Dark birds burst intofiight. They dive and scatter in the wind. High distantclouds trail long pale shadows on the earth — the daylight changes with the moving sky.
The tree stands open to the heavens, touched by every! movement ofthe air. The driving ivind curls round its leaves. Its branches shake against the sky.
Gusts trace their fiying patterns in the grass. The ivoody stems of saplings sway and twist. Small bushes wave like slender wands in children's hands.
The tree stands guard, its mighty limbs outstretched toward the wind. Its roots are firm within the earth, its trunk is calm. It is a place ofshelter and it stands its ground.
Look! The silenttree has gathered up the current ofthe wind. It floats in place like driftwood on the waves.
This advanced exercise draws on all the basic Zhan Zhuang positions. Note that the sequence of movements is not in the same order as the sequence you have learned. It is based on the order that generates the maximum flow of energy. It should ideally be commenced only on the advice of your instructor.
You may find it a great help to put on some soft music for the duration of this exercise. If you put on a 30-minute tape, with a little practice you will be able to progress smoothly through the circle of positions in the correct time.
PRACTICAL TIPS There are two other points to bear in mind: first, you can do the full circle with your eyes closed. Your closed eyes and the soft music will greatly aid relaxation through this intense exercise. Second, note that as you drop down in the second and fifth positions, your arms are in fact rising into higher positions, and that as you begin to rise up into the fourth and third positions, returning to the first position, your arms move into lower positions.
Begin in the first position - the Wu Chi (seep. 29). Then move gradually through the other four positions in the sequence shown on the facing page.
When you begin this exercise, hold the first position for two minutes, then the second position for five minutes, and then allow two minutes for each of the other positions, finishing with two minutes in the firstposition.
After you have reached this standard, move on to spend five minutes in each of the positions, finishing in the first position. This will take halfan hour altogether.
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