February 27, 2024

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The Qigong Starting Position

When beginning a series of qi gong exercises, or at points between other exercises, it is common practice to use the following position, called Wu Ji. This position lets the practitioner refocus their energy and feel balanced again before moving on to the next exercise. As an initial exercise, it lets the practitioner become aware of their body and in touch with how they are feeling. Awareness is directed away from the surroundings and to the body, away from the external and to the internal, so that the student gains a new sense of themselves and their body.

But the position is more than just physical in the practice of qi gong. It is also rather spiritual in nature. It is thought to be a way to connect the physical with the mental and the spiritual. It is believed to be a way to reach the access point to the “primordial” state, to the nothingness from which we came and to which we will eventually return. It is in a way, a kind of physical meditation. While performing this pose, the practitioner should empty their mind of any thoughts, cares or concerns, and instead focus on the sensations that they are experiencing in their body. Do not be concerned if you find that your thoughts are straying from your body and what it is feeling. This is a natural occurrence and the way that we normally function in life. But you are retraining your mind to focus its attention on the body, and doing so takes discipline. You will improve at your ability to maintain your concentration as you practice, just like with any other skill that you learn.

Start by standing with your feet touching, but if this is not possible, it is still OK to stand with the feet about a foot apart. Feet should be firmly planted and kept pressed flat upon on the floor with the toes pointing directly forward. Legs should be strong and firm, but the knees should be slightly bent in order to prevent the inhibition of the circulation. Your arms should be relaxed and hang gently to your sides. Both of your wrists and hands should also hang loosely by your sides. Your palms should be turned so that they are facing the tops of your thighs.

Balance and center your weight and relax the entire body from the head to the feet. Focus your attention on each major muscle group and watch it relax, moving from downwards until the body feels solid and heavy with relaxation. Now relax your face muscles, but keep your head erect. The flat of the top of your head should be parallel to the ground and you should keep your eyes focused straight ahead of you. Allow your mouth to relax with your lips slightly open. Breathe deeply and evenly, inhaling through your nose and out through your mouth. If you are a student of yoga, you will probably recognize this pose as being similar to the Mountain Pose, or Tadasana. If it helps you to imagine yourself as a mountain, than do so. You want to feel strong, silent and overall, relaxed.