Why is Standing Meditation an Essential Development Tool For Martial Arts and Health?
Whether you are practicing a martial art or any form of meditation for health having a good root (the ability to be grounded physically and mentally) is an important for becoming an accomplished practitioner. Standing meditation is an essential key to developing the ability. When your root is strong you will be solid physically, mentally and emotionally.
The average person will have a very hard time trying to disturb you or take you out of your rhythm. There are many ways one can develop a strong root with internal training. We will discuss some of them here to point you in the right direction with your practice.
In order to have a strong root we need to remain flexible. Especially with the lower half of the body. The ankles, knees, hips and waist need to move freely in order to maintain a solid root. This will give you the ability to adjust your angles while your root is solid. Also remaining flexible will allow you to travel or move the feet while staying rooted.
The next important area is your breath. Correct breathing will allow you to maintain a stronger root and go deeper in to your meditation training. By having a solid foundation you will be able to yield more effectively. This will give you more power in your strikes, control in your locking and the ability to stay relaxed so your response time will be the most efficient.
Having a solid root will also give you the strength to maintain a balanced mental and emotional state. This will let you have the power to respond with awareness and precision.
You can find the limit of your physical movements, but the internal feeling is limitless. If you learn to listen and let your mind communicate with your body you will increase your understanding and continue to grow.
Occasionally I will hear someone say “I already know this” or “this is easy.” If you have this attitude you are missing the idea behind the internal arts training. Every time you train explore the feeling like it is your first time. By doing this your mind will be open and you will continue to grow with your practice. Whether you are training a movement or working with the subtle breath listen deeply and explore every sensation.
Standing meditation is the fastest way to develop a strong foundation. It may seem so simple, but that is only if you are looking at the posture and have no understanding of what is happening within the body and mind. Standing postures offer the most direct entrance to cultivating chi and establishing a solid foundation.
Standing meditation has been used for over 4000 years and is a fundamental part of most forms of Chinese martial arts. These standing postures or parts of these postures can be found in every martial art movement.
Making this practice an important fundamental piece for any martial artist. Originally there were over 200 standing postures used as the root of all Chinese and Taoist martial arts. These postures were not about the movement, but more used to build and store the chi.
Each posture is related to different energetic channels in the body. Bringing out the innate power of the body and uncovering latent abilities in people that may have never surfaced before. Most of us have different understandings of relaxation. Some people have difficult time trying to let go and be at piece in their mind. If your mind is not peaceful your body will not be rooted or relaxed. Through standing you will learn how to settle the mind. The communication between the mind and body will become smooth and lighter even under stressful situations.
Standing meditation opens energy channels in the body and will make you aware of current blockages in your body. This will enable you to address the problem and become healthier. Standing will also correct any alignment problems you may have. You will notice after only a few minutes of meditation soreness or imbalances that will need to be corrected in order to continue to practice. If your body is out of alignment it will need to work harder to maintain your posture. This will cause stress which can start to aggravate the mind.
After you understand correct alignment and can stand for a half an hour or longer you will start to see the potential benefits from this practice. When standing use your skeleton to support your weight as much as possible. When your muscles are relaxed and your mind is calm you will reach deeper levels of practice. Even though your body is still you can move the chi throughout the body and lead it to the lower dan tien (this is the main energy center in the body) to build and store the energy.
Store The energy for Health with Standing Meditation
Once you have learned how to store your energy you will become healthier and stronger. It is possible to be healthy and not strong and you can be strong, but not healthy. With this training you will develop both a strong and healthy body and mind. As your practice grows you will find that there is no limit to the amount of energy you can store. Now we can look at some of the basic health postures as well as some of the more martial related postures.
First we will look at the preparation posture and procedure which is used to help quiet the mind find your focus and set the atmosphere for your practice. Stand with your feet in a shoulder width horse stance knees slightly bent and arms relaxed at your sides. Visualize opening the joints in the body starting from the waist down.
Open the hips, knees, ankles, feet and toe joints without increasing the height of your stance you want to stay rooted. Now open the joints throughout the torso softly tuck your pelvic bone, lengthen each vertebra all the way up to the crown, open the arm pits and shoulders, as well as the elbows, wrists and fingers. If you want to sit lower tuck you pelvis and release the muscles in the legs to lower do not force this let it be natural.
Once you have established this connection and are open the energy will begin to rise from the feet bring it back to your lower dan tien to store the energy do the same from the upper body moving it back to your dan tien.
Using your Breath
By using your breath as a pump you can send the chi from the dan tien opening all of the joints in your body expanding the energy. Then bring the energy back to the dan tien to store. Continue this until your dan tien fills full and chi/energy is strong.
Now you are ready to move in to the standing postures. Stay tuned in we will learn some new postures next week and show you how they can be used both for health and martial power.
To learn more about standing meditation check out the Meditation Mastery Plan just click here.