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Like Yi Jin Jing (YJJ), Zhan Zhuang (ZZ) is a Chinese qigong exercise that is usually translated to mean standing post, or stand like tree. Qigong, very simply defined, is a series of Chinese physical movement exercises that emphasize breath control, vital energy, movement, and improved health*. But, unlike YJJ, in ZZ there is very little, or ideally, no external movement at all–you just stand still.
Having read that previous sentence, you might be thinking, “Well…that’s pretty easy, I do that every day…” No, not like this you don’t.
Yes, stand still. Don’t move. Don’t fidget. Don’t squirm. Don’t…move. That’s it, but there is much more to it. When you follow the method, you’ll begin to learn to relax your muscles on a deeper level and rely on proper structure and not tension to hold you up. At the same time, as you begin to connect with and manage the subtle energy inside, believe it or not, if you stick with it, new strength will emerge.
But don’t under estimate the seemingly simple exercise. You will sweat, you will tremble, you will ache, and you will get a good workout. With diligent effort, one might experience increased strength, greater awareness of self, and improved grounding, and calming centeredness. Along with this, various internal organs and systems may also be strengthened. These benefits are not instant, to be sure, but are cultivated slowly through correct and consistent practice and patience.
I’d heard of “standing post” training a from a fellow martial artist, a former instructor, and through various online articles on martial arts, but I didn’t really give it much thought. It wasn’t until I entered winter training mode a few years ago that I, quite by accident, began exploring ZZ. That year, one of my winter training goals was to learn more about internal energy methods, so in mid December I ordered this book, The Way of Energy (see below), not realizing fully what it was about. I’m pretty sure I read the description and reviews, but when the book arrived, I was more than a little surprised that it was a deeper exploration of something I’d only heard about in passing.
As I flipped through and scanned the what, how, and why of ZZ, I became intrigued and excited to give it a try. The author does a great job explaining the finer details and emphasizes the need to take your time and not rush development. Some may find the need to practice certain exercises for several months if not a full year before moving to the next level off-putting or unnecessary. And, of course they’d be wrong. Following the prescribed training plan is the only way to reap the benefits; there are no shortcuts.
Almost immediately upon experiencing my first time “standing like a tree”, I was hooked. I recognized something simple yet powerful in this exercise. As I continued to train, I hit the milestones the author described and eventually began to notice positive changes. One of the most important for me personally is greater sense of muscle control, as in which are being used and how efficiently are they being used for the tasks at hand. Along with that, I feel stronger internal body connection and energetic flow. And, standing in an unnecessarily long line at the grocery store, or airport is now much less of an annoyance and more of an opportunity to train!
While the author recommends practicing outside under a tree, one can practice indoors and still make great progress. The few times I have stood like a tree while standing by a tree have been amazing. Whether indoors or out, this is a vital part of my morning routine.
You don’t have to be martial arts to practice ZZ. If you’re curious, just click the link above, take a look at the book, or if you’re fortunate to find a good teacher, contact them and give it a go. If you stay with it, you will be glad you did!
You can also find other ZZ books and resources on our Zhan Zhuang page.
Wishing you the good, better, best of what’s possible!
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Wishing you the good, better, best of what’s possible!
Be sure to subscribe below.
Yes, summer is finally, officially, here! But, no matter how long or hot it actually may be, summer never, never, ever seems to last long enough. Since that’s always the case, let’s do all we can to enjoy to the full this season of sun and fun. In order to do that, in order to help make this your best and healthiest* summer yet, be sure to have these seven essentials on hand:
These days, everyone knows that if you are going to spend any appreciable amount of time in the sun, you need to wear sunscreen. And, everyone knows not all sunscreens are created equal. Not only does the Sun Protection Factor, or SPF, matter, but what’s in the sunscreen may matter just as much, if not more. You’ll want to choose a sunscreen made of natural ingredients and free of suspect chemicals such as parabens and phthalates, and nano-particles. Such harsh chemicals may cause or contribute to long-term health issues*, so please avoid them.
If you need healthier alternatives, your Martial – Fitness Minimart is here to help! Visit our new Sunscreen page for organic, paraben-free, nano-particle-free, better for the environment options. Get what you need, so you can enjoy your time in the sun!
If you’re still wearing that old suit from last summer or the summer before, it’s time to upgrade. Check out our Women’s Swimwear page for a wide assortment of hot bikinis and sweet swimsuits. Be sure to take advantage of Rosewe’s crazy-generous discounts too!
It goes without saying, but I’m gonna say it anyway: drink lots of water. Whether you’re working or playing in the summer heat, or working out or playing in a cushy club’s A/C, drink good quality water. Then drink some more. Our bodies are mostly water, so even a “touch” of dehydration can negatively affect your mental focus, emotional capacity, and physical performance.
When you’re sweating, you’re also leaking precious minerals that you’ll need to replace. Consider adding Hydration and Mineral Support aids to your water. I’ve compiled several great options for you that are free of dangerous and unnecessary additives.
If water is just not your thing and you prefer something with a little taste, throw in natural / non-GMO / organic fruit or vegetable slices for a hint of flavor:
We’ve also got you covered if you need a handy, BPA-free, or stainless steel Water Bottle.
Let’s faces it, we humans can raise a stink, especially during summer. One doesn’t have to be super-active to sweat, and that sweat feeds and fuels the bacterial hoards that cause body odor. That’s just how it is, and while it’s natural and normal, it can be unpleasant.
