Holding The Tiger

Holding the Tiger

Holding the Tiger is one of the most advanced postures in this entire Zhan Zhuang system. It relaxes your hips and lower back, strengthens the Tan Tien and the Kwa tendons of the inner thighs, and tones the major muscles in your legs.

Begin by standing in Wu Chi for five minutes, relaxing throughout and ensuring that you release any tension in your abdomen, hips and lower back.

Continue by standing in the posture, Holding the Ball (page 13), for a further five minutes. Relax your shoulders and chest, feeling completely supported by the energy around you.

Then turn into the On Guard position (pages 36-37). Settle into this posture, with at least 60 percent of your weight on your rear leg. The ball and toes of your front foot touch the ground, while your heel is slightly raised.

Once you are stable in the On Guard position, slowly incline your torso forwards. Be sure to move your upper body as one unit, keeping the same alignment of your head, shoulders, arms and hands. Continue the incline until your fingers are pointing towards the ground as shown in the picture on the facing page. Adjust your gaze to follow the line of your front hand towards the space ahead of you.

After practicing this first stage, you can enter the position directly from Holding the Ball. Take a large step backwards with one foot, placing it firmly on the ground at a 45-degree angle. Then transfer your weight back to that leg and lower yourself into Holding the Tiger. Your stance will be more extended and deeper. You can use the ball of your front foot to press your weight backwards towards your rear leg.

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