Zhan Zhuang (Standing meditation)
is a foundational training method derived from Xing Yi Quan in Shanxi Province, China. It is considered a fundamental practice in various Chinese martial arts styles, equivalent to the “Zha Ma” stance in Southern Chinese martial arts.
More than 2,000 years ago, in the “Suwen” section of the ancient Chinese medical text “Huangdi Neijing,” already mentioned the phrase “Grasp the heavens and earth, hold the balance of yin and yang, breathe in refined qi, independently guard the spirit, muscles unified as one.” The concept of “independently guarding the spirit” specifically refers to the primal method of standing in a rooted posture known as “Zhan Zhuang.”
Zhan Zhuang emphasizes stability of the body and protection of the mind
By assuming a standing posture and maintaining focused awareness, we can enhance balance, muscle coordination, and the overall structural integrity of our skeletal system. It also cultivates inner tranquility and concentration. Zhan Zhuang is seen as a practice that combines internal and external aspects, contributing to physical and mental well-being.
Zhan Zhuang, Environment, Vitality
During Zhan Zhuang, it is important to find a suitable environment with fresh air, whether indoors or outdoors. Assuming a stable posture, we stand still like a tree trunk, breathing naturally while remaining “relaxed yet vigilant, firm yet supple.” The limbs should be slightly bent and the muscles engaged. These movements increase blood circulation, promote metabolism, and expand the capillaries within the muscles. This can result in sensations such as tingling, crawling feelings, increased body heat, and sweating. These bodily changes are a result of Zhan Zhuang and contribute to improved physical health and vitality.
Zhan Zhuang has many positive effects on the body
It can increase the number of red blood cells and improve hemoglobin concentration in the blood. Hemoglobin is responsible for transporting oxygen within the body. Increased hemoglobin during Zhan Zhuang provides greater oxygen supply to tissues and organs, leading to a sense of relaxation and comfort throughout the body. This stimulation is particularly beneficial to the cerebral cortex. Frequent stimulation can transform negative cycles within the brain into inhibitory states, which provides a protective effect. This is why Zhan Zhuang is considered helpful for conditions such as neurasthenia, arthritis, angina pectoris, and coronary artery sclerosis. By increasing hemoglobin in the blood, Zhan Zhuang promotes improved oxygen supply and overall health.
Zhan Zhuang also brings physical benefits, including improved blood circulation and metabolism. Practicing Zhan Zhuang for 30 to 40 minutes or more enhances blood circulation and accelerates metabolism, relieving symptoms such as dizziness, vertigo, and weakness.
During Zhan Zhuang, hold your hands in holding-a-ball posture
can alleviate pressure on the lungs caused by the shoulders and increase lung capacity. Additionally, the practice stimulates abdominal muscle activity (diaphragm), resulting in natural abdominal breathing. This breathing technique has no adverse effects and can massage the intestines, improve digestion and absorption, and potentially alleviate constipation.
Zhan Zhuang also helps protect joints from injuries and prevents joint stiffness
particularly in older individuals. Moreover, as Zhan Zhuang increases calcium content in the body, it enhances the body’s ability to resist fractures.
However, it is important to note that Zhan Zhuang is considered a complementary therapy, and its effectiveness may vary from person to person.
Community Fitness Class Highlights, May to June 2023
The community fitness training class includes training in standing meditation and qigong. This training method has many benefits, as reflected in the feedback from some of our participants:
Increased physical strength: Standing meditation helps to increase overall body strength, particularly in the legs, waist, and back muscles, providing excellent workout results.
Improved body balance and stability: Maintaining a still posture in standing meditation helps train body balance and stability, reducing the risk of injuries.
Enhanced body flexibility: This training improves body flexibility by stretching and contracting muscles and joints, making the body more agile.
Promotes blood and Qi circulation: Standing meditation promotes better blood circulation, contributing to overall health improvement.
Of course, there is one more valuable feedback from our participants – they feel happy in the community fitness class! Joining the fitness class not only enhances physical fitness, improves mental well-being, provides social opportunities, and boosts self-confidence, but also promotes a healthy lifestyle. It brings joy and fulfillment to our participants, allowing them to relieve stress and anxiety, and feel relaxed and at ease. Additionally, the fitness class offers a sense of achievement and satisfaction through the training.
And here’s some good news! The importance of the community fitness class has been recognized by both the participants and the community center, as they have invited “Sun Dragon” to continue offering the classes in July. This signifies that the community fitness class is valued and proves its positive impact on the participants’ physical and mental well-being. We hope more people can join the fitness class and improve their quality of life!