Basic Standing Meditation
Don't just do something... stand there! A traditional practice
in qigong, standing meditation is also common in many other traditions.
It is great for those who get too drowsy when sitting or lying
down to meditate. It is also an easy form to learn, as you'll
see here. First we're going to describe a somewhat generic version
that is more traditional, and then we'll look at a couple other
ways you can stand while meditating.
Start by choosing a quiet place where there are not many potential
distractions. This might be a basement, or any room that isn't
used much. You might even set up a space in a shed or garage.
Try to make it pleasant, and not too hot or cold. If you have
a quiet spot where you can face a window, and if the view is
of a natural setting, that can be a great place to do this.
Stand with your feet pointing forward and about a foot apart
(find a comfortable stance). Loosen up your body by shrugging
your shoulders, bending your knees, and letting the tension drain
out of your muscles. Then stand erect and look straight forward.
If you are standing correctly you should be able to relax your
neck and face and shoulders. Let your arms fall to your sides
and close your eyes gently.
Take a deep breath or two through your nose, and then allow
your breathing to fall into a comfortable pattern that you can
maintain effortlessly. Pay attention to the air moving in and
out through your nose. When your mind wanders, don't fight it,
but just bring attention back to your breathing. That's really
all there is to this simplest form of standing meditation. Continue
for at least ten minutes, and preferably twenty minutes. If you
are not sure you can judge the time passing, a small alarm can
be used, but make it one that has a gentle chime (perhaps a watch
placed nearby under a towel).
You may have noticed that the practice described above is
just like any traditional breath-watching session, but standing
instead of sitting. There are also other ways to use the upright
posture. For example, some techniques involve leaving the eyes
open and putting your hands out in front of you with fingertips
touching, as though you are encircling something. Your palms
should be facing the area below your navel. You might start by
doing this for ten minutes and extend the sessions after a week
of daily practice.
This technique is said to facilitate the flow of qi (life
energy) through the body. Some practitioners of qigong say that
it can take thirty minutes for our qi to cycle completely. Your
goal, then, is to work up to sessions that last at least thirty
Another way to stand and meditate is to use the first method
outlined above, but have your sessions in different stimulating
environments. You do not want distractions, but standing above
a beautiful valley and meditating provides a unique experience.
When you open your eyes after ten or twenty minutes you will
probably feel that things look different; clearer and more beautiful.
Other locations to try could include lakes, rivers, woods, flower
gardens, and anyplace that can inspire feelings of awe.
The Easiest Way
If you have trouble maintaining concentration for ten or twenty
(or thirty) minutes, there are some techniques you can learn
and practice, like labeling distractions or focusing on an object.
These are better explained elsewhere. The easiest way to improve
your meditation sessions is to use brainwave entrainment recordings.
The preferred way to do that is with an MP3 player, because you
can easily use it anywhere. You can download a good meditation
recording that uses "binaural beats" or brainwave entrainment
and be ready to listen to it in minutes. If you decide to try
this, here is a link to some good
brainwave entrainment CDs.