Friday, January 30, 2015

The Significance of Discomfort In Zhan Zhuang Training - Part 4


Now we move on to what may be some of the most difficult problems that we tackle in Zhan Zhuang training - Internal Organ issues. The first thing we must do is determine where our problem lies in terms of the theory of ‘Zhang Fu’ which is the breakdown of paired Yin and Yang Organs. The five Yin Organs are considered to be the Liver, Heart, Spleen, Lungs and Kidneys. The five Yang Organs consist of the Gall Bladder, Small Intestine, Stomach, Large Intestine and Bladder. The Yin Organs are viewed as ‘solid’ and the Yang Organs as ‘hollow.’

By definition, Internal Organ problems can next be divided into two categories: Shi - Excess or Xu - Deficiency. A simplified example is Blood Pressure. High blood pressure is normally an Excess imbalance, whereas its opposite, low blood pressure tends to fall into the Xu or Deficiency category.

Clearly determining in which Organ the problem lies and if it is a Deficient or Excess condition is paramount when utilizing Standing Meditation to address the difficulty. In terms of Zhan Zhuang, as a general rule we could say that for Excess conditions we must reduce or ‘empty out’ what is too much and for Deficient conditions we will augment and reinforce where there is insufficiency or not enough energy.

As part of our initial procedure we must now look at what are called the ‘Root’ and ‘Branch.’ This analogy refers to the elements of causation and the manifestations that they present. And this is where things can get a little tricky. Let’s take shortness of breath for example. This, like many of the ‘Branch’ manifestations can have more than one cause or ‘Root.’ Hypertension or High Blood Pressure can cause this effect but so can its opposite, Low Blood Pressure. Of course, this ‘Branch’ can also be caused by Lung or Kidney imbalances as well. So getting to the actual ‘Root’ of the problem in a number of cases may require the help of a Chinese medicine professional. On the other hand, the cause or ‘Root’ of many ‘Branch’ conditions is often quite self-evident.

In addition to physical causes, according to the Taoist and Chinese medicine model, non-physical causes can also have a profound effect on the human body. One of the best illustrations of this is our emotions. Certain negative emotions or even beliefs held for a long time can clearly effect the Internal Organs. Severe or prolonged Anger constrains and damages the Liver. Chronic Impatience can restrict the Heart and inevitably the blood vessels. Excessive Worry can weaken the Spleen and trigger a variety of digestive problems. The Lung function can become diminished from deep sadness or grief, resulting in ‘shallow’ breathing. Fear, the most basic of all the negative emotions and the root of all the others, is in the province of the Kidneys. For example, in combat, intense and sudden fear can cause some people, especially those who are not familiar with it to have to involuntarily empty their bladder. Being constantly afraid, like being always afraid of what life presents, can, through the Kidneys, cause a weakening of one’s constitution and shorten their life-span. 

All that said, once we have determined the ‘Root’ cause and are aware of the ‘Branch’ manifestations, its time to use Zhan Zhuang along with this knowledge and the body’s innate wisdom to begin to improve or correct the imbalance.

One of the best methods to start with is the ‘singled-pointed’ focusing of our feeling-awareness and consciousness within the Low Dan Tien and holding it there throughout our entire session to the best of our ability. While this is a well known procedure in Standing Meditation, its power to heal should not be overlooked. By its very nature this method gathers, cultivates and grows our Qi or vital energy and as such, is an excellent starting point for almost all Deficiency conditions - which result from insufficient available energy. The general principle is; as we add to the ‘volume’ of our Qi with this technique, the body, using its own innate wisdom will automatically direct the overflow to the needed area.(s) Repeating this practice daily over several months will usually manifest as an increase in overall energy and/or improvement in the suspect ‘Root’ Organ or body system.

While the above procedure is an obvious fit for conditions whose root is Deficiency, it is also the essential starting place for many Excess conditions as well. Let’s say our problem is an Excess type of root or branch symptom in the chest or upper torso. Focusing on the Low Dan Tien by its nature will mobilize and draw downward a certain amount of the Qi from the upper part of the body. For mild conditions, this alone may be enough to relieve feelings of fullness in the chest for example. 

In Zhan Zhuang, Excess is often ‘drained’ from the congested or blocked areas or Channels, routed through the Low Dan Tien and out the bottoms of the feet into the Earth where the negative or toxic Qi is absorbed and dissipated. But concentrating within the Low Dan Tien has another ability. This is the ability to cleanse our vital energy and even purge unwanted elements. This is often done through heat, like having something on a high boil - cooking the Qi until the impurities are separated or better yet transformed into ‘pure’ healthy energy which is then automatically recirculated as needed. 

