Updated: Jun 2
Zhan Zhuang is very effective. These are the main reasons why:
It forces you to slow down: Modern life moves very fast and there are countless streams of information waiting to infiltrate our psyche. Zhan Zhuang is done by standing still; you need to learn to find the correct position and maintain it for the duration of practice. Over time and with steady efforts you will get better at standing.
It makes you focus on your body: You are standing still! There is nowhere to go! After standing for a while you'll notice discomfort and tensions in your body. Either you continue standing and suffering or you learn how to resolve the tensions in the body. With good, dedicated practice, standing still becomes a delight!
It makes you relax your mind: You are standing still and there is nowhere to go but be careful because you could escape into dreamland in your mind! Zhang Zhuang is not about being in a sleepy-state or about day-dreaming; it requires one to fine-tune their ability to clear your mind and sense the inner workings of the body.
It gives your body structure and alignment: As a result of deeply relaxing, the body will naturally start to re-align and restructure itself. Bad habits and poor movement patterns, stress and negative emotions cause crippling tension in the body which distorts its natural and ideal structure, form and function.
It helps you to increase your energy levels and de-stress: Good Zhan Zhuang practice leads to a cascade of physiological changes in the Human organism resulting in reduced stress and increased energy levels.
It doesn't require any equipment and it can be done anywhere: All you need is good instruction, your two feet on the ground and a peaceful spot to stand where you are not exposed to any extreme environmental conditions such as too much heat, cold, wind or rain.
It teaches you to relax and release tension: Relaxation isn't as easy as it sounds! In fact, the main work that we do in Zhan Zhuang aside from being in the correct standing position is Relaxation. This relaxation is what will lead to good Zhan Zhuang results.
It is based on the deep understanding of Natural Principles and the Human Body: Zhan Zhuang is effective because it takes advantage of Naturally occurring mechanisms in the human body and in Nature. This is based on the relationship between living things and their environment and the various internal physiological states that living things express throughout their day to day activities and their life-span.
Advice on taking up Zhan Zhuang Practice:
You Need Instruction: The best way to learn is from a good teacher who will be able to guide you into not only finding the correct position but also provide you with on-going corrections and adjustments to your standing practice so that you can get the most out of practice and continually progress.
Don't overdo it: Steady progress is best. Do not try to do more and more difficult standing positions or extend the time that you stand dramatically.
Don't overcomplicate it: The fundamental principles behind Zhan Zhuang are very sound and simple but working out how to stand well and continually progress is a challenge. There are many, many variables to take into account with daily practice over time and it can be easy to lose sight of the fundamentals and deviate from the right path. This highlights the importance of having a teacher and getting guidance regularly so that you know what to focus on and how.