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“Know the honorable,
but do not shun the disgraced:
embracing the world as it is.
If you embrace the world with compassion,
then your virtue will return you to the uncarved block.”
– Daodejing, Chapter 28
In the Daoist creation stories first there was the Great Nothingness, the Void, the Dao. From the Dao came Wuji. The “uncarved block” in the Daodejing chapter above is referring to Wuji. It is the blank slate. Sometimes it’s described as the moment just before the Big Bang.
From the void came Wuji symbolized by a circle.
Then, with movement came Taiji, or what is more commonly known as Yin/Yang. This symbolizes the complimentary aspects of nature. Light and dark, hot and cold, movement and stillness. Inherent in this is the understanding that each contains the other. Within stillness is movement, and movement dwells within stillness.
And from Taiji came the ten thousand things. In other words, all that exists.
Wuji Stance in qigong practice is symbolic of that moment after the emptiness of Dao but before the movement of Taiji. The stillness that precedes creation.
Here are the points to remember when standing in Wuji:
Feet: Your feet are your connection to the earth. It’s wonderful if you can practice outside with bare feet. Depending on the time of year this may not be possible. You don’t want your feet to be cold. So if you have to wear shoes, at least be sure they are comfortable shoes with flat heels and plenty of room for your toes to spread out.
Your toes should be pointed straight forward. It is a good idea to look down and make sure that is where they are. Sometimes when we begin a body awareness practice we think we know where everything is but that is not necessarily the case. Your feet may feel like they are pointed forward but if you look down at them you may be surprised to see they are actually pointed out to the side.
You will want to shift your weight so it is more toward the front of the feet. Of course you don’t want your heels to leave the floor but the majority of your weight should be on the balls of your feet.
There are systems of qigong that teach distributing the weight evenly across the whole foot. I suggest giving both instructions a try and see which feels right to you. You may find that shifting your weight to the front takes the strain off your lower back. The main reason for shifting the weight to the front is by doing so the toes are spread out. As the bones of the toes spread out the points on the bottoms of the feet, the Bubbling Well cavities (Yongquan), open up and we are better able to receive qi from the earth. These are called Bubbling Well because qi is constantly bubbling up from the earth.
Knees: The knees should be slightly bent. It’s important that your knees do not go forward past your toes. When bending the knees bring the hips back as if you were getting ready to sit in a chair. You should be able to look down and see your toes.
Pelvis: Imagine that your pelvis is a bowl. You don’t want it to tip forward or backward. If your low back is aching while you stand, the bowl of the pelvis is most likely tipped to spill forward. Try tucking the tailbone slightly and you will find the right position.
Anal Sphincter: Two of the main channels of qi (the Governing Channel and the Conception Channel) running through the body meet at the perineum. To prevent qi from leaking at this point tighten the anal sphincter while at the same time relaxing the buttocks and perineum. This may seem impossible at first but you’ll be surprised at how quickly you’ll learn to do this. With practice of course.
Shoulders: Down and relaxed. Not back. You are not standing at attention. You don’t want to push your chest out. The arms hang at the sides relaxed as well.
Head: The crown of the head is the point slightly toward the back just before the skull curves down. Imagine there is a string at this point pulling upward. This brings the head into alignment with the top of the spine rather than jutting forward.
Eyes: Eyes are open but gaze is unfocused.
Tongue: Rest the tongue behind the upper front teeth. The Governing and Conception Channels meet at this point as well. Placing the tongue here seals the connection and completes this circle within the body.
Breath: Breathe into the abdomen. Allow your body to expand and contract at the abdomen, the sides of the body and the low back. So the entire core area breathes.
Summary: Toes forward and weight shifted to balls of feet. Knees slightly bent. Pelvis Level. Anal Sphincter tight and raised. Shoulder and arms relaxed. Crown of head up. Eyes open and relaxed. Tongue behind upper front teeth. Breath into abdomen.
Even the summary sounds complicated! Wuji Stance is harder than it looks and easier than it sounds. Stand daily for as long as is comfortable gradually building up to more time.
The benefits of this practice are numerous. Obviously your legs will get very strong. Qi will begin to flow more smoothly so you will have more energy for the day. Also, Wuji Stance will help you form a deep connection to the earth, grounding you and bringing you more firmly into your body.
write by JASWANT BRAR