On the non-physical side the ‘single-pointed’ focus method has been shown to help calm and neutralize excessive emotion and even return emotional balance. And equally important, this same method by its very nature, can abrogate aberrated mental states such as negative loops which often can be the cause or at the very least, reinforce negative physical states, stoke downward spirals or create constant deterioration in our body and energy field.

Now let’s look at some examples based on the five Yin Organs and how we might go about improving them with Zhan Zhuang. We’ll start with the Lungs and a very common complaint, difficult breathing or Asthma. Although this type of presentation is essentially at its ‘Root’ a Deficiency condition, its ‘Branch’ manifests as an Excess. (Excess phlegm obstructing the breathing passages) Once again, this is the ‘Branch’ symptom, the ‘Root’ cause may be in the relationship between the Kidneys and the Lungs. Chinese medicine calls this problem; ‘Lungs not Grasping Kidney Qi.’ Either way, we begin with the basic method which in itself has the ability to strengthen both Organs, especially the Kidneys. 

For the Lungs themselves we can utilize various forms of diaphragmatic breathing or meditation breath. By engaging the diaphragm we activate the all-important Organ Massage which can have the effect of helping to open, expand and stretch the Lung tissue taking the breath deeper to the bottom of the Lungs. In addition to that, we can guide the breath and fill the upper back and the back of the Lungs which also deepens the overall inhalation and exhalation. While concentrating on the back we can also choose to focus on the Shu or Father points of the Bronchials and Lungs. These are BL-12 Fengmen for the Bronchials and BL-13  Zhong Fu for the Lungs. They are located about 1.5 - 2 inches lateral to the spinous process of the second and third thoracic vertebrae respectively. (These points are bilateral, meaning on both sides of the spine.)

In order to ‘open’ acupuncture points it is necessary to find these locations and dwell there with our feeling-awareness while we breathe in and out, allowing the tissue to expand and condense equilaterally. This can then be repeated for a few minutes or even up to the whole length of a session if we wish.

Besides these two points, we can also employ two important Lung points located in each Shoulder’s Nest. These are Zhong Fu LU-1 and Yunmen LU-2 and are naturally activated when we sink and hollow our chest. One generally works with these points in tandem as they are so close together. Later, when we become familiar with the whole process, we can toggle our feeling-awareness between the points on the back and the points in the front. 

In addition to all the above, we can then add specific postures for the Lungs. These mostly involve opening the arms to the sides at about shoulder height, palms up, palms out, palms down or even palms facing backward. These types of postures literally stretch the Lungs and Intercostal muscles. (The muscles that cause our chest to expand and condense as we breathe.)

And finally, while in the Wuji posture or later while doing one of the Lung postures, we can run the Qi through the length of the Lung Meridian or Channel to help strengthen the related Organ, clear blockages and vent excess. It is also possible to draw in External Qi to help bolster deficient Channel energy. The advanced version of all this is called Meridian Meditation or ‘Around The World Meditation where one starts with the Lung Channel and then proceeds to move the Qi through all 14 Channels, following a specific sequence.

Sometimes the ‘Root’ of an Internal Organ problem is not directly caused by that Organ itself but rather by different Organ. In Zhan Zhuang, when this occurs it is wise to employ the concept of the ‘Mother and Child’ relationship. It is said in Taoism and Chinese Medicine theory that the Organs do not operate in a vacuum, solely independent of everything else, but rather are interconnected and interdependent. In the case of the five Yin Organs, each one is considered to have the role of both ‘Mother’ of another Organ and also ’Child’ of a different Organ. In the case of the Lungs they are the Mother of the Kidneys and the Child of the Spleen. These relationships are arrived at by using the Creation cycle of the 5 Element Theory. It goes something like this; each Organ is assigned a particular Element, for instance, the Liver is considered the Wood Element and wood is necessary to create Fire. The Fire Element is related to the Heart. Therefore, the Heart becomes the ‘Child’ of the Liver. When fire burns down it creates ashes. These signify the Earth Element which is linked to the Spleen. This means, the Heart is also the ‘Mother’ of the Spleen. The cycle continues as follows: As the ashes of fire are absorbed underground, over time they are transformed and form metallic compounds. The Metal Element is the Lung. When these metallic elements have hibernated long enough within the Earth, dampness accrues. This dampness is symbolic of the Water Element which represents the Kidneys. From there the cycle completes itself. In nature Water is necessary for wood to grow. This means that the Kidneys are the ‘Mother’ of the Liver or Wood Element. So the ‘Creation’ Cycle of the 5 Elements becomes Wood/Liver -- Fire/Heart -- Earth/Spleen -- Metal/Lung -- Water/Kidneys and then back to Wood etc.

