Ancient Life Cultivation Methods

15 Advisable Actions

  1. It is advisable to comb your hair often.
  2. It is advisable to rub your face often.
  3. It is advisable to move your eyeballs often.
  4. It is advisable to rap on your ears(occiput) often.
  5. It is advisable to click your teeth often.
  6. It is advisable to swallow your saliva often.
  7. It is advisable to warm your back often.
  8. It is advisable to protect your chest often.
  9. It is advisable to massage your abdomen often.
  10. It is advisable to contract your anus(muscular contraction) often.
  11. It is advisable to rub your soles often.
  12. It is advisable to shake your limbs often.
  13. It is advisable to touch your palate with your tongue often.
  14. It is advisable to keep your skin dry often.
  15. It is advisable to be silent when you relieve yourself.

 

Various Impairments & Injuries

  • Reading for too long brings impairment of blood.
  • Sleeping for too long brings impairment of Qi.
  • Sitting for too long brings impairment of flesh.
  • Standing for too long brings impairment of bone.
  • Walking for too long brings impairment of tendons.
  • Thinking for too long brings impairment of spleen.
  • Too much anger brings impairment of liver.
  • Too much worry brings impairment of heart.
  • Too much sorrow brings impairment of lung.
  • Too much horror brings impairment of kidney.
  • Too much food brings impairment of stomach.
  • Too much exertion brings impairment of diaphragm.
  • Being injured by wind in spring usually causes diarrhea in summer.
  • Being injured by heat in summer usually causes malaria in autumn.
  • Being injured by dankness in autumn usually causes a cough in winter.
  • Being injured by cold in winter usually causes seasonal febrile disease in spring.
  • Being full and drunk to copulate causes exhaustion of spirit and strength.
  • Speaking during midnight’s sleep causes much loss of Qi.
  • Sitting(or sleeping) in wet places causes numbness,arthralgia or leprosy.
  • Braving wind and rain causes somatic heaviness and pain.
  • Overeating causes dysentery and abscess.
  • Do not take food after your anger.
  • Do not be angry after your meal.
  • Do not take cold food or drink after being drunk.
  • Do not sleep immediately after being sated with food.

 

Energy Flow(Qi) Cultivation Methods

In the midnight, a little while of still and quiet sitting(without thinking) is substantial to generate Qi in your whole body.

Whenever you are free, stir your tongue in the mouth, touch your palate with your tongue, wait for the saliva to be produced, gargle with the saliva in the mouth, gulp the saliva down with a gurgling sound, meanwhile quickly draw in a breath of fresh air through your nose and mentally direct(envision,as if you see) the fresh air accompanying the saliva(regarded as an energy flow) to flow down to “Dantian”(the point 2” below the navel inside the underbelly, hold on for a little while. Now slightly contract up your anus, mentally direct the energy flow to go backwards to “Weilu” , then to flow upwards through “Jiaji” and “Yuzhen”, and finally to arrive at “Niwan”. Now this is a completed circle. So go round and begin again.

Frequently doing this exercise will make you healthy, strong and energetic. And you will have a sensation of the energy flow flowing in your body.

Translated by W. Zhiliang from some Chinese Traditional Medicine books published in the Qing Dynasty.

Reference: Sinoherb

Lishen Gong

Kidney Regulation Exercise

Functions: Regulates the blood and of the Kidney Channel, nourishes the kidneys, strengthens Yang (vital function), and invigorates primordial energy. Methods

1. Taking Black Qi. Assume a standing, sitting, or lying posture and relax. Place the tongue against the palate and expel distractions. Tap the upper and lower teeth together 36 times, and stir the resulting saliva with the tongue. After tapping, swallow the saliva in three segments sending each one down to the Dantian. Imagine the color black. Inhale it nasally and fill the mouth with it. Send it slowly to the kidneys during expiration. Repeat this 6–12 times. Resume starting posture to complete exercise.

2. Rubbing the Abdomen and “Chui.” Stand or sit, place one hand against the lower abdomen, and inhale slowly. Utter “Chui” when exhaling and stroke the lower abdomen with the palm simultaneously. Repeat this for 10 or 20 respiratory cycles.

3. Strengthening the Kidney and Guiding Qi. Stand erect, make hollow fists and apply them against the soft parts at the sides of the waist (the kidney area). Turn the waist counterclockwise and clockwise for 6 times in each direction.

