Lin Houcheng, Luo Peiyu
Translation by A. Alexandrov
“Pillar standing” goes back to the ancient system of Dachengquai. It is divided into two directions: “standing as a pillar of nurturing life” and “combat pillar”. The first of them is described below. “Pillar standing” is a healing, health-improving and strengthening technique based on the laws of growth and development of a tree with deep roots: It does not require a special room or any equipment. You can exercise anytime, anywhere. Its distinctive features are simplicity, effectiveness, achieved in a short time and especially high in the treatment of chronic diseases such as neurasthenia, gastritis, colitis, coronary heart disease, as well as with a weak constitution, coldness in the extremities, etc.
There are many varieties of postures in “pillar standing”, but they can all be reduced to the following: “natural standing”, “three-circle standing”, “standing with downward pressure” and “mixed pillar standing”. According to the degree of complexity, they can be divided into three types: “standing in a pillar” in a high, medium and low stance. The high stance involves slight bending of the legs at the knees, which does not require much effort, and is intended for older people and people with weak constitutions. In the middle stance, the knees bend at an angle of about 130 degrees, usually suitable for those who have fairly good physical characteristics. The low stance requires bending the knees at an angle of 90 degrees and is intended for healthy people or those who have largely regained their health.
1.. “Natural standing posture”: place your feet shoulder-width apart parallel to each other, keep your head straight, do not stick out your chest, slightly bend your knees, place your left hand with the palm on your stomach, the right hand on top of the left. Look forward or forward and down.
2.. “Three-circle pillar standing” is divided into “ball-holding” and “embracing”. The first involves a slight rounding of the hands, the second – a significant one).
“Ball-holding standing”: the hands form a semicircle, as if they are holding the ball at a distance of about 30 cm in front of the face. The gaze is directed forward or forward and down.
“Embracing standing”: arms seem to embrace a tree, hands in front of the chest at a distance of about 60 cm. The gaze is directed forward or forward and down.
3.. “Standing with downward pressure”: arms bent at the elbows, fingers separated and directed forward, forearms parallel to the floor, palms facing down. Look forward or forward and down
Depending on the health status of the practitioner, a high, medium or low stance is selected.
4.. “Mixed pillar standing”: when performing this type of “pillar”, the hands consistently change position. Standing in each of these poses can take from one minute (at the initial stage) to 10 minutes (at subsequent stages).
Basic requirements for the “pillar standing” stance: feet parallel to each other; legs are shoulder-width apart; the upper body is straightened; the head is kept level and straight; lips and teeth are closed; the chest is slightly tucked in, the back is stretched; shoulders and elbows down; the whole body is as relaxed as possible; the legs are bent so that the knees do not protrude beyond the line of the toes.
1.. Natural breathing (breathe as you are used to. Breathe as usual).
2.. Abdominal breathing (when inhaling, the stomach protrudes or retracts, while exhaling, it retracts or protrudes, respectively). Breathing should be calm, thin, even, deep. It is advisable to perform it under the guidance of a teacher.
3. While inhaling, mentally collect the body qi and “external qi” in the lower dantian region (below the navel), while exhaling, move the collected qi (also mentally) to the yongquan points on the soles of the feet, then raise it again to the dantian, lower it again to the points yongquan, etc. It is necessary to ensure that breathing is soft and natural, without the slightest use of force.
Methods of concentration in “standing in a pillar” can be as follows.
1.. Think about something light and pleasant, for example, about a successful situation at work, about beautiful natural landscapes (forest, field, free wind, flowers blooming in the garden). You should not think about what causes fear, fright and other negative emotions. This method is especially recommended for beginners.
2.. Focus on the Dantian area (below the navel), or on the Yongquan points. –
3.. Following the inhalations and exhalations, move your attention from one selected point to another, for example, from the dantian area to the yongquan points.
IV. Completing the exercise
1.. Slowly straighten your legs. At the same time, while inhaling, raise your arms with your palms up. When your hands reach neck level, turn them over with your palms down and, as you exhale, lower your hands (as if pressing with your palms) to the level of your stomach. Perform these movements three times in a row.
