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PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2008 11:10 am 
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Hi Chris,

That's very interesting. What do you do with your mind while you stood? In what posture did you stand?

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2008 3:30 pm 
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Dana Sheets wrote:
Hi Chris,

That's very interesting. What do you do with your mind while you stood? In what posture did you stand?


Hi Dana,

the practice is called Zhang Zuan and I am told it is very old.

Three different postures in five positions: 1)centre is natural stance (kind of like hachi-dachi) feet shoulder width with knees slightly bent and pelvis tucked up, arms up at shoulder level and rounded (like hugging a tree), soft gaze; 2) shift to the right (similar to cat stance); 3) return to centre then; 4) cat stance to left and; 5) finish the cycle at the centre.

The idea is to work toward stillness -- stillness of the mind, stillness of the body and stillness of the breath.

Breath is the key - soft, smooth, cool and refreshing -- like a fine silken thread -- barely perceptible.

There are several ways to breathe - but the important thing on this post is perhaps to note that you can time each posture with the number of breaths you complete. In class I usually count nine in each posture and it takes about 15 minutes to go through the complete cycle.

I keep my mind open and focus on my breath; otherwise, I simply try to keep it clear -- if a thought pops up or I get distracted by some outside stimulus (traffic noises or conversation on the street) I simply bring my focus back to the breath.

It's a fantastic way to clear the head prior to starting a workout (or anything else, for that matter, requiring focussed attention - say carving a cabriole leg in a noisy wood shop :wink: ).

I hope that gives you a picture - I might be mistaken, but I think I remeber David once telling us that it was practiced early on in GEM's schools in Boston, but was dropped when enrolement increased and things got too busy.

One of the reasons my Sunday morning class is so small is because of the meditation -- it's not for everyone!

On the other hand it seems to help keep the riff wraff away! :P

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 5:39 pm 
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Chris, I recognized your post as being something one of my teachers showed me once, but I never really tried it out.

In the version I was taught, when you shift to the right, your left hand index finger is pointing at the palm of the right hand and vise versa.

Because of your post, I tried it out for real last night. I like it. :lol:

I tried it with 36 breaths each position, then 108 breaths with arms hanging down, then 12 breaths each position, 108 breaths arms hanging down.

I remember hearing a quote once about being a master of walking, standing, sitting and lying down. :idea:

Maybe someone knows the quote?


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 8:13 pm 
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Thanks Chris. That description does help.

It seems there are some traditions of standing practice that aim for "no mind" and then there's the Mantak Chia type approach that uses a number of visualizations (breathing in through the fingers and toes, etc.)

I think there is a great deal of benefit to doing standing practice for people who are living a "plugged in" life. If the radio, TV, ipod, or computer is always on, then your mind is being fed and endless stream of chatter.

Turning all that off--either by hard physical work or simple standing--helps bring everything back to balance. Sort of like hitting the "reset" button.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2008 12:12 am 
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Dana, yes, I agree -- it's interesting too how one's experience of standing changes over time.

Many find find it excrutiating in the beginning - for all sorts of reasons.

For awhile I experienced conversations - seemingly from nowhere.

Others get sound and colour periodically, but without reference.

Currently, for me, it's simply about taking the time to feel myself breathing. Slowing things down a little.

In a group it's also about creating a common ground or starting point.

I believe this helps forge the mind in the sense that it challenges one to be aware of their perceptions.

5D - yes, what you describe sounds like it -- I left out several subtle parts like finer hand position and breathing patterns.

Anyway, thanks Dana, good thread.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2008 2:25 pm 
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Quote:
I think I remember David once telling us that it was practiced early on in GEM's schools in Boston, but was dropped when enrollement increased and things got too busy.


Hmm...that's interesting. Maybe George will pop by and let us know his source for standing practice at that time and why he was exploring it as part of the Uechi curriculum.

------------

And Rick,
Thanks for reposting that drill. I think it is a very good one.

I'd only caution that if other people want to try that drill out with your students, make it very clear to them that they're pushing themselves through pain for their own experience and not to impress you, the teacher or anybody else in the room. I can imagine several gung-ho students who would push themselves to the point of injury and beyond in order to impress

---------------------

Finally,
From what I can understand of modern science, in addition to altering and smoothing out brain wave patterns we're only beginning to understand the effects of all meditation in its various forms on the body/mind. This is a link to an article that is of interest:
http://www.yiquan.org.uk/art-zz.html

I am not posting that link as anything other than a point of reference. I'm not experienced with that person or their understanding. So I have no idea if what's in that article is anything close to correct.

