Master Yao Cheng Guang Talks about Pole standing

Health healing exercises
About pole standing of Yiquan(Yi Chuan), Master often says that if you get the essence of pole standing, you are on half way of success. So pole standing is the entrance to Yiquan(Yi Chuan). Depending of your real target in practicing Yiquan(Yi Chuan) and also your method of training, you can focus more on health healing exercises or on exercises based on combat pole standing, but both two categories have some same characteristics:
1. Mind concentration: Deepen your concentration, regulate your breathing and look into far distance.
2. Whole body relaxation: While maintaining your mind concentrated, your four limbs and your body are relaxed, but you should be able to keep your posture.
3. Breathing freely and regularly: don¡¯t inhale and exhale deeply, just respire naturally and comfortably. If you feel not good, you can breathe with mouth and nose together.
Health healing exercises are the basic of Yiquan(Yi Chuan), grouped under three kinds: standing, sitting and sleeping. The main purposes are to relax your body and calm down. How to train? According to human physiology, any movement is connected and controlled directly by our nerve system which is managed from the brain. So training our brain during these healing exercises is essential.

When you begin practicing, focus your attention and maintain your balance. You can imagine your body in hot well, warm water permeating into your body. Two key words should be constantly referred during these health healing exercises: relaxation and comfort:
1. Concentration of mind: For beginners mind concentration is often hard. The less you want to think, the more you will do. So just simply relax and lead imagination into beautiful surroundings. After a longer period of practice you be able to deepen your relaxation. When you reach certain levels, you will be relaxed enough so you can feel easy to fall asleep even during these exercises. This phenomenon is normal and not harmful to your body. But this is not what Yiquan(Yi Chuan) required, the real practice requires concentration and quietness while your eyes will focus on one target. Ideally you should choose quiet surroundings but you should also be able to concentrate in adaptable to noisy places and ignore eventual disturbances¡­

2. Relaxation: When you practice, just think that you are walking in a beautiful park with charming scenery. Some adepts think wrongly that dropping down your arms is relaxation. Actually it is just relaxation of muscles. In the other hand some others lift fiercely their torso up while being erected like a tall tree soaring into cloud. And it is also a wrong idea. The founder of Yi Quan(Yi Chuan), Master Wang Xiang Zhai answered to this comment that the more relaxing your body is, the more blood circulates and the more strength you will get. If you practice with your torso filled up your whole body will be tightened, even obtaining of smooth circulation of blood and breath with be challenging. I highly recommend any Yiquan(Yi Chuan) practitioner to pay attention to this point.
3. Respiration: Breathe naturally and freely when practicing, if you feel it necessary, you can open your mouth slightly and try to inhale with nose. Later in your progress, you can feel emptiness and fullness of your lower abdomen when you breathe. This is called ¡°abdominal breathing¡±. The highest level of respiration is that you forget it. Although you feel not breathing, it still works naturally and slowly. Now you can imagine all the pores are enlarged and exchanges with atmosphere. Don¡¯t try this forcedly and you will realize it gradually. Anyhow you should respire naturally without using your own intention to control and manage it.

4. Programming your exercises: For health healing exercises, you should follow the principle of comfort and stop when you start to feel exhaustion or any oher overdoing. You can control the time and amount of exercises on the base of your own physical strength and feelings. Because practicing can also instead of developing your potential it will consume your physical strength excessively. There are also some errors that if you sweat more, hold lower position and more concentration, you can achieve better results. But the effect is just the opposite. So you can take the normal number of heart throbbing and breath as standard. When you don¡¯t do other physical exercises besides health healing exercises, you should not feel tired the following day.

5. Internal changes inside your body: By practicing seriously and regularly Yiquan(Yi Chuan) health healing exercises, you will discover different internal reactions according to your age, daily living habits, physical strength and others personal characteristics. Among these internal reactions or sensations:
5.1 Pain
It is caused by lactic acid which will be produced when you practice. It is the normal physical phenomenon disappeared within 3-5 days. Meanwhile you will suffer pain on the part of body where you once got wounded, medical operation, stomachache, liver disease or rheumatism. It is also normal physiological reaction.
5.2 Numbness, hotness and swelling
This is because the swell of your capillary vessels inducing better blood circulation.
5.3 Shaking
The beginners cannot endure the consecutive contraction of muscles because they haven¡¯t yet the ability in muscle endurance and control of nerve system. After a certain period of practicing, this ability will improve and shaking will vanish gradually. This is the benign reaction issued from the nerve and muscle excitation.

5.4 Body dissymmetry
During the time of practice it may occur that the position of two hands may be different or one hand is hot, another cold because due to the new requirements of vegetative nerves, the relaxation and contraction of muscles are unable to adjust or remaining effects of some diseases contracted before. This is also the normal reaction of your internal organs changes.
5.5 Comfort
When you reach certain level, the reinforcement and improvement of mind control and body metabolism contribute to this sense of comfort. In addition there are also other phenomena such as weeping, yawning and burping when you are exercising. Just let it be and don¡¯t constrain purposely.

After mind inducing and training of relaxation and quietness of whole body, there are two functions of health healing exercises:
1. Body building and healing
In order to get good health the more important is to follow a right and suitable way. Master Wang Xiang Zhai said ¡°if you practice in a wrong way, you will severely threaten your body and your mind, maybe for lifetime... If you don¡¯t believe me just take a look at Martial Arts Masters in the past. Many were paralyzed. The purpose of practicing health healing exercises is to strengthen human body, but what if it is actually harming it?¡±.
So again it is a main concern to focus on more on external and internal body training through the mind inducing under imperative conditions of relaxation and quietness of muscles. Then this is the optimal conditions to improve your internal organs functions while avoiding any side effects. In relation with physiology relaxation and quietness of muscles can tend to reduce the excitation of sympathetic nerve system and increase the excitation of minor sympathetic nerve system.
- Usually under stressing situation, you may tense nervously your body then you will induce faster heart beating, deeper breathing, higher blood pressure and more consumption of oxygen, and you can even becoming pale with cold sweat and erection of hair. This is due to higher excitation of the sympathetic nerve system. Large amount of your body cells are requested while consuming more energy, so you may feel finally really exhausted. If this situation persist in time, then your health will be directly affected because your will not be able to adjust consequently.
- Health healing exercises under relaxation and quietness conditions may control the excitation of sympathetic nerve effectively and stimulate minor sympathetic nerve more inducing slower heart beating, lower blood pressure, balanced breath and less consumption of energy. The brain finds sufficient rest then can adjust and allow nerve system to be properly excited. As an immediate result, you will gain better health, gaining in overall optimism while recovering from previous diseases.

In China patients can choose suitable postures themselves based on the advices from doctors and Yiquan(Yi Chuan) instructors with the imperative condition of regular practice:
2. Unifying your overall body power
Due to daily life habits, everyone is used to request only parts of the body(and partial nerve system) which fit directly to daily life and work physical demands etc. This is the opposite approach in comparison with the wholeness power required in practicing Yiquan(Yi Chuan). Through mind inducing and health healing exercises while conditions of relaxation and quietness of muscles fulfilled, this sensation of wholeness can be achieved. Then under this sensation of wholeness you will increase the flexibility of partial nerve system and also muscles which seldom exercised to take part in: unifying partial nerves and muscles as a whole. It happens that at this stage some learners may say that they feel having more strength or aptitude in combat with opponents at the beginning of practicing health healing exercise, but then later it seems to them losing part of this strength or encountering more difficulties in combat situation.
There is a reason for all these: they are in the intermediate sage where they have eliminated their previous partial force utilization and where they are still building up the way to use a whole unified body power.

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