T'ai Chi's Standing Meditation

For quieting the mind, calming the body, and developing chi, nothing surpasses T'ai Chi's standing meditation practice. It can give you an even better (and more peaceful) kick-start to your day than that cuppa joe.

You can also use standing meditation to give yourself a little stress-free oasis in your day. (Try the bathroom stall at your office if you have to — who will be the wiser?) This is also a fine way to unwind at day’s end.

Any time is a meditative time, but dawn and dusk are the tops:

  • Dawn: Yang energy of the day begins to grow, and yin energy of the night begins to wane at dawn. Practicing meditation in the morning allows you to greet the day with a fresh, open, and relaxed mind, ready to face whatever the day brings.

  • Dusk: Yang energy dissipates, while yin energy grows as the sun sets. Practicing in the evening allows the accumulated mental sludge and sediment to settle or even drift away so that you can enjoy a peaceful evening.

The Standing Like a Tree forms are important calming stances and powerful developers of the mind and energy flow. Do your daily Standing Like a Tree meditation with several arm positions, or alternate one each day. Here are some variations to try (as depicted from left to right, below):

  • Place palms on table top: Hold your hands in front of your hips with the palms facing down and the elbows slightly bent. Fingers are facing forward and are spread slightly without being forced. You feel as if you have your palms resting on a hip-high table in front of you.

  • Embrace the tree: Hold your arms out in front of you with the elbows soft and rounded. A slight curve goes from your shoulder down to your fingertips. Imagine that you are hugging a tree very gently.

  • Frame your face: This is the most advanced position because it takes the most endurance to hold your arms up. Lift your hands up so that they frame your face. You kind of look like you are holding very large binoculars except your palms are turned slightly more outward and your fingers are softly extended.

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