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Originally posted by efattah
Chi-Gong Standing meditation and HARD pranayama produces very similar effects & side effects, when it comes to your nervous system. I woul say standing meditation is psychologically easier to perform, because to get the same results with pranayama requires very excruciating cycle times and tremendous concentration.
However, on the same note, if you can do the long cycle times of pranayama, then you need to practice for a much shorter period:
6 cycles of hard bhastrika (20:200:40)
30 minutes of nadi shodhana (16:64:32)
60-90 min of standing meditation
Careful, in zhanzhuang (standing like a post/tree) the more is not better. You must stand according to your energy levels. Hyperactive people will benefit with just 15-20 min., people with lower active levels can go up to an hour without getting burnt out. Anyway practising 20 min. per day for 20 years will take you to the same results as if you practice 1 hour every day for 5 years. Rushing in Qigong is bad stuff. It's like homeopathy
With the standing meditation, you *really* need to do a sitting meditation afterwards, otherwise you get hit with side effects (twitchy energy, uncontrolled libido, inability to sleep, etc.)
Not necessarily, what counts is the cool down period afterwards. Also practising a moving set of any of the Qigong variations will avoid negative side effects. Allowing the mind to wander is bad stuff, it will accumulate qi in the head. This leads eventually to psychosis and other mental conditions. Circulate qi in the du mai and ren mai channels to avoid gathering qi in the head. Doing still sitting meditation after zhanzhuang is only needed at night time. Anyway never practice any Qigong close to noon or midnight as it can alter the circadian rhythms of the body. Bad stuff.
However, with the pranayama, I can get away without an extra meditation afterwards, even though it still helps.
Both the pranayama and chi-gong have similar effects on the nervous system. However, the chi-gong has dramatic muscular effects (improved neuromuscular coordination and increased power generation, as well as reduced neuromuscular tension). The chi-gong, for those reasons, works wonderfully for static as well as diving. However, it gives no ability to resist CO2 and it does not thicken your blood (increase hemoglobin). The pranayama increases your CO2 tolerance and increases hemoglobin (if done hard enough). Interestingly, both chi-gong standing and pranayama make contractions feel really good.
To elaborate on this topic would take hours. This is just an overview of what I have experienced.
Obviously, a combination of both might be the best idea.
I used to start with 20 minutes of standing meditation, then do a hard bhastrika set. The bhastrika was MUCH easier to do after doing the standing meditation.
Eric, I guess you were sticking to the 20 min. period as you are an active kind of person. Standing longer than that would have been be counterproductive. Remember here that internal exhaustion is like physical exhaustion mixed with nervous exhaustion. Once you're internally exhausted the recovery time is very long (I'm following here Frantzis recommendation, which I also experienced myself). In other words zhanzhuang should be stopped for at least a week or two depending on how badly you're overtrained. Anyway in zhanzhuang time is not as important as quality of no-tension and qi flow. The more concentrated you are on emptying yourself of any existing tensions in your body and on moving qi either in the microcosmic or the macrocosmic levels the better. Also grounding (sending qi deep down into the earth to allow a good Heaven (Cosmos) and Earth connection) will facilitate an optimal circulation of qi in the major channels (du mai/ren mai, arms and legs). Also grounding will stop qi from getting stuck in the head as the bipolarity is maintained (Heaven-Yang/Earth-Yin). Your mind will tell the practitioner when to stop otherwise the major rule of Tao would be broken: Be soft and gentle like water, still like the surface of a pond. Personally I stay away from fire/breathing zhanzhuangs since things get more complicated. Also a direct and daily monitoring of a very experienced practitioner will be required to avoid physiological & psychological and spiritual damage
I hope my info is helpful. Thanks.