What is Wuji Posture, and why should I Practice it?
The Wuji Posture is a form of standing mindfulness meditation. It is the most basic and fundamental practice of almost all (if not all) of the Chinese internal arts. This simple practice, if given the diligence, will bring a number of benefits, to both mental and physical health. The benefits come from a host of things that are known to be beneficial themselves being incorporated into a single practice. These things are mindfulness meditation (which helps relieve stress and tame the mind), improved posture, and focused relaxation.
The Tension Cycle
Tension is the enemy in this practice. It’s clever and sneaky. When you try cornering it and eliminating it, it pops up somewhere else. Sometimes it feels like trying to play whack-a-mole. As you continue to relax both physically and mentally, your sensitivity may increase. You’ll eventually become aware of your own energy.
When you let go of of enough physical tension and continue the practice, you’ll notice that different sensations might start taking place. These sensations are from non-physical tension being released. This may be emotional or energetic. Energetic sensations may be hot or cold spots, or feelings of tingling. Emotional release is when you suddenly start experiencing a certain emotion without a any kind of trigger. So many people have a ton of unknown emotional tension, and it takes it’s toll on both physical and emotional health. You should simply allow yourself to feel the emotion and let it go just like all the other tension. This is very healing.
Interestingly enough, physical tension may re-appear in places you thought were already relaxed. Just keep approximate alignment, and continue to let go of all tension. There might be some tension that will simply take time to go away. I’m referring to the thighs in particular. For awhile, there may be burning in your quads, and that’s simply because those muscles aren’t used to the load. This is because your legs usually don’t support all of your weight. There are supporting muscles that help share the load. When you relax those other muscles, namely in the ab and pelvic regions, your quads are forced to pick up the slack. After practicing awhile, it will go away. This will also help build up some fundamental leg strength and improve blood circulation in the legs.
How to do it
Please be sure to read all of this before implementing it. Since there are different aspects to the practice and it’s not simply physical, I’ve taken the liberty of breaking up process into the different aspects. What you shouldn’t do is focus all on the physical, then the breath, then the mind. Try practicing all 3 at the same time. Do what you can, and work towards doing the rest. This is not necessarily in a sequential order. With the physical aspect, try to make sure alignments are correct first, then start the practice.
- Stand with feet parallel, big toes pointing forward
- Align outside of feet with either the hips or the shoulders
- Lift up the Baihui point
- Line up the Baihui and the Huiyin points along the same vertical pole.
- Sink/drop the Huiyin point
- Bend the knees, but only to the extent that the relaxation causes
- Never allow the knees to extend past the toes, which is only a concern if you’re practicing a low stance
- Center your balance onto the Yongquan points on the feet.
- Relax and allow entire body to fall down from the baihui, while maintaining structure
- Don’t go limp. Simply let go of the tension, allowing for a natural gentle stretch and lengthening to take the tension’s place.
- Relax everywhere, one place at a time. This includes everywhere across the core, the neck, head, arms, pelvis, and legs. Take the time to mentally explore your body.
- Especially relax the jaw. Relaxing the jaw directly relaxes the vagus nerve which helps calm down a significant part of the nervous system.
- When you’re done relaxing your body, suddenly relax twice as much
- Breathe with the diaphragm (the muscle that controls the lungs).
- Don’t force any aspect of the breath.
- Simply “intend” for the breath to become even in length with it’s inhales and exhales.
- There should be minimal pause between inhales and exhales, if any pause at all.
- Simply focus on the breath
- When (not if) you notice the mind starts wandering, forgive yourself and bring it back to the breath.
- Smile gently from the heart
- When the mind feels a bit calm, help relax your body by “breathing the tension out of your body”
- For instance, if your shoulder is tense, intensify your awareness of it on the inhale, and “let go/release it” on the exhale
- When your done relaxing, suddenly relax twice as much
Please feel free to google these points, a picture is very useful for locating them. Here are also some simple instructions on finding out precisely where these points lie.
Baihui (pronouned bi-hoy): Fold your ears forward. From the top tips of your ear lobes, follow the line straight to the top of your head. That is the baihui.
Huiyin (pronounced hoy-yin): This is also known as the perinium. It’s the point between the genitals and the anus.
Yongquan (pronounced yong-chuan): This is in the middle of the foot, just below the two “balls” of the foot. To ensure balance is centered on the point, try equalizing pressure between the two balls and the heel. If weight is kept too far forward for too long (something I have been guilty of), you can inflame your Achilles tendon.
- Don’t give up because of difficulty, it gets easier.
- Don’t be overwhelmed by the instructions above, just focus on what you can at a time.
- Don’t stress out too much about keeping the precise alignments, it’s okay to be approximate
- Don’t push yourself too far. If you’re in too much pain, raise your stance up a bit. If you’re too anxious and can’t stand still for any longer, acknowledge defeat and try again another time.
- You may notice that your posture might adjust a bit as you relax. This is okay and normal. For instance, as you relax your chest, shoulders, and arms, you may notice that your arms will seemingly float up a bit. Allow this and enjoy it.
- Shaking is also normal. Don’t try stopping it, it will pass on it’s own. Just try not to give it too much of your attention.