The point of all this is to be able to apply the healing techniques discussed with the Lungs and use them in a similar fashion for the Mother of the Lungs - the Spleen, and possibly even the Child of the Lungs - the Kidneys. The reasoning behind this is that in life a mother continually gives to her child, both before birth and afterward. And as a mother uses her own energy to supplement her child, so in this case, the Spleen can be used to nurture, support and benefit its child - the Lungs. Sometimes an Internal Organ problem doesn’t come so much from the particular organ itself as from its ‘Child.’ Children can be needy and a good mother is always willing to help. And it is a well known fact that an overly demanding ‘Child’ can certainly drain the Mother’s energy. In terms of the Lungs this means weak Kidneys can drain Lung energy and set up and contribute to an Asthmatic condition.

If all this sounds a bit overwhelming, don’t loose heart. People spend a lifetime studying and contemplating these relationships. For instance, under certain circumstances we may use the so-called ‘Destruction’ Cycle present within the 5 Elements Theory. Yes, there’s also a destructive sequence, as well as one other. Let’s say the problem is High Blood Pressure which is often times a matter of too much Fire in the Upper Burner.  Since Water can put out or destroy Fire, in other words control it, we can work with the Kidneys/Water to reduce Heart Fire. It may also be possible using the third of the Five Element sequences to also employ the Metal Element or Lungs to absorb and neutralize Heart Fire. This is based on the idea that Metal has the ability to absorb Heat. In a healthy human body Water and Fire, the Heart and Kidney energies should balance one another.

So, when we undertake to solve a problem with any of the other Yin Organs we can apply some of the same methods used with the Lungs, modified when necessary to suit the specific malady. These techniques are: 1) The Basic Method - One-Pointed Concentration in the Low Dan Tien. 2) Diaphragmatic and Meditation Breathing Methods. 3) Opening Specific Organ Channels or Meridian Points in conjunction with the breath or in a purely Nei Gong manner, that is relying on the focus of our feeling-awareness only without any emphasis on the breath. 4) Meridian or Single Channel Meditation - Using the mind and our feeling-awareness to move abundant Qi through a specific Organ Meridian as well as through the actual Organ itself. 

Lastly, if this sort of deep analysis just simply seems beyond one’s purview, then perhaps a few general principals may prove helpful. When there’s an Excess in the upper part of the body, concentrate on the lower body, Low Dan Tien or feet to draw the excess down and out of the area and empty out the fullness. If the problem’s in the front of the body, try focusing on the ‘mirror’ region on the back. If the difficulty has to do with insufficient  energy to properly raise the Qi or Blood, then try focusing at the top of the head which will of itself begin to lift and draw the energy upward. These examples are drawn from the Yin-Yang law of opposites. 

So, as you can see from these discussions, there are many ways to use Zhan Zhuang Standing Meditation (in conjunction with food/diet, herbs and other modalities) to help improve or downright heal many health conditions, which, in most cases, ordinary people (non-practitioners) have just become resigned to put up with. In the next part we will look at some of the sensations which indicate specific blockages as well as some of the confirmatory signs or sensations which are the effects of correct long-term practice.

INSIDE ZHAN ZHUANG DVD - Standing Meditation for Beginners & Seniors

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Significance of Discomfort In Zhan Zhuang Training - Part 3

Now we shall examine older or long-standing muscular injuries, and also those of the tendons and ligaments. Injuries that have occurred years earlier present a unique set of challenges. If enough time has passed, the muscle may have changed shape or even become atrophied. (Shrunk) In turn, this atrophy or change of shape may have effected the role of surrounding muscles, causing them to perform unnatural actions (actions for which they were not originally intended) in order to assist or protect the damaged area. And finally all this may have also resulted in an actual change to the firing order of various nerves governing certain movements.

When working with these deeper muscular issues as well as with tendon and ligament problems in Zhan Zhuang, it is often necessary to go beyond the basic Wuji posture in order to achieve success. While it is possible to heal or least improve the above conditions, I want to be clear that full recovery is oftentimes a ‘long and winding road’ which can take years if the damage is profound enough. That said, as one who has healed these types of injury on himself, I want to assure you that with enough Gung Fu - perseverance, time and effort, it definitely can be done!

