nothing more core and effective for promoting health as Pile Standing Qigong.
Monday Night Session:
5 Gathering Qi
15 Zhuang #1
15 Zhuang #5
10 Zhuang #1
10 Zhuang #3
5 Gathering Qi
Seal & Wash
Have a great week and I look forward to our next session!
Monday, February 21, 2011
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From: Jim <email@example.com>
Subject: Strength From No-Strength
Just a little reminder that we will be training tonight @ MIT! If you are off for today's holiday then this is a perfect night for a powerful session of Zhan Zhuang Qigong! Bring some friends and introduce them to the pound for pound most simple and effective internal health art known to humanity!!!!
One of the most common statements in the Yiquan art is:
Develop Strength From No-Strength!
Listen to what Master Wang Xiang Zhai had to say about this maxim:
"The Standing Pole exercises seek to develop strength from no-strength (non-exertion), movement from non-movement, and rapid movement from slight movement. The more relaxed the body, the faster the circulation of blood, and the faster strength will develop. If one exerts brute strength one will tense up, and the body will thus lose its spontaneous flexibility, often to the point of obstructing blood-flow. This (relaxation's) type of strength is largely formless, and of the mind (shen). If one uses the strength of "form", then the intrinsic nature of movement is lost... When the body is relaxed as possible, the mind (shen) is completely collected. Thence, though the form may appear base and sluggish, the mind is agile."
Monday, February 14, 2011
It is said that already 2000 years ago there existed the book "Internal Canon”, the gem of Chinese medicine, which even today is a guide for medical practice. Chapter “Simple questions” concentrates on cultivating health. For example we can read there: "In ancient times great masters stood on earth, supporting heaven, controlling yin and yang, breathing with essence of qi, standing alone, guarding spirit, with body being a one". Although the text is simple, its meaning is profound. It was a method of exercise preventing illnesses, and in cases when acupuncture and medicine didn’t help, patient could use these principles to do exercises. The main points are yang – cultivating, nourishing and jing - tranquility, non-movement: “standing alone, guarding spirit”.
“Standing alone, guarding spirit” means that before starting the exercise, mind must be prepared, thinking of being in the state of tranquility and non-movement, at beginning of everything, when anything can happen. Body is as a plant, static if looking from outside, but all kind of changes are happening inside. The “broken” method of techniques mustn’t be used, as it would spoil everything. Although partial movement can be useful, but if practiced for long time it is harmful – it is movement which is chronically ruining health.
When practicing, you should always keep the feeling of light and swift upright standing, without breaking intention and force; light, relaxed, even wholeness, according to the principle of comfortable force.
Notes from Master Wang Xiangzhai
"The keys to health preservation are simple. Our deep human nature pushes us to simpleness, free of any restriction. Every day, in the fresh air of the morning, without any fixed method, simply bend all your body joints, consider the emptiness around you, move simply and freely. Feel the energy of the blood circulation in your body and in a meanwhile, be aware of the natural forces that are exerted on the outer part of your body. The spirit (shen) is as if swimming. The body and the spirit are natural and comfortable. Not only free and without any limit, they will progressively extend to finally be one with the universe."
Translated from an interview with the Late Founder of our Art