2.. Simultaneously with the slow straightening of the legs, as you inhale, raise your arms with your palms up, when your hands reach the level of your neck, take them behind your head and continue raising your arms to the level of the crown, then turn your hands over with your palms down, place them in front of your head and slowly lower them, exhaling, towards stomach. Repeat 3 times. After completing the exercise, rub your palms to enhance the effect. You can also massage the head (smoothing the hair) and face (“washing”) (20 movements). The choice of the first or second method of completing the “pillar standing” is arbitrary.
1.. From the beginning to the end of the exercise, remain relaxed. There should be a faint smile on your face. While “standing,” you should not monitor the sensations that arise.
2.. For beginners and seriously ill patients, it is recommended that at the first stage of training they use natural breathing, the first method of concentration and “standing with downward pressure” in a high stance.
3.. Throughout the entire exercise, you must maintain the selected position. Arbitrary movements are not allowed.
4.. If while “standing” you feel heat, warmth, numbness in some parts of the body, muscle twitching, trembling of fingers or legs, then do not worry: this is a common occurrence during qigong classes. You just shouldn’t pay attention to it.
5.. Due to the uneven distribution of qi in the body, there may be a feeling of cold in one shoulder and heat in the other, or even in half of the body – cold, in half – heat. This goes away with practice. But if the cold is felt throughout the whole body, you should immediately stop the activity, warm your hands and face in warm or hot water. Continue the lesson the next day.
6.. You should not exercise outdoors in strong winds. In light winds it is possible; You need to stand with your back to the wind. When exercising indoors, make sure the air is fresh.
7.. You should not exercise if you are very hungry, within 30 minutes after eating, or in a state of extreme fatigue (in the latter case, it is better to exercise while sitting or lying down).
8.. The appearance of sweat and warmth while “standing” is a good sign. But you need to be careful not to catch a cold: you can’t drink cold water or wash your face with cold water immediately after class.
9.. Strictly comply with the requirements upon completion of the lesson.
To the above should be added a number of requirements regarding body position:
a.. after taking a stance (legs are already bent), “round” the perineum.” To do this, you need to slightly spread and bring your knees together; – pick up your stomach, slightly drawing in the abdominal muscles above the pubic bone;
b.. with a mental movement (i.e. extremely light) retract the anal sphincters;
c.. relax your lower back. You can achieve this by imagining yourself sitting or as if “hanging by the top of your head” or slowly squatting down. Relaxation of the lower back is closely related to bending the knees, relaxing the hips, and “rounding the perineum.” All these movements must be performed smoothly, so that one transitions into the other. This is a key requirement, otherwise the qi will not be able to circulate freely through the channels of the body; – contract your chest slightly, but do not slouch; – straighten your back, straighten your shoulder blades a little, but do not stretch into a string;
d.. lower your shoulders and move them slightly forward. It should feel like they are hanging down;
e.. lower your elbows and spread them slightly to the sides;
f.. relax your wrists, fingers open freely;
g.. relax the armpits, the hands should be in such a position that there is a certain distance between the forearm and the armpit (such as to place the egg); – mentally hang your head by the top of your head, for which you should raise your chin and slightly tilt your head upward with the baihui point;
h.. close your eyes (but don’t close them completely), this promotes general relaxation;
i.. close your teeth and lips (but do not squeeze them), this will prevent the flow of “internal qi” into the external environment; – easily rest the tip of your tongue on the palate near the alveoli (tubercles behind the upper teeth);
j.. the facial muscles seem to be ready to form a smile (mentally smile). This helps to relax the internal organs and achieve calm.
Having fulfilled all these requirements, you can move on to the main part of the lesson. “Standing” is one of the most popular and universal techniques; it is used for therapeutic and health purposes and as an integral part of many systems of Wushu and Taijiquan. The technique is simple and effective. Nevertheless, all the warnings that our magazine wrote about earlier apply fully to it, that is, training using this technique also requires caution. You should be especially careful at the first stage of mastering it. It is necessary to understand: “deviations” are possible, even if you try to comply with all requirements and instructions. Working with qi and dantians is a very delicate matter. In order to “stand” correctly, even with a teacher, and even more so without one, you need individual experience, not only positive, but also negative. Many people with many years of experience make mistakes from time to time. Of course, this does not mean that everyone will necessarily have “deviations”; this is very individual and depends on many factors.
