Monday, October 8, 2007

Meditation Postures

The first step in the practice of Qigong is to maintain a correct posture. It is important that the posture is natural and relaxed so as to allow for smooth breathing and to help lead the mind into a relaxed and quiet state. Each posture naturally has different physiological characteristics and therefore will have a different healing effect on the body according to the needs of the practitioner.

The most common postures are:

Normal Sitting: Sit upright on a chair, feet flat on the ground, legs slightly apart and torso at right angles to the thighs. Let the eyes and mouth rest gently closed with the tongue lightly placed on the upper palate. Assume a slight, unforced smile.

Cross-Legged: Sit upright on a hard bed or platform. Legs should be crossed naturally with the hands resting in front of the lower abdomen.

Half-Lotus: Sit upright on a firm bed or platform. The left foot rests on the right thigh. The right foot is under the left knee. Rest the hands on the knees.

Supine: Lie on one's back on a firm bed, with a low pillow. The upper body and legs should be straight. Arms should rest comfortably at one's sides.

Sideways Lying: Lie on one's side on a firm bed, with a low pillow. The upper body is straight and the legs are slightly bent. Rest the upper hand on the hip and lower hand, palm up, on the pillow.

Standing: Stand erect, feet parallel and apart at about shoulder width with toes pointing slightly inward. Bend knees slightly, hold in the chest and with the arms hanging comfortably at the sides, raise the forearms so that they are parallel to the floor in front of you about one foot apart. Palms can face down, up or towards each other. Keep the fingers separated and curved as if lightly holding a ball. Eyes and mouth are lightly closed with the tongue touching the upper palate. Place a natural slight smile on the face.

Walking: Stand quietly for about two to three minutes. Take a pace forward with the left foot. The heel should touch first; the body and hands swaying to the right as you move forward. Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. When the weight is fully on the left foot, take a step forward with the right foot (body swaying to the left this time). The palms should be parallel to the floor with the fingers facing forward. The palms "collect Qi" as the arms swing forward and "release Qi" as they swing backwards.

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