Lisa El-Kerdi



            Wall Squatting is an ancient Chinese temple exercise that has been secretly practiced for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. It was considered so powerful that masters sent students out of their chambers before practicing.  With the popularization of Qigong many of the old secrets are now being revealed to the general public. Thanks to Chi-Lel Qigong, this practice has been opened up to the West.



             Some of the many benefits of Wall Squatting are outlined below. This is only a partial list of the benefits experienced by practitioners.

 1.      Opens Mingmen and Nourishes Chi in the Lower Dantien.


2.      Opens and Aligns the Entire Spine.


3.      Opens and Clears Governing and Conception Vessels.


4.      Massages and Detoxifies the Internal Organs.


5.      Exercises the Cardio-Vascular System.


6.      Increases the Circulation of Cerebral Spinal Fluid in the Central Nervous System.


7.      Provides a Non-Impactful Weight Bearing Exercise.


8.      Can Provide a Non-Impactful Aerobic Exercise (Power Squats).


9.      Aids in Stress Reduction.


10.  Aids in Weight Reduction.


11.  Moves Chi Through the Entire Body.


12.  Gives the Practitioner “Thighs of Steel Covered in Silk” (Luke Chan).







1.      Stand in proper Qigong posture* a few inches away from the wall. Most novices will need to place a book under the heels. (A phone book works beautifully as you can tear out pages as you progress.)


2.      Keeping spine straight, lean into the wall from the ankles (not the neck or the waist) until forehead and nose touch the wall.


3.      Relax the shoulders and allow arms to fall naturally in front of the body. (Don’t slump.)


4.      Keeping tailbone pointed toward the floor, pull navel to mingmen and mingmen out toward the horizon.


5.      With knees gently pressed together and tailbone pointed toward the floor, squat down the wall by dropping the buttocks. (As Frank Chan says, “When the butt goes down, everything else will follow.”)  Forehead stays against the wall the entire time. Take care that knees do not separate or come forward over the toes. Movement should be fluid and controlled.


6.      When you have reached the lowest point, begin the ascent by pulling up from mingmen and bai-hui rather than pushing with the thighs. Think of the tailbone as the scoop of a backhoe that is scooping up chi from the earth. Tip of tailbone should never be pushed outward away from the wall.


7.      With shoulders relaxed, slowly ascend up the wall to your starting position (leaning into the wall).





1.      Leaning into the wall from the neck or waist. This throws you out of alignment.


2.      Pushing tailbone out from the wall. Rather than opening mingmen, you have now pushed it inward. This posture usually results in knees coming forward as well.


3.      Knees separate or come forward from toes. These are the two most dangerous mistakes as they can result in knee injury. When executed properly, wall squats will not cause pressure to the knees. Instead, the knees simply act as hinges. It is essential that weight be kept back to avoid possible knee injury.


4.      Bending from the waist rather than dropping the tailbone to squat. This mistake results in the back coming parallel to the floor with the tailbone pushed out.


5.      Pushing up from the floor rather than pulling up from mingmen. Pushing up results in the tailbone coming out from the wall and the shoulderblades being pushed up into the neck, which can cause thoracic or cervical strain. In addition, it can cause pressure to the knees.


6.      T1 (first thoracic vertebra) coming out from the wall. This causes you to fall back. T1 must be kept stable and close to the wall for the entire movement. (Frank Chan)





            Many newcomers to wall squats may suffer from health challenges that require modifications to the general instructions. First and foremost, never exceed your sensible limits! Respect that wall squatting is a process to use as a tool in your healing rather than a performance. The goal is to expand your current range of motion rather than to execute a “perfect” wall squat.  Below are several alternatives that may aid you in beginning this practice.



1.     Do half-squats. It is not necessary to squat all the way to the floor to benefit from this exercise. If executed properly, squats will open your mingmen with only about a six-inch drop down the wall.


2.      Stand with feet about shoulder-width apart. This will increase stability for those who deal with balance or lower back problems. However, care must be taken if you have knee problems, as you will have lost the protection obtained from pressing knees together.


3.      Stand in a doorway holding onto the doorjamb with feet on either side of the jamb. Simply rock back as if you are sitting down, allowing arms to straighten as you hold the jamb. You should feel the stretch in your mingmen. Weight is always back with knees acting only as hinges. Hold stretch, then pull up to an erect position.  This is an excellent way to begin for those who are more seriously compromised.


4.      Stand in a doorway with hands lightly on the jamb. Begin squatting as outlined in the general instructions, allowing hands to move lightly down the jamb. When you have reached your limit while keeping the form intact, hold onto the jamb and stretch a little further.


5.      If you have neck injury, it is important to stand as close to the wall as possible in order to keep the neck open at all times. When you stand with toes to the wall, the wall acts as braces for the spine. In fact, the ultimate wall squat is executed with toes to the wall and feet flat on the floor.





*Qigong Posture: Stand with feet together, body relaxed, baihui raised. Round hips, mingmen and back. Keep chest hollow and open, shoulders relaxed, arms at sides. Tongue touches upper palate.