After you can easily stand in the Third Position, Holding Your Belly, for 20 minutes then you can start learning and working on the Fourth Position, Standing in the Stream. This is the fourth 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 Fourth Position, Standing in the Stream for 1-2 minutes. As you learn this position review the key points below while you hold the position.
Continue this daily, increasing the time you can stand in the Fourth Position, Standing in the Stream, until you reach 20 minutes in the Fourth Position. This Fourth Position is a little more difficult to hold than the Third Position because the stance is two inches lower. It will help to build more endurance and stamina as you learn and practice this position. Take your time and just do as much as is comfortable each day and little by little add another 30 seconds or so until you can hold the Fourth Position for a full 20 minutes.
After learning all five positions you can work up to standing in the Zhan Zhuang Full Circle for 30 minutes.
Key Points for Standing in the Stream the Fourth 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 4″ by bending your knees.
- Imagine that you are standing in a gently moving stream about waist level.
- Imagine that you are suspended by a string at the top of your head.
- Imagine that all your weight is sinking down to the soles of your feet.
- Raise your arms and hands out to your sides about waist level.
- Imagine that your wrists are being suspended by a rubber strap from behind your neck.
- Imagine that your hands are resting on two small balls floating in the stream.
Imagining the various balloons and straps 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 and straps 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 Fifth Position, Holding the Balloon in Front of Your Face. Stay tuned for a future post about the Fifth Position.
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-Renshi Mike Scaramozzino
These videos are based on exercises described in the book – The Way of Energy.