The Amazing Balancing Act by Wasentha Young


Standing an egg-on-end requires an approach similar to what we learn in both T'ai Chi (Taiji) and Ch'i Kung (Qigong) Standing Meditation. Setting your feet, or in this case the end of the egg, down on a surface in a relaxed and supportive way will help insure that eventually it will stand upright and balanced. Metaphorically, finding balance in our lives also requires being grounded in much the same way. Being relaxed and still for a period of time "fixes" can settle us in the moment.

Wasentha Young


Stabilize the egg in-between the first two fingers of both hands; this creates a frame. With the egg-top upright the yolk, or center of the egg, can begin to settle down. For practitioners of T'ai Chi and Ch'i Kung, Standing Meditations become the frame. As the egg yolk has not settle just yet it will tip one way, then another. You can use the support of your fingers to keep it from falling.

Changes in perspective need to be taken. One student told me that she gave her egg a few shakes downward to help the yolk to settle. Picking it up and warming the egg in your hands may also be an option. As you practice T'ai Chi and Ch'i Kung Standing Meditation, continuously reflect on your posture mechanics. It will help to keep you in the moment, and reset you if discomfort and tensions develop.

Things you can do:

  • Shake or wiggle your body and start again.
  • Make sure your feet are about shoulder width and hips slightly flexed;
  • Your head is upright;
  • Your feet relaxed on the ground;
  • Your alignment straight and upright with the lower back relaxed;
  • Your knees softened;
  • You are breathing;
  • You are relaxing downward; etc.

Have patience, remember to breathe, and stay open to the possibility that your egg will stand balanced in space and on that surface in time. As the egg tilts this way and that, it is easy to get impatient and decide that it is just not going to happen. Some students even decide that Master Young was giving them an impossible task. It is highly probable that you have not allotted enough time to succeed. [There is always the possibility that the egg or surface is not quite right.]

So, there you are… waiting, breathing, practicing, waiting, breathing, practicing; then all of a sudden—it happens; the egg or you is standing upright. It is not tilting—it's just there, standing. However, I wouldn't walk away from it… leaving your egg to just balance on its own. If someone slams a door, the building shakes, or something unknowingly shifts, your egg will fall, roll off of the surface and break when it hits the ground. Well then, you will have a mess to clean up.

Reprinted from Qi Journal Winter 2011-2012.

Wasentha Young is the Director of the Peaceful Dragon School in Ann Arbor, MI.