Endorphins and Qigong

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You will notice that you begin to feel a pleasant sensation at a certain point in your practice of Standing Zen. I have experienced an amazing feeling of uplift on the last day of a tough Karate training camp after I practiced Standing Zen, despite being completely exhausted before. I was amazed at how much power I found that I still had. But the sensations that I derived from Standing Zen were qualitatively different than the simple uplift that I experienced in the Karate training camp.

In Standing Zen, at first, you notice that your mind is very clear. Since your whole body is relaxed, you feel as if there is an axis running straight through your body. The feeling is something like a top that is standing straight while turning at high speed, or like becoming pure consciousness and no longer feeling your physical body. There then comes a moment when you suddenly get a new idea, or come up with an answer you have been seeking.

It seems that endorphin is the substance that changes a suffering or painful sensation into a pleasant one. Endorphins are neurotransmitters produced by the brain that behave as pain regulators and are also thought to contribute to euphoric feelings. Acupuncture is a stimulus that can promote the release of endorphins. You may have heard before about the method of administering anesthesia with acupuncture that was invented recently by qigong master Lin Hou-Shen in China. At one point, this was considered a wonder, but since the discovery of endorphins it is easily explained.

People practice asceticism in various disciplines, including Yoga, the martial arts, and many religions. Endorphins produced in the brain as a result of ascetic practices help to alter practitioners' consciousness. But the clear consciousness achieved in Standing Zen is not caused solely by endorphins, but also by dopamine, which is the single most important neurotransmitter for awakening pleasant sensations and creative impulses in the brain. Before I explain in the next chapter how dopamine functions, I would like to introduce the correct way to practice Standing Zen (see also Figure 14-1).

How to practice Standing Zen

1. Relax your feet, knees, and the inguinal region. Relax the chest and throat. The most important thing here is to open the acupuncture point Ming-Men (on the back, at the same height as the navel).

2. Your arms will rise of their own accord when qi starts to flow through them. You will then start to feel that your arms are weightless.

3. Find your center of gravity, and the proper position for your hips, by swinging your arms back and forth slightly, and then stand still. (Your waist should be held rather low.)

4. Exhale with your mouth open. After a short pause keep exhaling the rest of the air in three short breaths, with your lips rounded, as if you were blowing out a candle. Then inhale naturally. When you repeat this breathing method, your breathing will slow considerably.

5. Concentrate on making a qi ball or on circulating qi through your body with the Microcosmic or Macrocosmic Orbit methods. (This is essential for using qi energy freely.)


1. Before you begin doing Standing Zen, perform qigong exercises (the Microcosmic Orbit method) since this relaxes the body and helps to adjust the backbone.

2. Don't forget to do some kind of exercise like stretching or taking a short walk at the end of your practice. You must quickly bring your consciousness back from the qi stage to the real world. While you are in a state of deep meditation produced by the practice of Standing Zen, the mind seems to influence deep parts of the brain.

If you stand too rigidly, you will not be able to practice abdominal breathing easily because your Ming-Men will be closed (Figure 14-3). When Ming-Men is open, you can breathe easily and qi energy is free to flow through the whole body. If you do not open Ming-Men, Standing Zen becomes pure torture. Not only that, but bad posture can also damage your back or your inner organs. For instance, wearing high-heeled shoes forces you to stand "at attention" and has the effect of keeping Ming-Men closed. Wearing this type of shoe can lead to back pain or autonomic imbalance caused by shallow breathing.

Another reason that I recommend Standing Zen is that this discipline makes it easy to avoid earthy thoughts. This point distinguishes it from most forms of meditation.

Figure 14-3

Breathing when Ming-Men is open or closed.

Ming-Men open '

Ming-Men open '

In this posture it is easy to breathe from the abdomen.

Ming-Men closed

Ming-Men closed

This posture allows for only shallow breathing.

In this posture it is easy to breathe from the abdomen.

This posture allows for only shallow breathing.

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Meditation for Everyday Living

Meditation for Everyday Living

Always wondered what meditation is all about but didn't knew who to ask? Here are some great information which will answer all of you questions on meditation. Do you want to improve your life? Are there areas of your life that just aren’t quite right? I felt the same way a few years ago. Although I had a good job and a nice family, there were parts of my life that definitely needed improvement.

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  • frediano moretti
    Do you open mingmen when doing standing meditation?
    8 years ago
  • Genet
    How to do qigong exercises that boost endorphins?
    8 years ago

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