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?
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
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!