I do think it highlights the idea that some standing practices that developed in China were tailored for health promotion and some standing practice was tailored for martial development/power generation.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2008 2:43 pm 
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I remember spending a week in the Laurentian mountains (Southern Quebec) with Swami Vishnu Vishnu-Devananda and taking a course in Yoga. . . one of the many programs I took during the 1960-present time involving Eastern Arts relating to my study of Uechi-ryu. Meditation of many varieties were experimented with in my classes. I continue to practice and teach Sanchin as an "active" meditation method.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2008 9:21 pm 
"I'd only caution that if other people want to try that drill out with your students, make it very clear to them that they're pushing themselves through pain for their own experience and not to impress you, the teacher or anybody else in the room. I can imagine several gung-ho students who would push themselves to the point of injury and beyond in order to impress"

Good addition, Dana.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2008 1:34 pm 
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gmattson wrote:
I continue to practice and teach Sanchin as an "active" meditation method.


George, could you go into a little more detail on this comment?

I think you are referencing moving meditation as a way to focus the mind and weed out distractions, but I want to be sure I am getting all you are referencing.

I mentioned earlier that doing sanchin seems to help me focus my mind and discard all the rest. There is something about the pairing of movement with focus that helps me drop all the crazy distractions modern life gives us.

We have a spiral labyrinth at a local seminary here in Richmond, and I found that walking mediation very useful for quieting the mind. It takes time to walk in and out of the labyrinth (a series of elaborate lines) and the conflict/distractions fall away as you move forward.

Chris and 5D, I find the concept of standing meditation fascinating...something I will have to check into! I wonder if all the "plugged in" of modern life would make this more difficult than a more active meditation form. Most intriguing!

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2008 4:26 pm 
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Shana Moore wrote:
Chris and 5D, I find the concept of standing meditation fascinating...something I will have to check into! I wonder if all the "plugged in" of modern life would make this more difficult than a more active meditation form. Most intriguing!


Hey Shana, just to further the outline of benefits let me add this point of clarification: standing meditation accomplishes more than just balancing out the effect of living 'the dream' in this modern, industrialized world of ours.

Pragmatically speaking...

1) It's also a very effective way of developing physical discipline -- standing still for 15 minutes/half an hour/and hour etc. is no small task. Really helps one focus on what's important during a fight -- whether physical or verbal. Find that familiar calm place and away you go.

2) It's another way to train those tiny stabilizing muscles found around many of our joints -- it's really interesting to watch people for the first few weeks of beginning standing meditation -- even the strongest experience tremors as the the muscles learn to balance themselves.

3) Sifting through the riff raff -- often times students who are not yet ready to study violence are not able to stand still for long periods of time. I admit that sometimes, when someone joins the class whose motives I question, by standing a little longer I notice they often drop out quickly - unable to summon the patience required to get onto the physical stuff.

4) Additionally, there's something really special that happens when a group of people do standing together. I can't put my finger on it, but where it helps the individual to focus - when several people stand together the effect is somehow mutiplied.

A lifetime ago I used to direct plays (university level theatre type stuff) and I found using meditation before rehearsals allowed the group to accomplish much more in much less time than when meditation wasn't utilized as part of the warm up. It was pretty cool! 8)

Then again, it's not for everyone!

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2008 5:11 pm 
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Chris,
Thank you for the additional points. I'm very intrigued!
I realize books are not a substitute for a good teacher, but are there any good resources for this type of standing meditation?

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2008 8:03 pm 
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Shana Moore wrote:
Chris,
Thank you for the additional points. I'm very intrigued!
I realize books are not a substitute for a good teacher, but are there any good resources for this type of standing meditation?


Hi Shana, sorry - I honestly don't know -- I was blessed with access to an exraordinary teacher.

A little story: as a teen I tried to learn wood carving by reading books and practising. I got pretty good, but learned more in my first day of apprenticeship under a real master woodcarver than I possibly could have in a lifetime of book practice.

It's a physical vocabulary and even vidoes are no substitute for having an experienced teacher come over and make small adjustments to your way of moving/standing/breathing.

All I can really think to suggest is to ask around. Sorry.

However, If you're ever up this way you'de be quite welcome to visit, and if you ever find your way to Toronto David teaches Qigong on Wednesday evenings.....

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2008 8:16 pm 
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Always appreciate the invite!!! If i'm ever up that way, I will certainly look you up!

Meanwhile, I'm focusing on learning Uechi basics and such at the moment and don't feel I have the time/focus/money to train in Qigong properly right now. But I would like to look into this standing practice as a support to my Uechi training and then look into a proper teacher later...sorta like your woodcarving (drool...did I mention that I LOVE a finely crafted wood item?).

I found references, on another forum, to books by a Master Lam Kam-Chuen , that look intriguing ("way of energy", "way of healing", and "way of power" ). I think I will have to see what I can find...and then move forward from there.

In any case, thank you for some great feedback and responses!

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 2:14 am 
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Shana, the link posted by Dana above does a pretty good job of explaining it.

In my opinion, if you know how to do sitting and walking meditation, you can do standing.

Same postural guidelines, same breathing. Relaxed.

Actually, the first opening move in sanchin after the bow is a correct posture, minus the position of the arms/hands.

Not to downplay the role of a teacher, but really it's about relaxation and attention.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 11:19 am 
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Thank you 5d!

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