Since with deeper injuries choosing the correct posture or postures is paramount in inducing repair, the specific location of the problem will often help dictate the proper choice(s.) So say for instance the problem is in the tendons or ligaments of the elbow.
Depending on the exact location, the Wuji posture with its downward elongated arms may suffice. But since some of the primary movements of the elbow involve turning or twisting, variations of the ‘Holding the Ball’ Posture, may also be needed. 

These include 1) the ‘scooping’ of the forearms, wrists and palms rotated under and slightly upwards. 2) releasing the forearms, wrists and palms until they exactly, face the torso. And finally 3) relaxing and untwisting the forearms, elbows, wrists and palms until they face the Low Dan Tien or are even parallel to the ground. This may also include temporarily condensing all the upper extremities in order to work with the ‘weakest link’ in the muscular chain. The idea with this is that we must respect the reduced facility and range of motion in the injured area and reduce the stretch of the perfectly good surrounding tissues and even be willing to modify the bone structure, distance and angles accordingly. See Inside Zhan Zhuang, Pages 126-135 for more info. Of course along with all this, we will also employ the Station Method going from the spine to the rhomboids to the scapula to the Teres muscles, Deltoids, biceps/triceps, elbow, forearm, wrists and hands. The result of finding the right balance with all this will often play out in the deep relaxation and gentle expansion and lengthening of the palms and fingers.

In addition to the above example, we must also consider the angle that the forearms are holding, and the direction the tip of the elbow is pointed; from facing the ground to 45 degrees to all the way up to the elbow tips parallel to the ground and everywhere in between. Each of these postural variations will create differing pressures and stresses on the elbow joint itself. Try a number of variations to find the best angle, the one that provides the most relief and relaxation.  

Tendon and ligament injuries are generally far more challenging than even deep muscular ones. The reason for this is in their relationship to the bone. Tendons at one end are attached to a bone and ligaments are often fused to numerous places along a bone(s). In addition to this, severe injuries to the tendons and ligaments almost always involve a major hyper-extension, if not outright tears. Over-elongation as it applies to the tendons and ligaments creates a condition of loss of ‘springiness’ or even a general ‘loosening’ of the joint. According to western thought this ‘loosening’ cannot be returned to anything like its original state. What they suggest is to either strengthen the surrounding muscles or have surgery. While strengthening the nearby muscles can be helpful, unfortunately it does little to tighten or shorten the tendon or ligament and return its elasticity. And remember, it is this very elasticity that is necessary for the transmission of higher level Fa Jin.

Let’s say the problem is in the Medial Meniscus on the inner side of the knee. The Meniscus is the circular-like cartilage that joins the femur bone to the tibia and fibula bones. The medial or inside section of the knee is particularly challenging in that the fewest arteries and veins pass through that area than anywhere else in the body. So the restoration of circulation in such a region is additionally formidable. But once again, it is possible.

Start by assuming a Wuji posture, feet parallel at the ‘Natural’ width. The Natural width or Universal Matrix, is the distance where all the bones in the hips and lower extremities naturally line up and support one another. The Superior Iliac Crests, Heding Point (just above the kneecap) and Jiexi point ST-41 (between the two tendons at the center of the ankle) all fall in a straight vertical line.

For some this position may cause too much ‘stretching’ or twisting’ (spiraling) in the hips, back and/or Kua. In that case it is permissible to turn your feet slightly outward a few degrees in an equidistant manner. And be sure to keep the Iliac Crest-Heding point-Jiexi point alignments when you do this. This will immediately take pressure off the Lumbar/Sacral region. That said, if at all possible, use the feet-parallel position for best results.

Since any serious injury of the type mentioned will involve the unnatural tightening of muscles above the damaged site and also sometimes below or to either side, it becomes imperative to activate the Station Method to begin with. 

Following that, the next phase begins the slight adjustment of one’s Zhong Ding (Central Equilibrium) with an eye to reducing excessive pressure in the injured area. In the case of the inner side of the knee we can start by allowing our weighting to shift outward, into the Yang channels of the leg. These will involve among others, the Vastus Lateralis muscle on the front of the thigh, the Tensor Fasciae Latae and the Iliotibial Band on the side of the thigh and the hamstrings in the back of the thigh. All this will then percolate down through the knee along the same lines or vectors and into the ankle and foot. Muscles of the lower leg include the Peroneus muscles on the side, Tibialis Anterior in front and the calf muscles in back. To help all this along we can open Zulinqi point GB-41 on the dorsum of the foot to secure the adjusted weighting. In addition, Zulinqi point also helps open the side of the hip via Juliao point GB-29 and helps lock-in the lateral connection. In terms of use, it is also important to remember that the knee joint itself does not want to directly bear weight, but rather must transfer the weight coming from above it, all the way down into the foot.

