Wu Chi – the first position

All standing Chi Kung training begins with this position, which is profoundly important. This posture is hidden in plain site at the beginning of nearly every martial arts form. Even at extraordinarily advanced levels of exercise, we begin with a period of quiet standing in the Wu Chi position – the position of primordial energy. The Wu Chi position involves simply standing still, comfortable and relaxed. It is an opportunity to pay careful attention to any tension within your body and its effect upon the nervous system. At the same time it becomes a moment of deep relaxation that you will eventually look forward to doing each day. Simple as it may seem, this opening position, if correctly practiced, holds the key to unlocking the storage house of your great internal energy reserves. It is a good idea to go to the bathroom prior to exercising, to ensure that you wont have to interrupt your stationary practice. When possible, try to do your training outside, with your back toward the sun at sunrise or sunset. Standing near a large tree with the sun on your back, is considered the ideal location. Don’t stand in the rain or fog and also avoid excessive wind. If you’re indoors, you can either use a quiet room or create a tranquil environment by playing a recording of softly flowing instrumental music. Once you have gained proficiency, you can then watch television or entertain more energetic music like rock, new age, country, rap, whatever your taste enjoy, but learning how to relax first is the key.

Stand with your feet a shoulder-width apart, toes pointing forward, either parallel, or turned slightly inward. Let your hands hang loosely by your sides and drop your shoulders. Imagine that you are like a puppet and your whole body is hanging from strings, suspended above your head. A string holds your head from a point at the top of your skull, directly in line with the tips of your ears. Feel yourself sinking down, relaxing, as you hang from the string. Breathe calmly and naturally. Stand quietly, allowing your whole system to calm down, for up to five minutes. As you do this, mentally follow through the points on the illustration, starting at the top of your head. Study it carefully and make sure that you pay meticulous attention to all the elements presented in it. Return to these points again and again until you are able to assume the Wu Chi position naturally and perfectly.

chi kung stance
  • Your eyes look forward and slightly downward. Put your attention to the Tan Tien point that lies 3cm (1.25in) below your navel, one-third of the way into your body.
  • Pull your chin a little back so that upper part of your spine gets in the straight line. Release any tension in your neck.
  • Let your arms hang loosely. Drop your shoulders and your elbows.
  • Relax your hips and belly. Tuck in your bottom so that lower part of your spine gets in the straight line.
  • Stand with your heels at least a shoulder-width apart.
  • Inhale and exhale gently through your nose only. Place your tongue up against palate behind your front teeth. Your mouth should be closed, but don’t clamp your teeth shut. If saliva forms, swallow it and mentally follow it down into your stomach.
  • Exhale completely and allow your chest to drop: this is the ideal posture.
  • Don’t stiffen your fingers. Allow them to curve gently and remain slightly apart.
  • Unlock your knees. Bend them little so that the tip of your knees is in alignment with the tip of your fingers (like in the illustration).

Watch the video to help you get into the proper standing position. When you stand still in the Wuji position, with your body correctly aligned, you are drawing energy (Chi) from the earth, and accelerating its flow throughout your body. This practice of standing still is an ancient discipline with thousands of years of history. You stand aligned between the earth and the sky, connecting the two great forces of heaven (Yang) and earth (Yin). With practice, you will learn to appreciate these fundamental forces of energy in your body. Exercising in this way, with the full force of your will and spirit, not only will your entire body and mind become synchronized but also you will have the feeling that the forces of heaven and earth are becoming fused together within you.