AFTER SIX MONTHS OF ZHAN ZHUANG PRACTICE
I want to share with you my small success. I always had difficulties in practicing Zhan Zhuang. Three Circle Stance was not a big problem – I could hold it for fifteen to twenty minutes - but to be honest it was for me almost impossible to hold the Horse-Riding Stance for more than one minute.
I felt immediately my heart beating fast, I was then panting out of breath and the quick increasing of pain in the legs became insupportable. As I develop a sort of allergic asthma in the last years in Germany (I am from Venezuela where climatic conditions are absolutely different), the practice of Zhan Zhuang was even more difficult for me, specially in winter time.
I was determined to overcome my weakness. So I first read all the comments, advice and recommendations Sigung gives in the website and also in his books about stance practice. Then I made a training schedule with gradual progression based Sigung's recommendations and when I felt confident enough that I could start with it I changed my training schedule to mainly Horse Riding Stance, holding my hands like in Three Circle Stance.
Somewhere Sigung calls that stance Holding a Ball. Until today it has been a wonderful "trip" with ups and downs but always when it became difficult I just re-read Sigung's words on the matter I found either the clues or the explanations of what I had to do/what it was happening to me. Everything was in a safe field.
Following Sigung's method for beginners I started "sitting" in the stance and counting my breathes until I could do no more, then I went into a chi flow and finished my training as we do in all our chi kung exercises. After two or three days I added one or two more breathes and then finished the exercise as usual. I did not care much about time in order to not put more pressure on my mind and lose the focus and relaxation I wanted to keep. I did this once a day on a daily basis.
Now six months have gone since I started the Zhan Zhuang training and I wanted to see how much I had achieved in terms of time. And to my surprise – not because I do not believe or trust Sigung's words but because the results go far beyond any expectation I could have had – I am holding the stance now for fifty minutes. That is really amazing. Achieving fifty minutes from barely one minute in six month of practice.
But it is not everything. The benefits of the Zhan Zhuang practice in my daily life are also beyond all expectations. I have much more energy than ever (I wake up before five in the morning and go to sleep around eleven in the afternoon) and can be active and in a good mood all the day without problem. I notice small changes in my character. I am more relaxed in any situation and enjoy the simple things of life like taking a shower, seeing my garden or eating a chocolate more than ever before.
And also my asthma has diminished to around 80 percent so that it is very rare when I need to take any medication against it. It is not that in my four previous years practicing chi kung I did not feel any progress. Of course I did but the progress experienced in these months has been huge in terms of benefits for such a short time.
I know that I still have a lot to improve but this is for me already awesome. I know also that my achievements are in our family very common and are also to be expected (this is why I recognize them as a small success) but it is always a life changing experience when it happens to oneself. In my case that little and personal success makes me feel so confident and proud of what I am (we are) doing in Shaolin Wahnam.
I just wish to continue my training and to be a dedicated Shaolin Wahnam student. I will check again in six months how long I hold the stance. Until then I will practice without thinking of it. Hopefully I have the willpower and the discipline to continue practicing on a daily basis.
I am so grateful to be part of this family.
Thank you all.
3rd October 2015
The above discussion is reproduced from the thread After Six Months of Zhan Zhuang Practice in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum.