Iron Shirt Chi Kung Postures

Tree Hugging Posture

The Tree Hugging Posture

This is the basic standing posture in which you learn to readjust and align your structure.  It contains the basic elements of standing with feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent (not locked) and pelvis positioned toward the front with the public bone up and sacrum inverted.  It is a relaxed position to stand in, the body is not locked.  This position allows the chi to flow through the body.  The hands are raised to enable chi flow and create a safe and protective space in front of yourself.

Sacrum Power

When you first get into this position it can feel awkward. The bent knees, inverted sacrum may seem unnatural. That is because the tendons in your back have become shortened through your regular posture.  This position literally straightens the curve in your spine which makes your back much stronger, opens your Kidneys and allows them to work better and allows the chi to flow up your spine. It stretches and lengthens the tendons in your back, reducing lower back problems.  Experiment with the different positions your sacrum can be in, tilted forwards or back, and familiarise yourself with these different ways you can position your body when you stand. Moving the sacrum is really important as so much of our strength comes from our sacrum, which is referred to as the master bone of the body in this practice.

sacrum power
Wing tsun

Relax and feel your strength in this Position

Initially the idea of relaxing here may seem strange.  You need to show your body that it can relax this way, and that it is a comfortable way to stand by easing it into the practice slowly and regularly. During your day, whilst walking or standing, experiment with straightening the lumbar curve by pushing out your lower spine.  You can do this against a wall, to get a good impression of how straight you are. As you familiarise yourself with this position you will come to realise how strong you are in it, and how comfortable and natural it is. Do not throw your shoulders back in military style as this blocks the chi flow, rather just learn to relax them. When I am practicing Wing Tsun, I use the structure and have no problem taking heavy blows as I redirect them down my legs and into the ground.

Holding the Golden Urn: Yin version

In this posture, the body remains the same as in the posture about, but the hands reposition. Another set of tendons are activated and strengthened in this position and the chi flow is promoted to other meridians. In this position, imagine that there is a 300kg urn of gold on top of your hands.  You are not using your muscle strength to hold it, it is being held up through the lock of your structure (bones and tendons) and chi. Learning to stand in this way will give you enormous strength in your daily life.

golden urn yang

Golden Urn: Yang Version

Now you turn the hands, following the movement of the baby finger down, in, around and up.  The hands are in a  prone position and the tendons are locked again, this time in a different way so that other tendon groups can be strengthened.  The more you practice, the more you will feel that your body needs to do to realign and heal, and soon standing like this for half an hour becomes easy because you are using chi and not muscle power.

The Turtle

The secret to this position is to tuck in the sacrum (which is how you tap into sacrum power) while holding the shoulders open.  The head should also be tucked in and you find yourself very strong in this position.  This one can be held for about 2 minutes with practice. At the end, lower your hands and rock up and down several times (The Buffalo).