The market is overflowing with body wash and deodorants that can help, but most of them contain potentially dangerous chemicals like sulfates, parabens, silicone, artificial fragrances, and petroleum products. Thankfully, there are many healthier alternatives with natural ingredients that do not contain these chemicals, and some of the best are found on our Deodorant page.
Why is soap an essential for summer? If you have kids, work with kids, or ever was a kid, you know why. While some dirt won’t hurt and is actually good for you, you’re gonna wanna wash your hands at least a few times this summer. Wash up after a day in the garden, or working on the lawn mower. Lather up after fishing, or playing with said kids. Clean up after enjoying an evening cookout on the deck with friends.
Like the previous essential item, you’ll want to watch out for the nasty chemicals that could compromise your health*. Fortunately, as with the previous item, our page, Bar and Liquid Soap, has the healthier options you’ll appreciate.
Good healthy snacks make for a good day. A good day makes for a good week, and a string of good weeks makes for a fantastic summer. See, your summer hinges on your choice of snacks! Good thing we’ve got a whole bunch of good, organic, non-GMO snacks to choose from here:
If you’re going to grill, go all the way. If you’re going to grill, grill grass-fed beef, pasture-raised poultry, or wild-caught seafood. Sure, hotdogs are cheap and easy, but why waste time, energy, and money on cheap and easy pseudo-food filled with artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives?
No, go all-in and enjoy the natural full flavor, and the nutrients, of High-Quality Beef, Poultry, and Seafood, and steak!
Summertime by DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince
Cruel Summer by Bananarama
Summer Breeze by Seals & Croft
Summer Breeze (Tsuper Tsunami remix)
Summer Law #1701-E: one must listen to or view a minimum of one of the above songs / videos at least twice per summer, or else.
There you go. Be sure to visit each page, browse the aisles, and grab your summer essentials.
Please share, share, share, the Martial – Fitness Minimart, and like, like, like its pages and posts. Oh, and find us on Facebook too.
Now go and make it a great summer!
Ms. Susan Treadway, an addict in recovery, authored the following guest post. She uses a holistic approach to sobriety to stay on a successful path and believes adopting even a few holistic methods can help anyone struggling with addiction.
Susan wants everyone to know that you don’t have to be a hippie to embrace holistic wellness – this concept is simply about focusing on your entire sense of well-being rather than just one part. She hopes her website, rehabholistics.com, will inspire anyone who has struggled with addiction to incorporate holistic practices into their own self-care routine.
Everyone has their own unique fitness goals. Whatever your personal goals are, if you work hard in the gym but don’t make time for other self-care practices, you won’t achieve overall wellness. Finding balance in our busy lives is a challenge, but incorporating regular self-care just may be the solution.
Fitness does much more than help us achieve our personal goals. Being active keeps your body healthy, while also warding off stress and anxiety. These are the main components of any self-care practice — giving your body and mind some TLC. Fitness is only one way to achieve self-care, though. You also need rest, relaxation, and good nutrition. Doing these things should be an ongoing process that you practice every day. Adding self-care to your to-do list may feel like an impossible task, but these ideas will help make it easier.
Eating a balanced diet is one of the best things we can do for our bodies. One way to make nutrition more convenient is to find a meal delivery or grocery service in your area. These services eliminate the time spent planning and shopping, and many also offer low-calorie meals, so they make eating a balanced diet much easier to fit into your busy life.
Another self-care must when it comes to nutrition is to always eat breakfast. Whether you grab a protein shake to take on the go or you put together a healthy breakfast at night to have ready the next day, eating breakfast sets you up to feel your best all day long. And when it comes to fixing dinner, electric pressure cookers can easily and quietly help you create simple, delicious meals such as mac and cheese, BBQ pulled pork, and tomato soup, just to name a few.
Proper nutrition can also be easily obtained by eating the right amount of food daily. However, this might be difficult for those who are trying to manage their hunger. While eating foods high in protein and fiber are solid solutions, appetite suppressants also exist to help with hunger control. If you are planning to go with the latter option, it’s important to proceed with caution and do your research first to find the one that’s best for you. Keep in mind too that some appetite suppressants can interact with certain medications, and some contain caffeine, which can lead to feeling jittery and uncomfortable.
We all have our daily routines, from waking up in the morning and getting ready for our day to how we relax and unwind before bed. To make self-care stick as a way of life, look at how you can incorporate it into those routines with simple rituals. Remember that these rituals aren’t about the end result. Instead, it’s about the process of doing things that are good for you. Consider trying these ideas:
When you feel like there is simply no time to take care of yourself, the best thing you can do is stop spending time on things that aren’t good for you. Mind Body Green calls these “low-value habits,” and they can be anything from time spent watching TV or engaging in social media to checking emails and making small talk. Reducing these distractions is in itself an act of self-care, and it frees up your time for what truly matters.
Just like everything else in life, your schedule is all about balance. If you struggle to make self-care practices stick, try writing them down in a planner just as you would for appointments. At the same time, Bustle reminds us that we should also leave room for spontaneity. Balancing out your schedule helps make self-care a priority, but it also means allowing for fun and trying new things.
Self-care is truly the key to leading a more balanced life. It helps us live more fully, and it’s necessary to see fitness results. Most importantly, self-care doesn’t have to be a chore. When you make these rituals part of your new routine, it no longer feels like something you have to do and becomes a part of your daily life.
Best to you!
But if you are human, you are resilient, you are strong enough to get through it.
Don’t run from it, face it.
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