April 8, 2008 at 6:31 am #28029
from other sources on the net, and from a tai chi teacher, I learned that the standing stance is very effective in promoting health and relaxation. Yet, in the teaching I spotted some inconsistencies with the harmony of Tao.
My tai chi teacher told me that his teacher made him stand with raised hands, in front of the torso, for 40 minutes. The first time! By my experience, after 10 minutes the arms start to hurt really. Here is the node: should one go out of the ‘comfort zone’ and go on with the practice, or listen to the body? What is your experience? What signs do you listen to?
thank you very muchApril 8, 2008 at 6:50 am #28030
I always have had problem with the standing practises myself in the iron shirt. I working myself in this area just in this moment. And I think I know what to answer you.
Perhaps you can´t make conclusions about what a teacher had said to a sertain student beacase the teacher might have said something that suits that individual just in that moment. Or might have sat him to a test for whatewer reason.
I think the answer is a bit of bouth. I think a good workin method with this methods is to stand for a sertain time period not to long from the beginning. To make shore you understund the underlying structure. Then when you are ready you might try to increase the time period a bit and to it for a week or more ewery day. When you feel you are ready for more you increase again. Sooner or later you will reach a timeperiod that might hurt a litle bit. Many practioners, from what I have read on the internet, say that in this practises you might reach a breakthrough if going thrue the pain and suddenly some blockade are gone and it don´t hurt and you can increase the time ewen more.
So always listen to your body. Increase in a slow rate and realy feel what kind of hurt that arises. Take it slow so that you not hurt yourself, but try in the longrun to come ower some pain for more gain.
That is what I belive, but as I told you I haven´t realy had so much suchess jet and I haven+t realy done the practises of standing, especially for long times so much jet. Are working on it.
Perhaps some of the more experienced might add something.
Pehrpas Wendy not like this aproach beacase it is to yang. It should be interesting to hear your oppinion also Wendy. And others.
S DApril 8, 2008 at 7:32 am #28032
I tend to hold longer than just comfort, just before my body starts to tell me it really hurts.Yet while the tendons and muscles are pushed a bit, I focus on softening the inside, from the inside I try to soften the tendons and muscles, when I am no longer able to soften that, the excersise has no use to me any more, then it is powerplay. But I like the fun play between the discomfort and the relaxing, trying to adjust my body to find a comforting place within and ‘forgetting’ the outer pain. It is a constant play with relaxing the shoulders and upper back.
Standing for one hour that way is not a big thing, after practicing of course.
When I started 16 years ago I could hardly hold my arms a couple of minutes without having severe pain. Yet I also did a lot of bodywork therapy to release old pains and memories that were stuck in there, so it might be an idea to get some work done on that level too.
Otherwise it might become a fight against yourself, trying to push your body, while there is too much pain stored inside, it is a conflicting situation.
It is again an act of love, by listening what you need, and standing stance is a great tool I think to feel where your body is in trouble, and keep the option to do deeper emotional bodywork.April 8, 2008 at 8:51 am #28034
Thx Wendy aprichiations for your contribution to this subject.
I think I have a new attitude or an old but a clearer weu on how to achive success in this practise. Hope it also helped sly.
I like your atitude in this practise. It inspires me for further investigation in the Iron shirt.
Blessings S DApril 10, 2008 at 1:13 am #28036
I’m going to break ranks here and say listen to your body.
What I like to do is to get into a standing posture and
whenever I *start* to feel discomfort, drop the arms, dump the toxic
junk, and then casually re-raise.
*Occasionally* when I do standing postures, I do
an active meditation like doing the microcosmic orbit
or trying to bring an awareness to the earth, HOWEVER more often
than not, I like to practice “empty mind”, ala Zen. Whenever,
I feel discomfort, I reflexively drop my arms, let it out, and
However, I’ve found that as I stand there, and I begin to
drop more and more into the Zen-like state, it turns out that
such discomfort occurs less and less.
In HT, “empty mind” is not really used, since “active” meditation
tends to be more productive for chi flow, so some might argue
that this Zen-type meditation in such a posture
is not very useful.
I disagree. Part of the purpose of the posture is to increase
the proportion of the support of your arms by chi rather than muscle . . .
but this must actually be happening!! Reason being that if you
were still using a large amount of muscle, muscle fatigue
would create pain, and signal you to drop your arms. Since you
are inadvertently having your arms up longer and longer, this
is not the case! It must be that they are being supported
in higher proportion by chi . . . and where might this chi come from?
While a certain amount could be said to come from within, that is not the
only story. In fact, chi *is* rising from the earth to
support you, without you *needing* to focus on it in an
Now while I do feel it to be important to focus on the earth
and do active-type meditations in a variety of other grounding
methods (such as Deep Earth Pulsing as one example), at least
for me I find it to be more useful to apply a more-Zen approach
when doing a “strenuous” Iron Shirt posture.