4. Rubbing the Renal Regions. Stand or sit, put the two hands on the sides of the waist, and then rub the entire area 36 times while concentrating the mind on the waist.

Application
The Kidney Regulation Exercise is used for health preservation and for the prevention and treatment of pain along the spinal column, tinnitus, deafness, frequent urination, aversion to cold, and coldness or dampness of the genitals. It is also used to treat nephritis, neurosis, and cystitis. Those with kidney deficiency may practice Taking Black Qi. Rubbing the Abdomen and “Chui” may be practiced by those with dampness and itching of the genitals due to dampness and heat of the lower Jiao (Xiajiao lower portion of the body cavity). The exercise can be performed with emphasis on Strengthening the Kidney and Guiding Qi to treat syndromes of both deficiency and excess types. For the middle aged and older people, frequent practice of Rubbing the Kidney will help to invigorate Yang and strengthen the kidneys. Strengthening the Kidney and Guiding Qi and Rubbing the Kidney are also suitable for those with deficiency of Kidney Yang manifested by pain and weakness of the waist, spermatorrhea and impotence.

Points for Attention
Practice the exercise once in the morning and once in the evening or up to 4 times a day. Lead a balanced life with moderate sexual activity. Young people should avoid masturbation so as to cure seminal or involuntary emission.

Reference: Qigong for Treating Common Ailments: The Essential Guide to Self Healing by Xu Xiangcai p. 44 – 45

 

Ten Daoist Steps

Essences Of Wudang -Ten Daoist Steps
Wudang Dragongate Kungfu Schools Headmaster introduces one of the most important essences for wudang daoist arts. The ten daoist steps which are shown here are only the yang part of the whole set which also includes the very advanced ten yin steps. The steps are movements which contain many different aspects of training like balance, qi development, qi control, breathing, coordination, flow, strength and internal cultivation.
The ten daoist steps include the cat step, taiji ball step, contemplating the dao step, yin yang harmony step, crane step, turtle step and more.

Reference: www.wudang-dragongate.com

Starting and Ending Forms of Basic Qigong Exercise Patterns

Starting Form
The Relaxed and Quiescent Form in Standing Position
Pithy Formula

Keep the spine upright and suspend the Baihui Point.
Pull in the chin, shut the lips and touch the tongue tip to the teeth ridge.
Drop the upper eyelids, permitting the eye to look forward.
Tuck in the chest and relax the waist as well as the hips.
Keep both of the elbows outward to form hollowed armpits.
Pull in the stomach and lift the anus without any strain.
Bend the knees, turn them outward and then inward for a round crotch.
Stand firm with feet flat and weight evenly distributed.
For the posture, attention is paid to softess, roundness and farness.

Explanation
The essentials of the body position of this pattern fall on “roundness and softness”. Roundness brings about the free flowing of vital energy and softness can prevent stiffness. The specific method is as follows: Stand firmly with feet flat. Bend the knees slightly. Turn the knees first outward and then inward. Return to the original position, thus bringing about a round crotch. Sink the vital energy and drop the seat slightly to make the hips relaxed. Avoid using effort when pulling in the stomach and lifting the anus. Once the thought reaches these points, the result will be fine. To tuck in the chest refers to pulling in slightly using effort when pulling in the stomach and lifting that part of the chest above the pit of the stomach, avoiding any forward thrust of the chest. The back of the body will be lifted when the spine stands erect. It is somewhat contradictory to drop the shoulders and hollow the armpits at the same time, but so long as your attention is paid to the slight out-turning of the elbows, you will get hollow armpits and dropped shoulders. To get the head suspended, you should avoid lifting the head with a stiff neck. When the chin is slightly tucked in, the Point of Baihui will face the sky, so the breath can flow freely. Closed eyes help prevent the leakage of vital energy and shut eyes help prevent the dispersing of vital energy. To make the tongue touch the upper palate means to let the tip of the tongue touch it, the upper teeth ridge. Do not use effort, otherwise, the tongue will get stiff and sore. Swallow the saliva, if there is any, slowly and gradually as if it were sinking into Dantian – the Point of Qihai (located at about 1,5 cun below the navel). For this posture, see figure 21,

Note: The Pithy Formula starts from the top and goes downward while the Explanation starts from bottom and goes up. To perform it, you should start from bottom to the top and check it up by mental activities from the top to the bottom. By doing this, it helps get quiescence and the ‘vital energy can go down after going up.

