Zhan Zhuang Form

The Zhang Zhuang form (pronounced Jan Juan) is also known as the five tree postures because the individual stands motionless like a tree when practising the form. Although it appears similar to Chi Kung exercises, it is not actually a Chi Kung exercise.

The five tree postures, in order of practice, are as follows and are described below:

  1. Wu Chi Posture
  2. Holding the Balloon
  3. Holding the Balloon in Front of your Face
  4. Standing in the Stream
  5. Holding the Belly

Wu Chi Posture

This is the starting position.

  1. Stand knees bent, hands hanging on the side of the body, palms facing the thighs and about 2 inches away from the thighs.
  2. The elbows should be out as if there is a balloon under each armpit.
  3. Hold the position for 2 minutes.

Holding the Balloon

This posture helps you accelerate the flow of Chi through the feet, up the entire body and to the hands and head.

  1. From the Wu Chi position, breathe in and slowly raise your arms forming an open circle with the palms facing your chest (as if you were embracing a large balloon).
  2. Continue to breathe naturally.
  3. Imagine that your elbows are resting on small balloons and that you are sitting on a big balloon.
  4. Hold the position for 2 minutes.

This posture together with “Shaking the Body” is used to treat skeletal problems like minor back pain. The same combination when practised every day also stops further development of arthritis. This posture is also used for self-treatment of constipation. It is also beneficial when practised with “Supporting the Sky with Both Hands“, “Holding Up a Single Hand“, and “Shaking The Body” for short term treatment of Asthma (from the 8 Strands of Brocade exercise).

Holding the Balloon in Front of Your Face

This posture is regarded as the most demanding on the leg and arm muscles & therefore needs a higher level of tolerance. This position greatly increases the flow of energy in the body.

  1. From the second position, lower your arms to the sides, leaving the knees bent.
  2. Breathe in and lift your arms, palms out such that the back of your hands are at face level.
  3. Think of yourself holding a balloon in your palms as if you are pushing it away from your face. Your arms should be slightly bent.
  4. Breathe naturally and hold the posture for two minutes

When combined with “Looking Back Like a Cow to Gaze at the Moon” and “Touching The Knees with Both Hands” it is used to treat low blood pressure.

Standing in the Stream

This posture further builds on endurance and strength.

  1. From the third position lower your arms to the sides leaving the knees bent.
  2. Breathe in and slowly raise your arms to waist level, palms facing up.
  3. Continue to breathe naturally and extend each arm to either side, turning the palms face down.
  4. Imagine that each palm is resting on a big balloon.
  5. The elbows should be pointing out as if there is a balloon under each armpit.
  6. Hold the position for 2 minutes.

Holding the Belly

  1. From the previous position, gently lower the arms.
  2. Breathe in and bring the forearms round to the front, palms facing you, as if you are holding a small balloon against your stomach, just below the navel (like a pregnant woman holds her unborn child). The elbows should be slightly out.
  3. Hold the position for 2 minutes.

This position combined with “Holding Up a Single Hand” and “Looking Back Like a Cow Gazing at the Moon” is used to treat those who suffer from high blood pressure. When combined with “Holding the Balloon” and “Shaking the Body” it is used for those who are prone to depression and anxiety.

To read more about this form, you can get the book by Master Kam Chuen Lam from Amazon:

In a world dizzy with activity and motion, the idea of attaining the pinnacle of stress-free health and inner strength without moving a muscle is compelling. This handbook introduces a highly refined achievement of Chinese culture – the technique of Zhan Zhuang energy exercise.

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