Kwai Chee Low A picture is worth a thousand words. Some interested people may just follow the pics to practise without going through your blog thoroughly.
Kwai Chee Low Bro Lee, just a few points: (i) when the palms are at the level of the heart (2nd posture - Holding the Ball) the distance between the wrists are at least shoulder width and the top of the thumbs must not be higher than the shoulders and (ii) when the palms are at the level of the eyeballs (3rd posture - The Great Circle) slowly pull the palms further apart so that the distance between the fingertips is the distance between the shoulders. Here I quote Master Lam's words "Feel the relaxed curve of a large open circle from the fingertips down to the toes".
Lee Chang Tye Good to know thanks.
Kwai Chee Low There are many more ZZ postures taught by Master Lam but from my personal training experience I have selected these 3 postures for the following reasons: (i) the 3 postures focus on the three dantians viz. the lower dantian (1.5in below the navel), the middle dantian (heart level) and the upper dantian (3rd eye level). (ii) the energy within the body becomes more balanced. Some practitioners especially taijiquan commonly practise only the 2nd posture and this may energise the heart chakra excessively, thus leading to an imbalance in the body's energy. Symptoms are congestion and uncomfortable feeling in this area. (iii) More systematic and natural as you are still maintaining the posture when you raise the palms from the 1st to the 3rd posture. Thus there is no disruption in the energy flow.
Lee Chang Tye Further Progress - now after a couple of months I'm feeling more comfortable in the positions (although at times it is still very tough to maintain) but actually miss the initial strong, turbulent chi sensations. The warmth of chi is more smooth and subdued and a lot of attention is in aligning of my posture whilst relaxing within this structure. It feels like my posture can lean or move with just a change in thought/intention. I feel more awareness of various parts of my body more easily and the deepening of my root I believe is more evident in my Taiji. I follow your advice Kwai Chee Low of listening to the chi flow and putting more emphasis on relaxing and it is only in the third low posture that things get intense. I've also found that a too wide or too low a stance in the first and second postures are not as conducive to the smooth buzzing flow of chi as a shoulder width moderate one. The low third posture is when the lower tailbone sacrum seems to open/lengthen and the subtle warmth of flow is very noticeable, even all the way up to my head - which I have found very unusual.
Lee Chang Tye I hope others are still practicing, overall it feels great so persist.
Kwai Chee Low Bro Lee, one comment on your first pic of Holding the Belly... Your palms should be tilted at an angle and convex... as if they are supporting a protruding belly.
And a reminder that your knees must not bow outwards.
On your progress, here's my view from personal experience:
(i) it's normal to have strong "turbulent" qi in the beginning of ZZ training. This is probably due to the extra tension in the four limbs and the intense contractions in these muscles. However after some time when these muscles get accustomed to the stress and weight, the qi sensation is less strong and you feel you have reached a plateau. This is the time to go lower in your stance and be even more relaxed. When you practise in this sustained manner there will come a time when it becomes more natural to be in a lower stance and the qi will be very strong and intense.
(i) When the ZZ is correctly performed the qi will flow through all the Meridians (energy pathways) including those in the head (Du Mai, Urinary Bladder meridian, Gall Bladder meridian and the Triple Warmer meridian).
Blood follows qi, so you'll feel the warmth spreading to the head. This is good progress.
Lee Chang Tye Thanks again for the valuable feedback Kwai Chee, I'll work on those suggestions especially the hands in posture 1, and am glad that this plateauing and deeper stance stage is normal. I don't think my knees bow outwards, I'm mindful that they generally align with the toes (is this what you mean?), its a Taiji habit. But if you are seeing something, I'll check again at every practice.