站桩 Zhan Zhuang – Standing Like a Tree

Zhan Zhuang (pronounced Jan Jong) means standing like a tree, post standing or standing post. It is an intermediate to advanced form of standing meditation Qigong practice for vital energy cultivation. The above video traces the roots of Zhan Zhuang which reach back from 27 centuries ago to today with Master Lam Kam Chuen. It also includes a memorial unveiling ceremony for Master Lam’s teacher, Grand Master Yu Yong Nian.


Three Essences of Zhan Zhuang

by Grandmaster Yu Yong Nian

  • Hold the posture; develop your energy.
  • Follow the Dao; release all obstacles.
  • On the outside it appears weak and without purpose; internally it is strong and ready to use.

Great Grandmaster Wang Xiang Zhai

  • Inwardly alert, open, calm.
  • Outwardly upright, extended, filled with spirit.
  • This is the foundation of stillness,
  • and the hard and the soft,
  • the powerful and the relaxed,
  • motion and stillness,
  • contraction and extension.
  • In the instant these converge there is power.

Benefits of Zhan Zhuang Standing Meditation

Zhan Zhuang standing like a tree appears deceptively simple, but is actually more difficult than motion meditation Qigong practice. The roots of Zhang Zhuang go deeper internally than what is apparent externally. It has many health benefits as well as strength and fitness benefits that can benefit anyone of any age. It also has Qigong and Kung Fu benefits for those who follow the path further.

  • Increases blood circulation
  • Increases oxygen utilization
  • Increases endurance
  • Strengthens fast-twitch active phasic muscles
  • Strengthens slow-twitch postural muscles not normally under conscious control
  • Teaches and improves proper alignment
  • Teaches and improves proper rooting
  • Teaches and improves relaxed tension
  • Allows practice and refinement of belly breathing
  • Allows practice and refinement of meditation
  • Builds up Qi in the legs, like charging up a battery
  • Qi buildup in the legs along with the relaxation and arm positions facilitates Qi flow throughout the body

Three Pillars of Qigong

Zhanzhuang is the second pillar of three Qigong pillars which include the following.

  1. Moving Meditation: Baduanjin & Tai Chi
  2. Standing Meditation: Zhan Zhuang
  3. Seated Meditation Small Universe

Warm Up with Baduanjin Qigong Stretching

Baduanjin Qigong #1 Support the Sky for COVID Stress Relief
How to Practice Baduanjin Motion Meditation Stretching Exercises

I would suggest learning and practicing Baduanjin motion meditation stretching for three to six months before starting to learn and practice the more difficult Zhanzhuang exercises.


Learning Zhan Zhuang Standing Meditation Positions

After practicing Baduanjin for three to six months you are ready to begin learning the Zhan Zhuang positions as described in the book The Way of Energy. As you learn each position progressively build up your time in that position until you can comfortably hold it for twenty minutes. Then start working on the next position until you reach five minutes in the Fifth Position – Holding the Balloon in Front of your Face.


Zhan Zhuang First Position – Wu Chi

Wu Chi The First Position in Zhan Zhuang Standing Meditation Qigong
How to Practice Wu Chi The First Position in Zhan Zhuang Qigong

Zhan Zhuang Second Position – Holding the Balloon

Zhan Zhuang Second Position Holding the Balloon
How to Practice the Zhan Zhuang Second Position – Holding the Balloon

Zhan Zhuang Third Position – Holding Your Belly

Zhang Zhuang Third Position Holding Your Belly
How to Practice the Zhan Zhuang Third Position – Holding Your Belly

Zhan Zhuang Fourth Position – Standing in the Stream

Zhan Zhuang Fourth Position – Standing in the Stream
How to Practice the Zhan Zhuang Fourth Position – Standing in the Stream

Zhan Zhuang Fifth Position – Holding the Balloon in Front of Your Face

Zhan Zhuang Fifth Position – Holding the Balloon in Front of Your Face
Zhan Zhuang Fifth Position – Holding the Balloon in Front of Your Face

Achieving the Zhan Zhuang Full Circle

Zhan Zhuang Full Circle Standing Meditation Qigong
How to Practice the Zhan Zhuang Full Circle Sequence

After being able to hold the Fifth Position for five minutes you are ready to begin the 30 minute Zhan Zhuang Full Circle sequence. The abbreviated video above only shows each position for one minute rather than the five minutes each that I do daily.


The Way of Energy Book & Stand Still, Be Fit TV Segments

The version of Zhan Zhuang standing meditation that I’ve been practicing is that which is described in the book The Way of Energy by Master Lam Kam Chuen. Master Lam also created the video series seen below – Stand Still, Be Fit: a 10 day introduction to Zhan Zhuang.

The Way of Energy by Master Lam Kam Chuen

Medical Studies of Zhan Zhuang for Health Improvement


Additional Resources


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Arigato Gozaimasu (Thank You Very Much!)
-Renshi Mike Scaramozzino

These exercises are based on those described in the book – The Way of Energy and supplemented with additional sources.The Way of Energy by Master Lam Kam Chuen