After you can easily stand in the First Position, Wu Chi, for 20 minutes then you can start learning and working on the Second Position, Holding the Balloon. This is the second position in a Zhan Zhuang series of standing meditation positions of Qigong. I’d start with Baduanjin as a warm-up, then stand in the First Position, Wu Chi, for 5 minutes, then stand in the Second Position, Holding the Balloon for just 1 or 2 minutes. As you learn the position review the key points below while you hold the position.
Continue this daily, slowly increasing the time you can stand in the Second Position, Holding the Balloon, until you work up to 20 minutes in the Second Position. Don’t rush it. It will take time and discipline to reach 20 minutes in this position. Just do as much as is comfortable each day and little by little add another 30 seconds until you eventually can hold the position for a full 20 minutes. At first this may seem unreachable, but with time and discipline your body will build up the strength and endurance to handle this, and eventually much more. Eventually you can work up to standing in the Zhan Zhuang Full Circle for 30 minutes.
Key Points for Holding the Balloon the Second Position
- Follow all the previous points for Wu Chi including alignment, relaxation, belly breathing, etc.
- From the Wu Chi position, sink in your stance about 2″ by bending your knees slightly more.
- Imagine that you are lightly sitting on a large balloon about the height of a tall stool.
- Imagine that you are also gently holding a smaller balloon between your legs.
- Raise your arms and hands in front of you as if you are hugging a large balloon.
- Imagine that your arms and hands are gently resting on the large balloon.
- Hold your hands roughly in front of your shoulders, palms facing inward.
- Imagine that your arms are supported by additional smaller balloons under your armpits and elbows.
Imagining the various balloons holding everything up is important and useful because it gives you something to focus on as you meditate while holding the position. Use the power of your mind to relax your muscles while imagining that the balloons are helping to hold you up. This lets you relax your voluntary fast-twitch muscles while bringing your postural slow-twitch muscles into play to take up more and more of your weight over time.
After you can hold the position for the full 20 minutes then you are ready to move on to learning the Third Position, Holding the Belly. Stay tuned for a future post about the Third Position.
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-Renshi Mike Scaramozzino
These videos are based on exercises described in the book – The Way of Energy.