It is important to go through the very first stage of classes, the first days and weeks, correctly. For some, the manifestations may be weak and unnoticeable – they should not be disappointed, but should persevere. Others may have strong reactions – they do not need to be scared. Many of these reactions are natural, but not all. One must be able to distinguish “deviations” from regular manifestations. The first ones need to be eliminated, the second ones should not be given much attention. We recommend that those who decide to master “standing” once again carefully read all the articles in the “Tips for Beginners” section, especially Lin’s article. Houcheng and Luo Peiyu in N3, 1991. At the same time, “deviations” cannot be expected in advance. It is important to believe in success, to open up, but at the same time, in no case should you expect a result, tune in to some result, try your best to bring it closer. The more such desire and impatience there are, the more you will delay your success. Be patient and calmly persistent and everything will come at the right time. While “standing”, different sensations may arise in the body – do not fix your attention on them, do not study or analyze them. You will do this after the end of class, but not immediately, later during the day. , Now you must be focused on what you have chosen to do. However, concentration should be easy. What does it mean? Of course, extraneous thoughts will come into your head and your attention will wander – don’t get irritated because of this, don’t fight the thoughts that come, don’t try to drive them away as quickly as possible, like enemies interfering with your meditation. After you realize that you are distracted, stop for a while your “look” at the thought that is now in your head, look at it calmly, and then “say”: “Right now I PREFER something else” – and smoothly turn your attention to the object of your meditation (dan tien, point, specific topic, landscape). And this should be done every time your focus is on. attention, an extraneous thought will appear. Sometimes concentration will be difficult – do not try to achieve it through effort, this will lead to tension, which can later manifest itself in the form of a headache and some other “deviation”. Be content with the results achieved today; they may be different each time. This is fine. Rely on naturalness rather than on your will; it is better to use it in order to achieve regularity and systematicity in your studies, get rid of bad habits and maintain a cheerful state of mind.
The cessation of “standing” should occur smoothly, slowly: the nervous system, which was working in a meditative mode, should not abruptly switch to the waking mode – such a transition can have a stressful effect on it, and instead of calm, you will feel agitation, nervousness and discomfort. CORRECT EXIT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT CONDITION. After completely stopping classes, it is recommended not to engage in mental work for half an hour, and not to eat for 1 – 2 hours.
It is also important when practicing qigong to realize that the goal is not to gain as much energy as possible. Of course, in certain cases, a gain of energy is needed. But only in those when it is missing. Often the problem is precisely that there is too much energy, it overflows the channels, presses and, unspent, stagnates, “spoils”, forms blocks and traffic jams. Many diseases (for example, of a neurotic nature) often occur due to the inability, for some reason, to use the available energy. This applies to those who do not practice qigong (meditation), and even more so to those who do. Therefore, activity, external and internal, is recommended. The nature of energy is such that it must be used, and for higher energy (spiritual) this means that it must be given to people. In this regard, the problem of choosing a goal to which energy can be directed arises. It’s not a bad idea to ask yourself: why do I want to be healthy?
So, the main point of practicing health qigong is to establish free circulation of energy in the system of energy channels (within a person) and between a person and the external environment in the Earth – Man – Space system. A meaningful attitude towards this, and especially the fact that a person is a link in the cosmic chain (and a central one at that), will contribute to the success of the training and can serve as the foundation for future progress in mastering qigong and moving to its higher levels.
In conclusion, we note the importance of the requirement not to combine different techniques arbitrarily, at will. Failure to comply with this condition can cause the most unfavorable consequences. It is impossible to follow several paths at the same time; choose one for yourself and firmly follow it. But this does not mean that the methodology cannot be changed. After a certain time of studying, you can, of course, move on to another one if you clearly see that the chosen one is not suitable for you. “Standing” is combined with any systems of Wushu, Tai Chi, and techniques aimed at muscle relaxation. Currents excited in the body by some kind of qigong (yoga) technique act for a day (approximately), so the combination of different techniques during this time is especially dangerous.
Remember all the tips and recommendations from our magazine and never forget your own common sense.