Once this is done, we next need to release the muscles that attach in the Inguinal Creases down the inside of the thigh through the weakened area at the inner side of the knee. This will assist in the softening and re-elongation of the Adductors, Gracilis, Rectus Femoris etc., which will very probably have at least tightened or even locked in order to protect the injured area from taking too much weight. Remember also, that allowing our weight to move into the Yang Channels of the leg also implies a slight shift of our Central Equilibrium back toward the heel, and the Yang Channels (Bladder and Gall Bladder) of the back and back of legs. This is similar to the basic backward Zhong Ding weight-shift described in Part 2.

Now, with certain very severe injuries to the inside of the knee, including partial or full dislocation, at least initially, the damaged region will be unable to bear very much weight, if any. To address this challenge with Zhan Zhuang we have two possibilities. The first is to assume the Wuji posture described above then quickly shift sideways so that the majority of the weight is in the uninjured side. This lateral Zhong Ding shift is quite similar to the weight shift in Tajiquan’s Yun Shou - Cloud Hands. Depending upon the vulnerability and what is appropriate we will end up with weightings anywhere from 60%-40%, (larger numbers represent the weighted, uninjured leg) to 70%-30%, 80%-20%, 90%-10%, or 100%-0%.

The second possibility for such extreme circumstances is to adopt a “Single-Weighted” Stance where all or very nearly all of our weight is on the rooted leg/foot and the other leg is empty. Of course using such a posture will require a much finer balance than with its two-footed cousins, therefore it is best to start with a relatively short amount of time for beginning sessions. When adapting the Single-Weighted stance for healing it is also wise not to extend the empty leg too great a distance from the rooted side. In the next part we will shift gears and look into Internal Organ issues and how we can use Standing Meditation to improve many of these conditions.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Significance of Discomfort in Zhan Zhuang Training - Part 2

The process of healing and rejuvenation is a constant one, involving the repair of old injuries, recent injuries and a repeated rebalancing of the activity stemming from our normal everyday lives. 

The majority of injuries to the sinews (muscle, tendon, ligament) involve some form of contraction, tightening or even shortening over time. The one main exception to this can occur from very severe injuries in which the sinews are stretched beyond their limit or even tear. The result of such events is flaccidity where the tissue becomes very weak and without any springiness.

Proper springiness is necessary for the healthy functioning of all the sinews. And this is where Standing Meditation is of great value. Standing Meditation has the innate ability to repair, regenerate and even amplify this springiness. And not only that, it also creates a stronger connection within all the body’s network of ‘springs,’ both individually and in relation to one another. Eventually this manifests as the whole-body spring necessary for the various forms of Fa Jin.

Some people think that Zhan Zhuang is a matter of standing still without any movement. Some call this the ‘Static’ state. But the fact is, the body is constantly in a state of flux or change. These changes are expressed as micro-movements both inside the body and without. 

Seasoned practitioners can take advantage of these nano-movements and even add some of their own as needed. This has been termed the ‘Active’ state. And it is this state that we shall use to make adjustments in order to relieve tension and pain, and gain a deeper and deeper sense of relaxation.

The truth is, in the ‘stillness’ of postural meditation, inside the body there are constant forms of activity. The blood is flowing, the nerves and synapses are continually firing and transmitting information. The brain is analyzing transmissions, computing and sending out instructions or data throughout the entire organism. 

Most of the discomforts we first encounter in Standing Meditation are generally quite exterior, having to do with the level of the muscles, like fairly recent muscular injuries for example, a sore back, shoulder or arm. The common theme with most of these is a sense of contraction. The muscle(s) tighten or contract, generally in an upward direction such as the attachments of the Deltoid tightening or being jammed up into the shoulder. 

In terms of Zhan Zhuang, muscles essentially have three basic parts; the origin point, the belly and the end point. Both the end and origin points have to do with where the muscle attaches to the tendon or bone, fascia or other muscles. The belly is that part of the muscle which does most of the ‘heavy lifting.’ This tightening or contraction, along with its concomitant reduction in range of motion, pain, and/or loss of strength can occur anywhere along the entire length of a muscle, but is especially damaging at the origin and end point attachments (like with a hyper-extension) and in the center of the muscle belly itself.

