Why Wuji Stance is important to Your Qigong Practice.
Michael Scaramozzino states, "Wu Chi (Wuji) standing meditation is used as the first position in many Qigong (Ch’i Kung, pronounced Chee Gong) exercises where you stand in relaxed stillness in both body and mind, like the stillness of the void. It’s the first step in the journey of a thousand miles along the path of Qigong. This simple starting position is both more important and more complicated than it looks. Wu Chi is the beginning position that creates the optimum conditions for Qigong practice. When properly done it helps cultivate and flow your Qi (or Ch’i, pronounced Chee), which means vital energy."
According to qigong instructor Chris Shelton, “proper body alignment is called the Wu Ji Posture, where “wu” means none and “ji” means extreme. Hence this is a way of standing or sitting that has no extremes. It is sometimes called the “emptiness” posture. It is commonly used for beginning and ending movements, and it can also be used alone, as a standing meditation. Proper body alignment provides the ways and means for smooth energetic flow.”
Pam Dye states, “Some people refer to Wuji as the quiet time before a form starts and after the form ends. It is the ultimate state of relaxation. Standing in a meditative state of mind with the body properly aligned can help increase chi circulation and open up energy channels. Max Yan and Jude Smallwood say “Taiji comes from Wuji and returns to Wuji and is represented by the center circle within the large circle of the Tai Chi symbol.”
Wuji may be used by beginners as a simple Qigong exercise, in and of itself. It is also used by advanced qigong practitioners as a starting position to attain the proper posture, alignment and relaxation before performing other Qigong exercises. It may also be used as an ending position, as a sort of cool down for your circulating qi, where yin and yang merge, returning to their original state of Wuji, or no polarity.
According to Michael Scaramozzino, “the most important overall point in Wu Chi (Wuji) standing meditation is to RELAX. Your entire body must be relaxed to allow your Qi to flow without obstruction. Tension stops the flow of Qi. Both your body and mind must also be relaxed in order to sense, feel and direct your Qi without distraction.”
Here are the steps to achieving the Wu Ji Posture:
1. Stand with your feet approximately shoulder-width apart. Feet facing comfortably forward.
2. Feel your weight pressing down evenly, all the way through to the soles of your feet.
3. Allow your knees to relax with a slight bend, do not lock them.
4. Bring the hips slightly forward rolling the sacrum or tailbone such that it points down towards the floor. This subtle movement lengthens the spine and opens the Ming Men, located on the spine opposite the lower Dantian.
5. Feel like the top of the head is being lifted upwards, elongating the spine.
6. Bring the chin slightly down and in.
7. Relax and allow the shoulders to drop down and come slightly forward bring your arms slightly in front and opening the back.
8 Breathe slowly, smoothly, evenly, and deeply through your nose, allowing the abdomen to expand and contract with each inhalation and exhalation, like a bellows, drawing the breath down to your lower abdomen..
9. Focus on the breath and let all other thoughts move off and dissipate. Don't fight with them, just let them drift away like clouds in the sky
According to Matthew Cohen, the five benefits of Wuji are:
The deep relaxation in this meditation stance provides clarity and a renewed sense of focus as tension tightly held in the body and mind begin to dissolve. Like ice melting to water, water evaporating to steam, it leaves the practitioner with more energy and vigour to channel into whatever task is at hand.
Wuji develops a unique strength and integration of the body. The body, breath and mind are working as one without thought or obstruction of energy so Qi flows freely. This type of strength is at once obvious and mysterious. Obvious in that moving a person or a couch becomes easier. Mysterious in a much more sublime and subtle way; a glass falls from the cupboard and you react without thought and catch it. This right action is something that often comes with long Wuji practices.
The slow, primordial breathing promotes a calm nervous system by bringing the body into a parasympathetic (rest & digest) state, promoting alkaline blood, more nutrients to the organs, greater awareness, and lung and heart health. It also assists in regulating and harmonising destructive emotions, and may allow us to access deeper if not higher states of conscience awareness.
4. Healthy Bones
Wuji, Qigong and Neijia (internal martial arts) are very effective in promoting more bone density. This helps prevent fractures, sports injuries, and slip and fall injuries common among the elderly. Standing and moving very slowly has been proven to strengthen bones up to three times that of the average American adult male.
It is a wonderful way to connect with oneself and to connect with nature. It is a great practice to take outside and stand in a park, under a tree, in the sun or rain and decompress.
Just be, take 20 minutes just to be still, connected, strong and receptive.”