Practice Standing Meditation

Simple Instructions for a Powerful Qigong Practice

Serene women practicing tai chi in exercise class
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Among the thousands of forms of qigong, Inner Alchemy and Taoist meditation, Standing Meditation is one of the most simple and, at least potentially, most powerful. With our physical body aligned in a particular way, and held mostly still, qi (chi)—life-force energy—is encouraged to find its natural rhythm as it flows through the meridian system, gently dissolving any blockages that may have been preventing this. This should typically take ten to thirty minutes, or longer if you'd like.

7 Steps to Practice Standing Meditation

  1. Find a quiet, pleasant place to practice. Initially, it's best to practice this inside, though facing a window through which you can gaze upon inspiring natural beauty is wonderful!
  2. Stand with your feet hip-distance apart, and parallel (i.e. toes pointing straight forward). Soften the backs of your knees just enough to feel your pelvis relax downward, and weight come into your feet - as though you had just mounted a horse.
  3. Gaze straight forward, with your head aligned happily right on top of your spine, so the muscles of your face, head, neck, and throat can be relaxed. Smile gently, and float the tip of your tongue up toward the roof of your mouth, just behind your upper front teeth. (It can be touching or just hovering really close.)
  4. Now, float your hands up eight to ten inches in front of your lower abdomen, palms facing your lower dantian (a couple inches below your navel), and the fingertips of your two hands pointing toward (but not touching) each other - as though you were hugging a small tree. Let your fingers be extended, with space between them, and your elbows be slightly lifted, so your armpits feel hollow.
  1. Take a couple of deep inhales and complete exhalations. As you do this, make whatever small adjustments you need to in your stance, so that it feels comfortable. Imagine that you are a mountain, or an ancient redwood - something profoundly stable and serene.
  2. Now let your breath return to its natural rhythm, and come to a place of stillness in your physical body. Focus your soft gaze gently in front of you, while maintaining a light awareness of the space of the dantian - and settle into doing nothing!
  3. Hold this position for ten minutes or longer - increasing the amount of time over the weeks, months or years that you practice.

Tips for Standing Meditation Practice

  • As we hold our physical body still, we will become aware of more subtle aspects of our Being - for instance, the flow of qi through the meridians, or a kind of spaciousness which extends far beyond the physical. As you practice, simply let your attention notice what it notices, with a child-like curiosity, without necessarily trying to make sense of it conceptually.
  • If you experience physical discomfort in a particular place in your body, send the energy of a smile, with several exhalations, into that place. You can also create very tiny (barely visible) circling or spiraling movements in that place, to support an opening.
  • As the qi finds and moves through blockages in the meridians, you may experience spontaneous movements. If this happens, know that it is a natural part of the process, and simply come back to the basic stance after the movement has completed itself. Please note: this doesn't happen for everyone, and such movements should in no way be "induced."
  • It takes the qi about thirty minutes to complete a single cycle through the body - so make it an aspiration to work up to spending at least this much time with the practice.

    What You Need to Get Started in Standing Meditation Practice

    • A precious human body.
    • A quiet place to practice.