Popie Runs - Chi Running

Michael McCaffrey

Phone: 613 897 0647

Email: michael@popieruns.com

Standing Like a Tree

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Standing Like A Tree - First Position - prepare

The basic opening stance or position one. Before beginning take a moment to relax and loosen up. I do the body looseners from my Chi Running Practice.

We then take a balanced stance with a shoulder width foot position with your feet parallel. Let your hands hang loosely at your sides, with your shoulders relaxed. Imagine you are supported by a cord attached to the top of your scull directly in line with the tips of your ears. Your knees should be loose. I find that exploring what if feels like to lock the knees and then just loosen them is useful for finding this loose position. (I worked on this separate from doing the Gigong so I could assume the position easily at the start of the Gigong.)

Your eyes will look forward and slightly down, drop your chin a little so you that your head is not pushed forward and to relax any stress in your neck. Keep your arms loose palms in and shoulders relaxed and elbows relaxed. We want to relax our hips and belly allow your spine to unfold downward so that neither your belly nor your bum are sticking out. Your mouth should be gently closed with the tip of your tongue resting on the pallet just above the teeth. Breath in and out through your nose. When you inhale breath all the way into your belly, that is allowing your belly to expand so you are doing “Belly Breathing” as you exhale compress your belly. We do not want to practice only breathing in the upper lungs, but rather to really breathe fully.

We start in this position and hold it for a short period while beginning to breath in and out through the nose. It is useful to focus your mind on the breathing and learn to relax the body as much as possible. (I use the English term relax, however, I like the Chinese term “sung” which is often used in Taiji to refer to relaxing that is not as relaxed as the western term, but loose an absence of unnecessary tension while still full of intension.)

This is the typical starting point and different schools may suggest holding this posture longer or shorter periods. I typically hold it long enough to adjust my body a get well balanced front to back, side to side with my weight evenly over the inside and outside of each foot.

Use this posture to adjust your body. Think of connecting the point at the top of your head, your Dan Tien (Tan Tien) , a point 3 fingers below your belly button and the bubbling wells on the soles of your feet. You can imagine energy coming into your body through your feet and travelling up your legs, up your spin over the top of your head and to a point on your forehead that would be a triangle formed by equal length lines connecting your eyes and up to the third eye point from each eye as you breath in. As you exhale imagine the energy continuing down into our Dan Tien. Take several comfortable relaxed breaths before you move into the second position.

Standing Like A Tree - First Position

Stand Like A Tree