I just completed 88 consecutive days of Standing Post Meditation (aka Zhan Zhuang). This graph shows my times in minutes, and this is NOT what I expected.
I thought my endurance and concentration would progressively climb. Instead, I found each day was unpredictable. About halfway through, I stopped chasing the minutes, and instead went for the “quality” of the set. The feeling of settling, releasing of tension without the collapse of structure. I learned there’s not much value in accomplishing a longer set if the state of being is not achieved. Even if I got to 10 min, what is 10 min of poor form and tension? So I learned to stop when I knew I was beginning to collapse, and that’s where you see the graph start to level. Standing meditation is taiji's answer to the fitness world's "plank" exercise - but even deeper! Taiji masters swear by standing meditation in cultivating martial ability. I do notice that since gaining familiarity with the "feeling" of Zhan Zhuang, in my form, I want to return to the same centered feeling during my moving form. I'm going to continue practicing Zhan Zhuang, along with the similar Wuji standing meditation - though not at the same daily frequency so that some days I can give all my thigh strength to forms on the off days. :)
I have also started teaching a new class at the Fitness 19 in San Bruno! By chance, I found a new fitness location opening up seeking group class instructors. What I learn when teaching is that people want so badly to move well and with stable form. I am less self conscious about observing students and pausing my lesson plan to make corrections to specific moves and postures.
I also feel the momentum of spring building up. I had a slow start to the Gregorian New Year, so the Lunar New Year was really when a lot of projects and my energy began to awaken. In my last post, I wrote about Grandmaster Chen Qingzhou's creative endeavors. And his story of making a living from a number of arts and trades lit a spark within me too.
Respect the Ancient. The most formative years of my upbringing occurred at a Thai Buddhist Temple where I was immersed in practice and ritual. For me, old wisdom never felt "old." It was always alive and present, not found or (re)discovered. So when I learned Grandmaster's lineage translated as Respect the Ancient Taiji - the idea of continuing an ancient art form felt like coming home. The idea struck so deep I wanted to know: Who takes care of the ancient and gives it life in our modern times? How can we impart it to the next generation? Who will be the masters of tomorrow? I came up with these hoodies to spread this message. The Ancient is not ancient.
As a first run, I'm holding a Pre-Order Sale. If these hoodies speak to you, check out styles and order here. Available through Sunday March 11. Share and spread the Ancient.