In other words,
I would say that rather than getting your arms up for longer
and longer periods by an effort of enduring pain and programmed
extension–or *even* trying to just pass into a discomfort zone
for a short period via shifting attention to inner awareness–
I would say listen to your body in total. However, by employing
a sort of Zen approach, you will naturally find yourself lengthening
the time in the posture without efforting at all!
In short, don’t try; forcing creates opposition.
Don’t seek, and then you shall find.
SApril 10, 2008 at 3:09 am #28038
I think you have to practise this method a bit different depending on wich level you are at. So at the beging before having earth energy enough it might be wise to for instance lower the arms from time to time. Then after some more practise you might achive more if you put yourself on a litle more preasure.
About the zen aproach. I think that might be wery important in taoist yoga and perhaps is to litle emphasized in the HT UT practises. Perhaps there should be as much emptying the mind as enery practises. I don´t know, perhaps depends that on what level you are at also and what particularly need you have as a individual for the moment also.
For me right at the moment. I do the meditation I spoke about earlier. It helpes me with my Iron Shirt beacase the Irosn Shirt practises have a tendensee to just make me stiff without any noticable benefits. So I have not liked them so much earlier on. Still have problem with them but working with it. I think the answer is in that I have problem with the groundíng.
But I still feel I got a connection to yin. In the beginning of may practise, after having the five day introductory course with Mantak Chia, I had some problem with the big draw. Moving up sexual energy to the headl, so that the penis relax. I dreamt about M C and that he told me to do the standing tree and in that position doint the big draw. It helped so I didn´t have to lay there the whole night with a big one. 🙂 I think the reason it helped me was that I had earth yin energy going up the body and that made things work.
For me at the moment. Doing the Standing tree and in the same time doing the meditation helps me. The meditaion that comes easy to me after much practise and doing this while in the standing three makes me conect to the energy. So it is a way for me to not just be stiff and be in the muscles, perhaps it also helpes me draw up earth energy and thats why I can tolerate the practise for longer times.
I am just in the beginning of my investigation in this. The reason for looking at it is that in the next book by Yudelove there is New Iron shirt practises each weak. And my goal is to manage to do the quite long meditaions in the Iron shirt positionings, when we start that book.
I get connected yesterday with an old neck problem I had forgotten, after the standing tree exercise. So I plan to do the Breath alignement exercises from the Iron Shirt 1 book. And learn them also to my group. I have done the back bend earlier to make my thoratic back part less bend. The curvature I have makes it dificult to have the cocygis in at the same time as the jade pillow should be back.
So perhaps I have found something to go more into for the moment. Have had the only plan lately to work with the adictions. To make a focused effort and not split it into to many parts, beacase that issues was/is so important.
Surching for small goals in the practise for the moment to have a moer yin aproach to the practise.
By the way Steven. For the moment I do like you in that aspects that I take down the arms if the muscles are to stiff. I just take them into the body then down and then up to the sky and back to the position. I have done this once during the meditation round that I think take about 10 minutes. Thats where I am for the moment.
My further goal is to increase the tolerance to stand in the tree a litle bit linger so that I don´t have to hurry the meditation at all. I want to be able to do the meditation as slow as I feel for, no I have to do it a litle bit faster thatn I want. Then when I have reach that part I want to be able to add the Iron shirt breathing packing process after the meditation.
F DApril 10, 2008 at 12:28 pm #28040
I appreciate the tao approach… Zen monks do long sessions of zazen even for 10 hours a day, 5 days or more (with little intervals of less than 10 minutes every 50)… after one hour the pain becomes tangible, and after 3 hours sometimes it becomes unbearable. Nonetheless, the monks keep sitting.
I think there is a structural pain, pertaining to the body, and pain coming from muscular resistance, the tense bodymind.
Anyway, I’ll try your suggestion Steven! 🙂April 10, 2008 at 12:47 pm #28042
I am interested in knowing your difference in communication with the zen approach VS the healing smile. Also what are the differences in communication in droping your hands and “releasing toxins” vs hold your arms up and inner smiling.April 10, 2008 at 1:25 pm #28044
Well the Buddhism se the world as pain, so it is no reason to come back next life!
🙂 🙂 🙂
Perhaps the long painful meditation helps to realise that! 🙂 🙂April 11, 2008 at 2:05 am #28046
>>I think you have to practise this method a bit different
>>depending on wich level you are at.
>>So at the beging before having earth energy enough
>>it might be wise to for instance lower the arms from
>>time to time. Then after some more practise you might
>>achive more if you put yourself on a litle more preasure.
Well, if you mean endure a little discomfort and pain, I disagree.
Pain is indication that something is wrong, and continuing
equates to forcing. Forcing impedes progress.
