Tai Chi & Qigong Exercises : Qigong Horse Stance Exercise
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Tai Chi & Qigong Exercises : Qigong Horse Stance Exercise

October 19, 2019


One of the basic foundational exercises in
Qigong is what’s known as the horse stance, or what I like to affectionately call “hugging
a tree”. In this exercise, you really have to work within your own ability level. So
start small. You can tremendous gains from some simple, very shallow postures, and then
you can work your way up as you build that foundation of strength for your body. So,
the basic movements for this are we’re going to just go either shoulder-width apart, or
some people like to go a little bit further than shoulder-width apart. And you’ll see
why when we go a little bit lower with this. Your feet are parallel. So your feet are pointing
straight ahead. And then we’re just going to make like we’re sitting on a bench. We’re
just going to sit straight down, ever so slightly. So my knees are bent. My back is straight.
And then we’re going to put our hands; again, the elbows are slightly lower than our palms,
and our fingertips are almost touching. There’s a little space between our fingers. And we’re
relaxed. This is a great posture to be in while you’re practicing your belly-breathing.
So we can slowly do some belly-breathing that we explained on another segment, or we can
take this to some more advanced levels where we start to sit lower. And so what’s important
as we sit lower is that our back stays straight, still like we’re sitting on a very low stool,
now. And then if I look forward, I can still see my toes. My knees don’t expand out past
my toes. So we can take that to a larger exercise, which is similar to a deep knee bend, what
we call a danyu, where we crease down. And this helps to loosen up the sacrum and the
spine. Don’t try this if you have any kind of knee or low back problems, unless you’re
working with a Qigong instructor or a Tai Chi instructor who is familiar with these
exercises. For most people, just start with this. And within about a minute or two, you’ll
actually feel some muscles getting quite a workout. After five minutes, you’ll be sweating.

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  1. Spine needs to be kept vertical which requires a stretching of the lower back muscles so that one can squat without leaning forward. See my Shaolin Horse Stance video for what can be achieved with body-alignment. Taoist dantien breathing incorporating a movement of the mingmen during standing meditation/qigong will help with this, so that the lower spine can be stretched further as one deepens one's stance comfortably.

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