Detailed Movements
The Relaxed and Quiescent Form in Standing Position can also be called the Standing Qigong Technique. This form of Qigong exercise requires a quiescent head, so it’s best for you to think of nothing when performing it. If you fail to do so, you can think of the detailed movements of this Qigong exercise. The general key point of this exercise is that the whole body is relaxed and free from stiffness. This form of Qigong exercise can be divided into 13 detailed steps:

(1) Stand with feet flat and spaced as wide as shoulder width. Keep the feet parallel. Bear the body weight on the point where the feet are perpendicular to the tibae, at point about 2 cun inward from the heels.

(2) Knee-Bending: Bend the knees slightly. Your knees are not to exceed the toe tips.

(3) Crotch-Rounding: Turn both knees first outward and then inward. After that, return to the preceding knee-bending position. This is called the “crotch-rounding”.

(4) Hip-Relaxing: Drop the seat slightly with the vital energy sunken and the hips will be relaxed.

The above-mentioned four items are the detailed movements to relax the lower limbs in the relaxed and quiescent Qigong exercise in standing position, of which “crotch—rounding” is the key point.

(5) Stomach-Contracting: “Stomach” here refers to the lower part of the abdomen above the pubic bone. When pulling in the stomach, just pull inward the lower ‘part of the abdomen. Do not contract it with force.

(6) Anus-Lifing: Draw in the anus and lift it gently only by mental intention. Do not raise it with effort.

(7) Waist-Relaxing: The relaxing of the waist is very important. It must be performed on the basis of the relaxing of the hips. First stretch the back and then breathe out. And now you will feel the waist relaxed. There are quite a number of‘ ways to relax the waist (head-suspending and chin-tucking-in can also help the waist relax), but it takes a long time for you to make the sacral bone loose.

(8) Chest-Tucking-in: Make the stomach pit cave in. Turn both elbows outward.

(9) Back-Stretching: Straighten up the spine and you will have a sense, in a way, of the opening of the scapula.

These five items mentioned above are the requirements for the relaxation of the body trunk, of which the relaxation of the waist is the key point.

(10) Shoulder-Dropping: Relax the shoulders and there will be a sensation of the dropping of the upper arms.

(11) Elbow-Dropping: There seems to be something hanging from the elbows.

(12) Wrist-Relaxing: With the fingers down, the wrists will be free and loose.

(13) Armpit-Hollowing: Turn the tips of the elhows outward with the backs of the hands forward, palms slantly toward the trunk. Though the shoulders are drooped, the armpits are hollowed as if they can hold an egg each.

The above-mentioned four items are the essentials of the upper limbs in the quiescent and relaxed standing position, of which “hollow-armpits” is the key point.

(14) Head-suspending: The Baihui Point on the top of the head is perpendicular to the sky (Baihui is located in the middle of the line joining the two tips of the ears). When the head is suspended, the head seems to be hanging on a thread.

(15) Cheek-Hooking: In fact this is a necessary step to suspend the head. The head can never get suspended if the chin is not tucked in. When the chin is pulled in, nasal breathing will be free.

(16) Eye-Shutting: Drop the upper eyelids, permitting a thin beam of light (In terms of Qigong it is called “to draw the curtains”). This will help the eyes relax. A complete shutting of theeveyes will cause tension in the eyes.

(17) Lip—CIosing: Close the lips slightly.

(18) The Tongue Touching the Upper Palate: The tongue touches the upper teeth ridge gently. Do not use force. Only touch the tongue to the teeth ridge.

These five items are the requirements of the head in the relaxed and quiescent standing of Qigong exercise, of which head-suspending is the key point.

Of the 18 Principles for the relaxed and quiescent Qigong exercise in standing position, head-supending, armpit-hollowing, waist-relaxing, and crotch-rounding are the four key points. Among them the relaxation of the waist is the leading factor. So in this exercise, emphasis is on the relaxation of the waist. Without the relaxation of the waist, vital energy can not sink into Dantian.

The length of time for relaxed and quiescent Qigong exercise in standing position is flexible. If you can reach the stage of relaxation and quiescence in three or five minutes, you are ready for the next form of Qigong exercise. The exercise can also last for 20-30 minutes.

