I've recently started with Zhan Zhuang following the book The Way of Energy. But I still can't figure out how to sink down and have my back straight at the same time.I suppose that the final pose should look like this picture from the book:
However, when I try to do it, I keep falling backward. I know I can sink lower (as long as muscles are concerned) but I'm not able to maintain the balance.Do you have any tips? MM
MM,First off, the Way of Energy by Kam Lam Chuen is a great book and one that I often recommend. In fact, it's listed as one of my "Life Changing Books". Regarding the "sinking down", I've asked may teachers over the years about their thoughts on the topic. At first, I just muscled my way and sank down in a deep wushu (kung fu) style horse stance. However, over time I've begun to realize that maybe the goal isn't necessarily to see how low one can go in zhan zhuang, but to try and maintain good alignment. Regarding alignment in zhan zhuang, I will refer you to what I consider one of the best articles written on the topic. The post is from Rick of Wujifa and he wrote an EXCELLENT article on Zhan Zhuang Alignment. In fact, I have visited Rick and felt FIRST-HAND what correct alignment feels like and TRUST ME, you don't have to be in a low stance to get it. In fact, Rick adjusted my posture while I was in a very high stance (maybe 20 degree bend in knees) and I felt the BURN in my legs and almost began shaking. This type of correction can only be experienced through the transmission of touch with a good teacher. If you don't have regular access to a good teacher, check out a Chen Xiao Wang workshop and ask for Pizza 😉 I'm reminded of a comment made by Rick of Wujifa: "You are where you are, and that's where you start." If you feel yourself falling backwards, then don't go that low. Go to where you feel stable and aligned. Good luck.
w. ps. For other readers out there, feel free to chime in 😉