Ancient Taoism in Contemporary
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RITSUZEN - ZHAN ZHUANG
Ritsu Zen - Zhan zhuang (zhan - to stand, zhuang - wooden pole), are a kind of exercises in static positions.
They can be divided into two groups: jianshen zhuang (health zhuang) and jiji zhuang (combat zhuang).
Learning of TaiKi, taikiken, yiquan (dachengquan) always starts from the "health" positions - jianshen zhuang. There are not only standing, but also sitting and reclining positions. Stress is put mainly to relax and tranquility. The state of mental and physical relaxation and comfort is gradually deepening. Following, also health is improving. Different positions and visualisations can be used, according to adepts health and physical condition.
The chengbao zhuang is most popular position. It will be described here in short:
Taikiken - Kination
The spontaneous way
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with toes lightly outwards. Knees bent slightly. Arms hanging loosely. Head should be kept straight. Look into space far in front of you, or slightly above the line of eyesight (it helps concentration). But eyes can also be slightly closed. Mouth slightly opened, but breathe through your nose. Tranquilize your mind and relax your body. A slight smile should appear on your face ("si xiao fei xiao" -"like smile not smile"). Slowly raise your arms to shoulders level, bending them, as if embracing a big, a little flattened balloon. Palms of hands (accupoints lao gongs) directed toward body, about one feet or little more apart. Fingers apart and slightly bent. Distance between finger tips - about 3 fist-widths. Elbows slightly dropping down, but at the same time pointing outwards. Keeping such a position needs some effort, but you should avoid using excessive force. To help keeping relax, you can imagine that your arms (wrists, elbows) are resting on something (for example on balls, floating on the water surface). Keep the balloon lightly, not letting it "escape", but not pushing too strongly, in order not to "damage" it.
During the exercise, to deepen the state of relax and tranquility, you can try to imagine, that you are in beautiful surroundings, smelling flowers aroma, hearing birds singing, feeling light breeze. You can imagine that your body is submerged in pleasantly warm water - you feel light and gradually more and more relaxed. Imagining that water is lightly massaging your body can be helpful. Other often used visualization is imagining that you stand under shower and water pleasantly warms up and softens body. Directing attention to various parts of body, successively from top of head to soles of feet, and consciously relaxing them is also often used method.
We promote to do your standing zen meditation in free nature.
We prefer training in the forest, but training near a lake or at the seaside will be fine too.
Ritsuzen as dynamic meditation exercises can be done standing, sitting and reclined.
© MARTRIX org. 2002-2023
Modified March 2023
Photographs: N. Kotrchova Illustrations: Rinus Schulz