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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Zhan Zhuang Instructional Video: Day 4

In Day 4, we travel to the Summer Palace to practice stillness, the forgotten art. "Stillness, balance, and harmony is the theme of the Summer Palace Gardens near Beijing. Like a lake, the heart must be calm and quiet, having great depth beneath it." We warm up by pulling the bow: breathing out while we pull out and breathing in as our hands return to center. We then practice the Second Position, the Universal Post. Keep the hands in the heart level. The fingers are gently spread apart. The head is floating on top the shoulders. Two balloons under your armpits support your arms. Your belly does not stick out, neither does your bottom. If you feel tired, sit in the balloon chair. Stay calm, calm. We then explore the opposing forces of nature: yin and yang. "These fundamental opposites are harmonized by the immaterial breath or energy, called qi. Qi gives us life. It's the vital force of the cosmos. The aim of Zhan Zhuang is to feel our qi, our natural energy, and learn to develop its balanced flow through our body. It's a soft form of fitness, a gentle strength." We cool down by gently rotating the hips.