by Roger Jahnke
There are numerous practices that help you attune your awareness so you can discover the subtle energy of Qi—the energy of your life force. One of the most ancient is Yi Quan, a foundation method for cultivating Qi and accessing benefits for mind, body, and spirit.
Yi Quan means “mind skill” or “mind boxing,” as you must “box” with the mind to get it to quiet. Yi Quan standing meditation benefits your posture and balance, increases inner body awareness, and builds stamina.
While outwardly there is no movement, inwardly the deep relaxation of the Qigong state triggers both physiological and psychological benefits. It strengthens the mind-body connection, reduces stress, promotes serenity, and improves circulation, enhancing your overall health.
Yi Quan Standing Meditation
1. Begin by aligning your body in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) with your feet hip-width apart. When you initiate your practice—whether it’s Qigong, Tai Chi, or yoga—by creating conscious alignment, it sets the tone and intention for your experience.
2. Stand with your shoulders relaxed, arms at your sides. Knees are slightly bent, the bowl of the pelvis is upright, and the head balances gently on top of the spine and shoulders.
3. Imagine that, as you stand in Tadasana, you are opening to the influences of Heaven, pouring down through you like a healing waterfall while the grounding influences of Earth rise through your feet.
4. Don’t try to do anything during this practice. Just notice what you feel in your body without creating thoughts or judgments. If you start to feel uncomfortable, focus on your area of discomfort and adjust your posture, moving gently and breathing easily. Be aware of your attitude toward your practice and your body, and treat your body with loving-kindness.
The Tao Te Ching says, “Like a lake, the heart must be calm and quiet, having great depth beneath it.” Yi Quan practice calms the heart as well as the mind and allows you to create and cultivate inner stillness.
Start with five minutes of Yi Quan practice a day, and build your endurance gradually. You might notice that your body begins to move spontaneously while doing this standing meditation practice. Allow the spaciousness of the sky and the solidity of the earth to meet within you, creating a powerful charge of life force that allows the body to release and dissolve any tension that arises.
Roger Jahnke, OMD, is a doctor of Chinese medicine and director of the Institute of Integral Qigong and Tai Chi. He is the author of The Healer Within and The Healing Promise of Qi.