St John Chrysostom born in the middle of the fourth century near the Syrian-Turkish border was to be a pagan of great stature. That chapter of his life came to a close when he heard the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Immediately drawn to the Christian life he left paganism and launched himself into an ascetic life by his mid 20's. The change took him on a profound journey. He studied and meditated on the Bible until it most of it was memorized.
He spent nearly 2 years standing and barely sleeping as he learned God's word. Not surprisingly he began to develop health issues, namely kidney and stomach issues.
By the age of 40 John was a popular orator preaching on the virtues of giving and emphasized the need for a straightforward interpretation of scripture. He was extremely loved by people because of his kind and gentle heart. He would also refuse to spend time in lavish surroundings and preferred the company of ordinary people.
Beyond his eloquent preaching, John influenced the church by developing the Christian liturgy. He harmonized the prayers of the church with the celebration of the holy ceremony commemorating the Last Supper. Nearly 1700 years later Orthodox Christians all over the world still celebrate every Sunday under John's instruction.
The most common way people attend church is sitting down. If you are an Orthodox Christian chances are you stand through the service, or at least most of it. It was said that St John found a great deal of peace while standing, additionally he felt his concentration improved.
Surprisingly, a study published in November 2015 by Experimental Physiology noted that being sedentary in a seated position increases our cardiovascular risk. They found that a 3 hour period of uninterrupted sitting was enough to caused a 33 percent decrease in cardio-vascular function. Even more alarming the effects also translated to children who spend more than 60 percent of their time sitting.
According to the University of Queensland in Australia their study shows that just by standing an extra two hours a day versus sitting lowered blood sugar levels by and average of 2% and lowered triglycerides in the blood by and average of 11%. Standing was also attributed to lower bad cholesterol and higher good HDL cholesterol. In other words standing two hours a day can help your cardio-vascular health.
Researchers caution that people should consult with a doctor before adopting a standing practice and that an approach that combines exercise and a good diet is ultimately the best method.
The new findings have given rise to new products like the standing desk. But Orthodox Christians stand for approximately 2 hours for each church service for centuries.
Naturally standing for too long is not healthy, but breaking the habit of sitting is. So maybe you should attend church more often and just stand.
How To Perform Standing Christian Meditation
Before you begin, make sure you wear comfortable shoes. High heals and tight shoes will not help. Comfortable shoes that support your posture are ideal. Generally, a good pair of running shoes should do the trick.
1.Pray. Pray that God may help. Submit to God in prayer, be humble. God exalts the humble.
2. Stand straight up with your feet shoulder about width apart and parallel to one another.
3. Your knees should not be locked, instead they should feel loose, or slightly bent.
4. Watch your back. Your spine should feel like it's inward or outward. It should feel natural. The key to standing for a long period is to tilt the pelvic area inward just a little which produces a relaxed feeling.
5. If you need to move around, or stretch, go ahead and go back to your posture.
6. Breathe with a regular pattern. Try inhaling with 5 one second counts, and exhaling with 7 one second counts. This will relax your mind.
7. Either look at an image you like, or just concentrate on scripture. This step works best at church. Looking at a cross, verse, or worshiping God with prayer or song are the best ways to practice your standing meditation.
8. Your hands should be at your side and should hang naturally.
MEDITATION TIP: Stay focused on the object of your meditation. Whether it's prayer, song, or an image of Jesus, stay focused. Staying focused will inspire your mind and make time fly by. Try to incrementally increase you standing time. At first you may only be able to stand for 10 or 15 minutes. As you practice you will be able to stand for long periods of time. I've found that the practice also helps when standing in line. Patience is a great virtue to cultivate and provides extraordinary growth.
God bless you. Hope to see you at church. I'll be the guy standing.