After you can easily stand in the Second Position, Holding the Balloon, for 20 minutes then you can start learning and working on the Third Position, Holding Your Belly. This is the third 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 Third Position, Holding Your Belly for 5-10 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 Third Position, Holding your Belly, until you reach 20 minutes in the Third Position. This Third Position is actually a little easier to hold than the Second Position because the arms are held lower. Take your time and just do as much as is comfortable each day and little by little add another minute or so until you can hold the Third 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 Holding Your Belly the Third 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 holding a large balloon against your belly.
- Hold your arms, wrists and hands in a gently curved position as if cradling the large balloon.
- Hold your hands roughly in front of your hips, palms facing inward.
- Imagine that your wrists are being suspended by a rubber strap from behind your neck.
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 Fourth Position, Standing in the Stream. Stay tuned for a future post about the Fourth Position.
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-Renshi Mike Scaramozzino
These videos are based on exercises described in the book – The Way of Energy.