 

The Three Deep Exhaling and Inhaling Form

Pithy Formula

With one hand on top of the other at Dantian, breathe out and in evenly and slowly.
Crouch slightly while breathing out; remain crouched when breathing in.
Stand up only after slowly breathing in, when the air can flow freely.

Explanation
Make the Laogong Point (P. 8) in the inner part of the left hand face Qihai (i. e., Dantian). Put the right hand on top of the left hand {for females, the right hand under the left hand) (see Figure 22). Breathe out slowly, i. e., to breathe deeply. The breath must be gentle, thin, even and long. In ancient times, the method was called “Slow and Deep Exhaling”. Crouch when breathing out through the mouth. Move the tongue from the upper teeth ridge to the lower teeth ridge while crouching. After a short pause, the tongue returns to the upper teeth ridge, and breathe in through the nose. Do not stand up until you stop breathing in (see Figure 23). Regulate breath freely when standing up. Start for a second round when you resume normal breathing. Do three rounds altogether.

Detailed Movements
(1) Start the Three Deep Exhaling and Inhaling Form when the Relaxed and Quiescent Form in Standing Position is over. Before breathing out slowly, put the hands one on top of the other (the right hand on top of the left hand i for males, while for females, the left hand on top of the right hand) at Dantian below the navel (1.5 can below the navel) with Yuji of the thumb placed on the navel and Laogong facing Qihai.

(2) When breathing out slowly, move the tongue from the upper teeth ridge to the lower teeth ridge. Send out air very slowly and retain a certain leeway. For mental activities, think of letting out completely the turbid substance, or think of the requirements for the softness, thinness, evenness and length, or think of nothing at all.

(3) While breathing out, crouch by bending your knees with the seat slightly lowered until the tips of the knees somewhat exceed the toe tips.

(4) After breathing out, stay in the crouching positon and do not stand up. Move your tongue to the upper teeth ridge, then draw in air through the nose. To stand up while breathing in will probably cause tightness in the chest or even high blood pressure.

(5) After breathing in, start to raise the torso from the crouching position and then breathe normally (natural breathing).

(6) Regulate the breath and then start a second round.

(7) Do the third round. When the torso is raised, start  the next pattern of Qigong exercise.

The Three Open-and-Close Form
Pithy Formular

Start with hands one ‘upon the other over Dantian, and move the hands sidewise, back to back, till they are half chi away from the hips.

Palm facing palm, return them to where they were, and something is gained from both “open” and “close”. With pathogenic evils out and vital energy in, you’d better keep Dantian closed.

Explanation
When performing the “open-and-close” exercise, carelessness must be avoided. Move the hands inward gently and slowly from off the hips in the figure of arc. For beginners breathing may not be involved. When you have grasped the basic skill, breathe out when “opening” and breathe in when “closing”. For mental activities, think of the vast plain when you “open” and think of the vital energy returning to Dantian when you “close”.

Detailed Movements
(1) Start from the preceding position. Turn the hands back to back at Dantian. Move the hands sidewise toward the side of the hips with palms facing outward. This is called the “open form” (See Figure 24).

(2) When performing this starting form, point the fingers to the front (the small finger across the thumb). Move. the palms along a horizontal line at the level of Dantian until they are about half a chi away from the hips.

(3) Turn the palms in an arc to face inward (i. e., facing the centre of the body). With thumbs up and small finger down, move the hands inward to the central line of the body (see Figure 25) until the fingers of‘ both hands meet. This is called the “close form”. Repeat three times.

(4) To do this “open” and “close” form, beginners may not involve breathing. When you have practised for some time, you may consider breathing. Breathe out when “opening” and breathe in when “closing”. Exhale through the mouth when “opening” and inhale through the nose when“closing.

(5)When doing this form of exercise, you can think either of the actions or of nothing at all. When you are skilled, you can imagine: When opening, it is spacious so that the exogenous pathogenic factors can be expelled, and when closing it is sealed so that the exogenous pathogenic factors can not get in.

