Popie Runs - Qigong Standing Like a Tree

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Michael McCaffrey

Phone: 613 897 0647

Email: michael@popieruns.com

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Almost all schools of internal martial arts (Tia Chi, Bagua, etc.) have some form of standing Gigong is taught beginners as part of his or her training. The reason for this is that learning the external form of many of these disciplines requires a lot of time to learn. Learning the external form to a point where there is enough of the internal work to be effective as a Qigong requires considerable time, dedication and practice. Therefore, students were offered a simpler activity that could be learned quickly and used to begin exploring energy work the longer form would only provide after it was learned and internalized.

I will present a version of a standing Gigong which I have used for some time now and will also present some variations which may be or have been applied to it.

A Google search using “Pile Standing”, “Zang Zhung” and/or “Jam Jong” will lead you to various videos and articles on this form of Gigong. By and large, these all fall into the form of Static or near Static Gigongs. They are sometimes referred to as “Standing Like a Tree”. There are also versions that include simple movement sequences, Ba Duan Jin or 8 Pieces of Brocade or Eight Treasures Exercises are one such set. I will also outline the basic movements of this set as I have learned it.

I will note that within my association we learn and practice the “Three Circle Standing Qigong” and Erle, Eli and my instructor all recommend that the new student of Tai Chi Chuan or Bagua learn this and practice it for a minimum of 15 minutes a day for the first several years of their practice. An assumption is that the student will gain sufficient mastery of the basic more complicated principle form to be practicing it at an internal level. I included this in my practice for about 120 days and then felt that I actually had improved my Tai Chi Form to the point where I could be less fastidious about the Gigong. I was convinced by conversations with Eli that the benefit of continuing this practice daily and without exception was actually very important to development of my practice. Eli maintains that a standing Gigong was part of his practice from the time he got serious about his Taiji until he had developed his form(s) to a point where they provided the same energy development benefits. For him this was 5 years of twice daily practice for 20 or more minutes.

Many will doubt the effectiveness of such an exercise, and questions the time spent in such an activity. My intention is not to convince you of the benefits, but to present the basic exercise. You can use the web and other sources to explore what might be the benefits you can expect. You can also contact me directly. I will note that in traditional Chinese teaching it is often said that one must practice these Gigong forms for a minimum of 100 days before s/he will notice benefits. For the western student this is a very long time; however; in the grand scale it is relatively short.

As I was taught the form it involved four steps, including the prepare; however, I now include the fourth and fifth postion. I include these between the second and third position. Therefore my form is Prepare, holding the Ball, Push the ball, Hands in the stream, hold the bell and Close things up.

Standing Link A Tree - Prepare

Standing Like A Tree - Second position – Holding the Ball

Standing Like A Tree - Third position – Holding the Belly

Standing Like A Tree - Beginning the complete exercise

Standing Like A Tree - Closing things up

Standing Like A Tree - Forth position – Push the ball

Standing Like A Tree - Fifth position – Hands in the stream