STANCE-TRAINING AND EIGHT PIECES OF BROCADE
The two qigong practices I have picked to start practicing are zhang zhuang and Ba Duan Jin. Any comments or suggestions on these practices?
Zhang Zhuang, which means stance training, is a genre of powerful qigong exercises. It is the single most widely used genre by kungfu masters of various styles, including Shaolin, Taijiquan, Bagua and Hsing Yi, to develop internal force. But it is not suitable for beginners, especially those without the personal supervision of competent instructors.
It looks easy, as you remain in the same static position for a long time. It is easy for you to make mistakes, and easy not to realize the mistakes. Because Zhang Zhuang exercises are powerful, the adverse effects of the mistakes are potent. Even in the unlikely situation that you do not make a single mistake in your long period of training, but if you have substantial blockage in your body to start with, the accumulated energy derived from Zhang Zhuang would cause internal injury.
Ba Duan Jin, which is pronounced as “P'a T'uan Jin” and not as “Ba Duan Jin”, and which means “Eight Pieces of Brocade”, is a set of eight dynamic qigong exercises. It is a wonderful set and is very popular today, although most people today practice it, like they practice other qigong exercises, as physical exercise rather than as qigong, which is energy exercise.
But even if they practice only the physical aspects of Ba Duan Jin, and missing its qigong dimension, there are many benefits, such as loosening muscles, promoting blood circulation and relaxation. It does not have the adverse effects of orthodox western exercises like forcing the organs to overwork and depositing much toxic waste in the body cells. It is an ideal type of exercise for you to practice on your own. Without the personal guidance of a qigong master, you would not obtain the wonderful qigong benefits of Ba Duan Jin, but at least you would not have serious side effects from wrong practice.
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