Closing Form
You must do the closing form when you are through with a form of Qigong exercise. To do the closing form is just like to do the starting form only in reverse sequence. That is, to do the Three Open-and-Close Form first; then the Three Deep Exhaling and  Inhaling, and finally do the Relaxed and Quiescent Form  in Standing Position. The purpose of doing the closing form is to bring the internal energy released through Qigong exercise back into Dantian. As the saying goes: “Doing Qigong exercise without a closing form means to have thrown away what you have gained.”

In ancient China, saliva was called “gold fluid” or “jade fluid” and was always considered as treasure, so swallow the saliva down slowly whenever there is any.

Reference: Chinese Qigong Therapy by Zhang Mingwu  p. 105-115

ISBN 7533103785

The Arhat Holding Up the Sky

Movements:
1) Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, toes sticking to the ground. Bend and close in knees into half-way crouching position with buttocks drawn in. Reach out arms to parallel posi- tion, palm facing upward and fingers apart and relaxed. Also relax wrist, elbow, waist, and in particular, shoulder.

2) Hold head and neck erect, with chin slightly drawn inward and tongue against upper jaw. Keep body upright and stick feet inward to the ground.

3) Look straight forward with steady eyesight and relax
corners of mouth as if to smile.

Purpose:
The practice of Riyuezhuang on the basis of Hunyuanzhuang aims at enriching the inner vitality of the practitioner to such an extent that he will remain immovable, through the plucking of “cream from both the earth and heaven,” under the enemy’s hooking or kicking attacks. Thus he may concentrate all his strength for the dexterous employment of the capture skills.

Essentials:
1) Keep torso upright and look straight forward. Other essentials are the same as those in Hunyuanzhuang.
2) Riyuezhuang takes the practitioner less time to reach stillness than Hunyuanzhuang and is, therefore, more effective. Spontaneous movements, however, should be controlled if they are too violent.
3) When inner Qigong is activated in the practice of this Zhuanggong, the practitioner might jump up, despite of himself, as high as three feet. He should be mentally prepared for such an amazing phenomenon. The height of the jump and the steadiness which he drops to the ground reflect the level of expertise he has acquired through practice Riyuezhuang.
4) Salivation during practice is the result of the smooth circulation of your breath and blood and the activation of your vital energy. Gradually swallow saliva and do not lose it in your relaxation because it is precious secretion from your body.
5) Riyuezhuang is a more fatiguing Zhuanggong than Hun- yuanzhuang. Be sure to keep crown of head,shoulders, elbows, wrists and legs all at level positions, and head, torso, and feet
upright.

Further Explanations:
1) Beginners can hardly stand in this posture for more than – three or five minutes. As he goes on with the practice, he will gradually bring out his inner skills which will enable him to stand for as long as two hours, showing that he has already enough skills in the practice of Riyuezhuang.
2) After the practitioner reaches the state of stillness, the activation of his body begins from his fingers, small fingers in particular, in the form of a slight shaking movement, and goes to the wrists, elbows, shoulders and then to the waist until finally the vital energy passes through the Yinmen, Weizhong, Chengshan and Kunlun acupoints on the legs to bring him up in the air. Such technique is most useful in an actual situation.
The above postures are two primary postures of Zhuanggong ‘ in the martial arts of the Jingang-Chan Natural School. Since there is no “Yin” (the feminine and the negative) and “Yang’ (the masculine and the positive) involved in the two postures, the “cream of the earth and heaven” can be easily plucked. The same rhyme used in the practice of Hunyuanzhuan may be applicable here except for a change of the term ‘Hunyuanzhuang” into “Riyuezhuang” in the rhyme.

Simplified Caputre Skills by Wang Xinde, Hai Feng Publishing Company 1983-84
ISBN 9622380131 p. 21-23

Hunyuanzhuang

Jingang-Chan Posture

Movements:
1) Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, toes sticking to the ground. Slightly bend knees and hang arms naturally by sides of body with elbows also slightly bent, palms facing backward, fingers apart and thumbs pointing to trouser seams. Relax shoulder, elbow, wrist, and finger joints. Hold head and neck erect, with chin slightly drawn inward and tongue against upper jaw.

2) Stand upright and consciously straighten Dumai (a Chinese medicinal term which denotes the line running from the perineum up through the spine to the top of the head) Slightly lean torso forward but neither protrude nor withdraw chest or waist. Slightly pull in buttocks and keep weight to front of sole.

3) Look 45 degrees downward to the ground.