When the belly of a muscle is struck, say while sparring or during a self-defense situation, another form of contraction occurs. This usually results in a raised bruise, while within the muscle itself there quickly develops severe blood stagnation as evidenced by a ‘black-and-blue’ mark at the site of the damage. This sort of ‘hit’ injury also causes muscle contraction where the fibers are unnaturally paralyzed and/or drawn inward toward the focal-point of the blow. If deep enough, this quickly debilitates the limb. 

When we are dealing with one of the above mentioned injuries during Zhan Zhuang practice, we can make use of the descending Heaven energy (or gravity for the scientific types.) For problems in the upper limbs, Wuji posture is often best. That way our arms hanging freely can use relaxation to take advantage of gravity and help re-lengthen the contracted segments. One of the best ways to do this is with the “Station Method.” 

Say your injury is in the biceps or triceps, the idea with the Station Method is to release the ‘station’ above or in this case the shoulder (deltoid) and let that relaxation and lengthening percolate down through the area of the injury. For more details see the book “Inside Zhan Zhuang,” Pages 242-244. 

There is also another type of contraction injury which manifests as horizontal in nature. Muscles become pinched or stuck together or temporarily ‘fused’ to various fascia. These difficulties are addressed by relaxing and opening the tissue laterally, ‘widening’ by releasing from the center of the injury outward, both to the left and to the right.

Injuries to the lower limbs can be more problematic in that we necessarily must use our legs to pass our body’s weight through to the bottoms of our feet. The first approach involves very subtly shifting our weight. Say we took a roundhouse kick to the thigh while sparring. In this case we would carefully shift our Central Equilibrium back of our centerpoint toward the heel, taking more of our weight through our hamstrings which allows our thigh muscles to relax and take advantage of gravity/Station Method.

For actual ‘damage’ to a lower limb it is often necessary to employ other means, such as certain variations of a ‘Single-Weighted Stance.’ We’ll address these more severe types of injury and internal (organ) difficulties in the next segment. 

Basic diagram courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. By Anatomography (en:Anatomography (setting page of this image)) [CC BY-SA 2.1 jp]  Additions and Text: by Mark Cohen

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Significance of Discomfort in Zhan Zhuang Training - Part 1

When we begin Zhan Zhuang training many of us have the goal of settling into a totally relaxed, deep meditative state that initiates healing of the body and cultivation and accumulation of internal power which can later be harnessed in combat application.

However, before we reach such a state, there are often a number of obstacles that must be surmounted. While some of these are mental and emotional, most have to do with adjustments in the physical body, either in the physical structure itself or within the body’s internal functions. The signal that things need to change and reach a finer balance is generally some form of discomfort or pain. 

The healing process in Zhan Zhuang can be likened to the peeling back of the layers of an onion. The outer layers can be considered the discomforts or imbalances that we first encounter, while the root causes are buried deep inside or even in our core itself.

So when some sensation like tightness, soreness or even pain, surfaces, it is the body’s way of informing us that something is not as it should be. Although our awareness of some of these sensations may be vague at first, with continued Zhan Zhuang training, our perception of these sensations will increase and improve over time following the model of the “Three Circles of Awareness.”

It is said that our body records and remembers everything that has, is and will happen to it throughout our lifetime. This is often called Cellular Memory. Experiences such as old injuries and the like, if left uncorrected can lead to negative engrams (root patterns) within the body. The good news is that with continued Standing Meditation practice, one day these will come to our conscious awareness where they can be dealt with and resolved. 

We are probably quite well acquainted with some of these patterns, while others may be far deeper inside the energetic structure of the body and as such are mostly masked to our normal awareness, except perhaps for some strange, fleeting feelings, subtle enough to almost pass under the radar of our conscious feeling-awareness. 

For example, this is like when in the past we have injured ourselves and the injury apparently ‘got better on its own.’ But the fact is, there could easily still be some residual traces remaining which continue to mar our physical and/or energetic systems and over time can act as a drain on our overall energy by eating away at our reserve. 

This type of blockage is usually fairly insidious and as such can unknowingly cause decay both internally and externally. The idea here is that one part of the body often effects other parts, and many times these parts are seemingly extraneous or unrelated to the original problem. 

So the inevitable question becomes: How do we deal with these obvious blockages/imbalances? And later, how do we root out and address the deeper and more subtle ones lurking within each of us?