Qigong Basic Positions
Stand with feet apart at shoulder width, toes pointing forward or slightly outward. Bend the knees and sit down slightly, weight centered firmly on the soles of the feet. Keep the head and spine erect from top to tail, chest empty (i.e. relaxed and slightly concave, never stuck out) and stomach full and relaxed. Looking straight ahead, eyelids relaxed. Rest the tip of the tongue on the upper palate behind the front – teeth, let the mouth hang slightly open. Inhale and exhale through your nose breathing completely naturally. Arms hang loosely by your side palms soft, fingers gently curved and slightly apart. The body should be perfectly poised, relaxed but not slack, joints unlocked, as if the body is suspended, hanging from the top of the head by a string. This is the basic standing posture. Stand like this for up to five minutes relaxing the whole body and collecting your thoughts before assuming one of the following positions:
Holding the Balloon
Assume the basic standing posture. Raise the arms to shoulder level keeping them curved as if holding a balloon between them. Keep the fingers apart and slightly curved, palms pointing in and slightly down. Hands are at shoulder distance apart, and roughly three fists distance from chest. Elbows should he slightly below the level of the wrists and shoulders. The shoulders must be relaxed, not hunched, with a slight sense of outward stretching, so the chest feels open, neither sticking out nor constricted. The arms should also have a slight sense of inward force, as if not letting the balloon drop, but without any physical tension. This posture is most beneficial for those without any particular illness to strengthen the constitution, prevent illness and continue to promote health.
Holding the Belly
Assume the basic standing posture, but this time raise the arms only as high as the navel. Arms and hands maintain the same curvature as the. “Holding the Balloon Stance,” but the hands are a little further apart with the palms facing slightly upwards as if supporting a large belly between the fingertips, the fingers of each hand point toward the opposite knee. Keep the fingers separated as if small balls are resting between them.
Standing in the Stream
Assume the basic standing posture but now you are standing in a stream with the current flowing towards you. Hands are raised to waist height out to either side, palms down, fingers apart, parallel to the surface of the stream, as if pressing down on two balls bobbing in the water. Imagine that you are preventing the two balls from floating away. Keep the shoulders relaxed and imagine that your wrists are supported by an invisible strap that runs from the back of your neck. Imagine that all of your weight is sinking down to the soles of your feet.
Holding the balloon in front of your face
Assume the basic standing posture, sink down a little lower with your back straight, lightly sit on to an imaginary ball without letting your knees extend beyond your toes. Keep three key points in line, the top of your head, the Tan Tien and the middle of your feet. Your hands hold an imaginary balloon in front of your face pressing gently outward but without any tension in the muscles, your fingers are roughly at eye level they are never higher than your head. Imagine your wrists are supported by a strap running around the back of your neck. Do your best to relax your upper back and hips.