Horse Stance – Important Qigong Foundations
This vlog is by White Tiger Qigong Senior Instructor, Matthew Jessner. In this vlog he shares and talks about the fundamentals and techniques of improving the Horse Stance.
The Horse Stance is one of the basic stances in practices such as Qigong, Wushu, and other Martial Arts. The term Horse Stance was derived from the similarity of the stance and the position of riding a horse. However, the name does not have any connection to the function of the stance.
Horse Stance helps build endurance which you need to be able to develop more advanced practices. If you can maintain and hold a good horse stance, doing more dynamic practices will be easier for you to develop.
Lower Body Strength
The horse stance helps strengthen the lower body which is very essential in most practices like qigong and other martial arts.
Building mobility helps us in understanding how to move our bodies properly. This is very important when doing movements from simple to more dynamic ones.
Reducing Lower Back Pain
Doing the Horse stance helps reduce lower back pain because it helps you develop proper posture and stances. This helps the body go back to its natural body alignment.
Improve Mental Strength and Determination
The horse stance can be very challenging, physically and also mentally. This makes it a great practice to improve mental strength and determination. Holding this stance for long periods allows our minds to become more resilient. For most martial artists the Horse Stance is one of the fundamental physical training that helps sharpen both physical and mental states.
Improves Movement and Transitions
Although practitioners hold the Horse Stance for long periods, the purpose of this stance is often not to hold, but to move. It is more often used as a transition stance to propel movement by using the power of the legs and hips. For example in the Dragon Qigong from the 5 Element Qigong.
“Bu” literally translates to step rather than stance. So it was made not meant to remain still but to move. However, there are still some systems of qigong that hold the Horse Stance just like the 8 Trigram Qigong which has other benefits such as strengthening the Kidney and Yang energy.
Moving through this stance requires proper alignments and positioning to reduce injuries and that is why it needs to be practiced on its own.
Help you become grounded and find your center of gravity
Finding your center of gravity is very important in movement to help you maintain stability and balance as you move from one position to the next.
Horse Stance for Beginners
The horse stance is both challenging, yet it is very significant. It takes time to reach the maximum depth of this stance. Dedication, discipline, and hard work are needed to train for it. However, understanding your body is also a must. Do not focus on being perfect, what is important is progress.
Concepts and Fundamentals
You will pursue the horse stance forever. We build our stance and we build our body within that. We improve our stance and we build our body structure.
In the horse stance, we are standing, yet we are not static. The stance has a purpose, with the legs outside, allowing the possibility of our body to move forward, sideways, and even rotate. This also allows us to lower or rise. This stance may be simple yet, it allows many movements in many ways that is why we need to train our horse stance to be strong and proper.
Important Key Points
The foot is flat on the floor with barefoot or thin shoes.
Lift the arches of the foot by engaging the foot and drawing it up, like holding a beach ball with one hand.
In this way you do not need much tension to grab the beach ball, but only like a gentle suction. This helps in drawing the energy from the Yong Quan point or the Bubbling Spring. So the energy in doing the horse stance is not only grounded as it seems but also pulling up.
The pelvic floor pulls up
The energy draws up from the foot to the inside of the legs.
The leg structure of every person may be different. The way the femur or the thigh bone connects into the pelvic structure and the way that the thigh bone goes into the tibia or shin bone are different for each individual. There are different pros and cons for every bone structure, however, we can adjust the muscular configuration around that structure to a certain desirable degree. We can do a lot with the way we are made.
Technique to Widen the Horse Stance
45 degrees out and about 4 to 5 times outwards until you reach a structure that is wider than shoulder-width apart.
Photo from Yee’s Hung Ga Kung Fu Academy
End with feet facing straight and front.
If you feel a little tension from the feet facing straight and front, from the outside of the ankle or the outside of the knee, you can release the feet out slightly so you can harmonize the legs.
The reason for the feet facing straight front is because this will help you have more stability. When your feet are outwards, the feet are “rolling” and you have no front-to-back stability. It makes it difficult for the Yong Quan to connect to the earth. These are very important to mobility. Having the feet facing straight and front allows for greater mobility.
Technique in Releasing the Horse Stance
Gently release the ankles and knees.
Allow the pelvis to hang down, and the back lift.
Open the chest – like a fountain.
Keep the pelvis under the pelvic girdle nice and neutral. So your pelvis is not sticking inwards or backward, but just having a sensation of sitting.
For beginners, you don’t need to build the depth immediately, focus on the form. If we focus on building progressively in time, your Ma Bu will naturally add depth. Build your Ma Bu from the ground up.
Horse Stance Training
Training the horse stance may not be one of the most favorites, however, it, sure has a lot of benefits and is very essential for training. Taking your time and understanding this stance h p you improve a lot in your practice, whether you are practicing qigong, o other martial arts.