Standing on Stake 站桩 is a frequently practiced fundamental of the oriental-styled internal martial arts, most popular in Taiji 太极 and Qigong 气功 institutions. The methodology originated from Daoist 道 philosophy, but its secular execution promotes various benefits that bring about vitality and wellness in individuals as a whole.
By utilizing this standing methodology together with regulated breathing, the practitioner will be required to stand upright while not stiffening the body 直而不僵. Concurrently, his/ her hands will be front-facing in the form of a comfortable ellipse situated at chest level as illustrated in figure 1. Awareness of the body and the channeling of all thoughts to diaphragm 丹田, also known as “Suspending the crown and sinking the Qi 虚领顶劲, 气沉丹田” will next come in play to help one stay grounded as body and mind unite as one.
A key benefit of Standing on Stake 站桩 would be to smoothen the flow of Qi 气 within the body through posture correction. With the correct posture, body energy centers (also known as acupoints 穴位) including Baihui 百会 and Huiyin 会阴, as shown in figure 2, are aligned. This alignment, which entails a slightly tucked tailbone and the suspension of the head, will subsequently allow the removal of circulation blockages and optimal intake of oxygen from the environment through better Qi 气 flow. These relaxes the joints, muscles and skeletal system as well as lowers blood pressure, therefore providing an avenue for destress to an individual and clears his/ her mind for focus.
A second benefit in Standing on Stake 站桩 would be the toning of leg muscles. The initial period of practising the methodology might result in the onset of intense muscle fatigue, coupled with frequent trembling in one into the training. These are due to the concentration of the body’s weight on the legs, mainly on the upper thighs. In turn, this will train up internal balance, reduce the risk of falls in the practitioner, build and maintain bone density while promoting the production of white blood cells that boosts immunity in him/her. With legs having the largest muscle mass in the body that requires constant supply of blood from the heart, the standing methodology is thus able to also able to act as a cardio exercise.
For Taiji 太极 practitioners, a third benefit of Standing on Stake 站桩 would be the beautification of various routines within the sport. Application of the methodology helped practitioners stay grounded in routines for better form and shape. By placing more work on the legs, routine movements in the upper body will tend to look more effortless. On the other hand, it allows practitioners to draw the ground’s energy for reinforced self-defence or attack in an adverse predicaments, where required.
With the above understanding, it is utmost important for any practitioner to stop procastinating and start practising. As they say, practise makes perfect!
Sourced from: YMAA, Dan Djurdjevic, Wujifa Liangong & The Theory and Practice of Taiji Qigong