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Are you too stiff?

Students of meditation (both standing and seated, the latter with or without folded legs) can appreciate the requirement of being relaxed. In a previous post "Are you on depression stance?", I talked about the difference between relaxed and depressed, as far as stance is concerned. The gist of the matter is: "relaxed but not collapsed ()". That applies to most of the body parts or structure. For certain parts of the body, some degree of tightness is actually required. The most important part being the stretched hands, that should be maintained in a stretched manner throughout the practice, and in actual fact, a totally relaxed pair of hands signals to the brain that the practice session is over. In order for chi to be created and to be spread throughout the body (the whole objective of chimeditative practice), a gradient must be created, a stretched part (hands for example) and a relaxed body. The requirement for the body is "relaxed but not collapsed" (), for the stretched parts (like the stretched hands) it is "stretched but not being stiff" (). In the beginning, it is the hands that are stretched, when a practitioner progresses, the feet will be stretched, as well as some selected points along the chi-paths. The later stretched points are usually referred to points of meditation. In Taoist yoga, it is sometimes called bathing (), without the practice of bathing, it is rather difficult to guide chi to flow smoothing along the micro-cosmic path. It is interesting to note that in zhan zhuang practice of Master Wang XianZhai , in advanced level, point mediation is used in muscles conditioning, in essence it is two point meditation with muscle contractions between (interested reader can refer to Da ChengQuan by Master Wang's student: Yu YongNian ) Some Wu-style master also use point-meditation to form a strong body structure to execute the Tai-chi Eight method (), these techniques formally have been treated as "top secret".