>>For me at the moment. Doing the Standing tree and in the
>>same time doing the meditation helps me. The meditaion that comes
>>easy to me after much practise and doing this while in the
>>standing three makes me conect to the energy. So it is a way
>>for me to not just be stiff and be in the muscles, perhaps it
>>also helpes me draw up earth energy and thats why I can tolerate
>>the practise for longer times.
If you enjoy your current practice, don’t let me stop you.
I’m just speaking from my opinion. Although you should think
about your word “tolerate”, it implies unpleasant and that you
are putting up with it. If that’s the case, then why do it
unless being masochistic?
SApril 11, 2008 at 2:07 am #28048
Re: Zen monks of long torturous practice . . .
I’m not a fan of that either.
Extremist views in any end are not healthy in my view.
SApril 11, 2008 at 2:19 am #28050
If your method works for you, great. I don’t want to knock it.
However, in my opinion, there is a very delicate balance
between doing the Inner Smile of acceptance and relaxation, and
trying to *force* a state of feel-good upon your body when it
clearly is unhappy with its level of discomfort.
Personally, I don’t like to use the Inner Smile to have my
body feel anything different that what it actually feels.
I like to use it for acceptance and warm consideration, not
to try to drown out its screams of discomfort.
Now I’m NOT saying that *you* specifically use it to try to
drown out screams of discomfort, since I can’t take a viewpoint
from inside your body-mind-spirit; however, it can easily
degenerate into that as the discomfort progresses.
So at least for me, while I love the Inner Smile, I don’t
find it personally to be the right idea for doing strenuous
Iron Shirt postures. If the posture is naturally comfortable,
such as standing erect with the arms dropped to the sides with
armpits open, then I find the Inner Smile to be a great ally–but
not the right tool or concept in my view for the “strenuous” ones.
SApril 11, 2008 at 4:06 pm #28052
I don´t know about the tolerate. I guess I have had the same feelings earlier about the Iron Shirt. It haven´t been the exercises I like the most. But for the moment I don´t want to give up it. I will try for a while and perhpaps I start to enjoy it or otherways I will probably drop it for something else.
I have had some real good energy from the practises of the standing three the last days. I think also that the standing practises are hitting the enegy unballance I have, my illness. And perhaps this is why I feel that they are a bit demanding and a bit unplessant.
But there might be a chance that it is exactly this practise I need to get better, so that is of course a good reason to investigate into it. And for the moment I am more interested in it´s efects than hindered by the problems with it.
My kundalini yoga teacher say alwais that the exercises you have moust problems with might end up as your favorites in the end. Beacase they might contain exactly what is your own problem area. So working with them makes you achive much progress with yourself.
S DApril 11, 2008 at 4:36 pm #28054
>>My kundalini yoga teacher say alwais that the
>>exercises you have moust problems with might end
>>up as your favorites in the end. Beacase they might
>>contain exactly what is your own problem area.
>>So working with them makes you achive much progress with yourself.
I agree totally with this, and have certainly found it to be true.
However, there is a difference between “dislike” and ignoring
signals of pain and/or discomfort from your body.
In the former case, you have an opportunity for exploration, and
possible useful tools to chip away at what is most needed.
In the latter case, you are trying to force an unnatural pattern
onto the body, and may end up doing more harm than good in
Be careful to distinguish between the two.
SApril 11, 2008 at 4:59 pm #28056
One more comment here on my point-of-view
with regard to the Iron Shirt practices.
People come to Iron Shirt for a variety of
different reasons, and was originally used
for martial arts to toughen the body
to iron–as in wearing an “iron shirt”.
If you are martial artist looking to develop
unnatural super abilities, then unnaturally
pushing yourself through pain and discomfort
may help you reach your goal. (although, I
personally would question why someone would
make that a goal, but that’s an entirely different
If, on the other hand, you are a person who
is interested in appropriating the Iron Shirt
practices to achieve better grounding, to improve
health, and/or connect with spirituality, then
the story is different.
I am a person that is interested only in the second use
of Iron Shirt, and not the first. Therefore, all
of my discussion and opinion on the matter have been
put through that filter.
In this last regard, I still maintain that the approach
of not persisting into *any* discomfort is the right
point of view. Taoism is the watercourse way, and so
therefore one should be completely yielding and offering
no resistance. Through a process of no-resistance and
not “trying” to achieve, or attempting to “force” a result–even
if through some attempt at “distraction”, real progress
can be achieved by placing yourself into a state of
pure openness and receptivity.
It is an enigma that completely true.
To achieve the goal you want, you ignore the goal and make
no *direct* attempt at reaching it. Then by being force-free
and offering no resistance, you will unexpectedly receive
that which you were hoping for as natural consequence of
more aligned with the Tao.
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