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Zhan Zhuang – Crystal Lotus Healing


John Chang –  Legendary Magus of Java











John Chang demonstrates the power of Yin & Yang unification.
 Zhan Zhuang is used for cultivating internal power and yin chi.

What is Zhan Zhuang ?

Although there are thousands of forms of Qigong, most of them use a derivative of Zhan Zhuang as a foundation practice. Zhan Zhuang means “standing like a tree,” “pile standing,” or “post standing.” As the name implies, Zhan Zhuang is a standing practice where one stands still, in an upright posture, as if standing like a tree. The tree metaphor is apt as your legs and torso form the trunk of the tree. Your head and limbs form the branches. And your feet, sinking and extending down beneath the ground, establish the roots. At its core, Zhan Zhuang is a form of standing meditation. It offers many of the mental benefits of mindfulness training. But in its standing postures, Zhan Zhuang goes much further.

The Benefits of Zhan Zhuang

Zhan Zhuang is a simple and elegant practice that offers astounding benefits to its practitioners.The primary benefit, which doesn’t take long to begin receiving, is a dramatic increase in physical energy. This increase in energy is the result of correcting your body’s posture. Improper posture is “normal” for almost all modern people.  It creates fatigue by slowing or stopping the flow of energy in the body.

By design, our chi flows freely throughout the body’s energetic pathways, called vessels or channels.  In Chinese medicine, there are eight vessels, twelve primary chi channels, and thousands of secondary channels branching out from the primary ones. In chi theory, energetic blocks (stagnant chi) is the root cause of most physical and mental ailments.The goal of Zhan Zhuang is to unblock stagnant chi and open all the body’s energetic pathways.

Health benefits derived from this standing practice include:

  • Increased red blood cells
  • Increased hemoglobin production
  • Better nerve excitation
  • Increased oxygen in the body
  • Higher quality cerebral cortex excitation
  • Improved sleep

For a detailed analysis of the medical benefits of Zhan Zhuang, see The Search for Wu by Dr. Yu Yong Nian. (The book is a poor English translation, but the content is excellent.)

What Zhan Zhuang Feels Like

Professor Yu Yong Nian classified the various sensations practitioners often experience within the first six weeks of practice. These sensations include numbness, aching, warmth, shaking, asymmetry, and relaxation. You may feel numbness, tingling, pulsations, warmth, or coolness in your hands, feet, head, or other portions of your body.

These sensations are signs the energy is attempting to flow freely through the body. A curiosity in these sensations leads to further internal discoveries about your body. If you’re successful in releasing tension and sinking your energy downward, your feet will get heavy. It may feel as though they are glued to the ground.  When you release tension in your upper body, your arms may fill up with energy. It can feel like they are being propelled away from your body by a magnetic force.

When Your Body Shakes …

One of the most notable experiences many people have in the early stages of this practice is trembling and shaking. It can be a shocking experience. I would have been alarmed when this occurred if I wasn’t warned about it in advance.  My body would often shake uncontrollably for minutes at a time.  This experience can happen within the first few minutes of practice.  This shaking is therapeutic. And if it happens to you, allow it. It will stop eventually.  From the perspective of bioenergetics, this is your “body armor” breaking down.  When under any traumatic or stressful experiences, all mammals shake.  Humans, however, have a tendency to repress or push down this response to intense negative emotions.

This leads us to store the trauma in our bodies.  There are various trauma release exercises available designed to induce these tremors to help people release stored trauma from their bodies.  With Zhan Zhuang, these tremors often occur by standing still in the proper body alignment.

How to Close Your Standing Meditation. When you’ve completed your session, slowly rock your feet back and forth and side to side.  Gently shake and tap around your body to release any stagnant energy that may have built up during your practice.

Why Zhan Zhuang is an Ideal Exercise

When performing most exercises like running, your heart and respiratory rate quicken until they reach a point where you have to stop.  This leaves you fatigued, requiring an extended period of recovery. Plus, most of these exercises can damage your body over time.

With Zhan Zhuang practice, your body will still get fatigued (if you do it long enough).  However, your heart rate barely changes and your respiration improves.  And your blood circulation becomes more regular. Done properly, you’ll be more energized after even brief practice sessions.  Imagine an exercise that has all the health benefits of aerobic exercise, but that leaves you relaxed and energized.