All great masters of Chinese health and martial arts have spoken about the importance of training one’s internal energy (qi) as well as the external form. One of the most proven methods employed for building internal energy is the standing meditation, Embracing the Tree.
The body needs to be correctly aligned so that all force sinks to the ground through the feet. At first, many people will experience soreness and tightness in the shoulders, arms and neck. Gradually, the muscles relax and the tendons and connective tissues become stronger. Tension flows slowly down the torso, through the legs and into the ground.
It is very important to practise Embracing the Tree daily, even if only a few minutes. Students who seek the greatest health and strengthening benefits should begin practising the Standing for 5 minutes and gradually build up to 20 minutes. This could be achieved over a period of 3 to 12 months. During this time, you will feel as if your feet have taken root into the ground - thus, the analogy of a tree. The Standing Qigong exercise is very important in helping you to sink your qi to the Dan Tian (the body centre). Many Tai Chi masters who practise the method of Embracing the Tree can withstand the push of three or more people.