Purpose:
This is designed for the training of internal breathing skills and inner strength so as to activate the internal organs, work up the internal vitality and increase the steadiness of the lower limbs.

Essentials:
1) With stillness as the principal requirement for this movement, try to realize motion through stillness. Up to a certain point of the training of this Zhuanggong and with the increase of the level of stillness, unexpected body responses will be experienced by the practitioner. This is a reflection of the activation of the internal breathing and should not be worried about. Instead, the practitioner should go on with the practice.

2) When you lean slightly forward, keep entire body relaxed except for the sticking of toes to the ground and the slight pulling in of coccyx. These two parts of body must not be relaxed during the entire practice lest your vitality is lost.

3) Roll your eyes 36 times to the left and 24 to the right before and after the practice. During practice of Hunyuanzhuang, eyes should remain open. Green color is preferred in front of
practitioner; objects with red and yellow color are forbidden to avoid possible distraction of attention and failure of practice.

4) Natural breathing is required but breath should be controlled, so to speak, at the Laogong (on the palm), Dantian (on the lower abdomen) and Yongquan (on the sole) acupoints. (Beginners may practice how to control his breath at each of the acupoints in the above order for two months before he begins to practice, half a year later, how to control his breath at all three acupoints at the same time.

5) When absolute stillness is reached, the practitioner begins to move, despite of himself, every part of his body in a natural manner. But violent movements should be brought under control.

Further Explanations:
1) Hunyuanzhuang is an important Zhuanggong closely related to Qigong, or breathing skills in the Jingang-Chan Natural School (please refer to 64 Leg-Attack Methods of Shaolin Kungfu by
the same author), which bases its Wugong (martial skills) on Qigong. The time used for the practice of Hun be yuanzhuang may 10 to 15 minutes for beginners and it is gradually increased to one hour. Highly skilled practitioners may extend the time up to two hours.

2) Clear away all distracting thoughts during practice and the following rhyme may be silently repeated for the achievement of stillness:

Aside I put everything and be ready to practice my skills; Stand upright and keep body comfortably still;
Clear away all distracting thoughts until
I reach the acme of the Hunyuanzhuang skill.

Reference: Simplified Caputre Skills by Wang Xinde, Hai Feng Publishing Company 1983-84
ISBN 9622380131 p. 14-19

A General Introduction to Jinggong

by Chen Yingming

There is currently no effective medicine for stress-related disorders. Phosphoric supplements’ claim to fortifying the brain is unsubstantiated. All other stimulants or sedatives have only temporary effect. After the effect wears out, the symptoms come back, maybe with a vengeance.

One must ensure complete tranquility of the mind and disperse all random thoughts from it. This is the most important principle of jinggong practice and is the most effective treatment for stress-related disorders. However, it is difficult to put a stop to all the thoughts that go habitually through your mind. Our forefathers devised a host of methods to attain this purpose, among which the best one is Zhuangzi’s “listen-to-breathing” method (Zhuangzi, c. 369 – 286 BC).

You begin this exercise by using only your ears, not your mind. The idea is not to replace one thought with another, but more to force yourself to stay vigilant about your nose or your lungs. Nor is it to listen to any nasal sound. As long as you are aware ofthe exhalations and the inhalations, you are doing it right.Do not try to control the speed and depth of the breathing. Just let them be. By and by, your breath will beat one with your qi.All distracting thoughts will vanish. You will even forget about your breathing and gradually drift off to sleep. This is the most opportune moment to restore vigor to your frayed nerves. Seize the moment and abandon your self to deep sleep. Be sure not to resist the temptation to sleep. After you wake up, repeat the exercise all over again, and you will be able to drop off to blissful sleep again. If you have already slept several times during the day and do not wish to sleep anymore,you may get up and do some light exercise in a woody place outside where the air is fresh and clean. You may stand there for a few minutes doing breathing exercises, or practice calisthenics or taichi. But do not go overboard. Do not tire yourself out. Once you return indoors, you may either sit or lie in bed, resume your “listening-to-breathing” exercise and, perhaps, to fall asleep again.

Most people with stress-related disorders are also plagued by insomnia. It is not advisable to take sleep pills on a regular basis. Only the “listening-to—breathing” method can tackle the problem at the root, without leaving any side effect. It is in keeping with the theory about yang entering yin in the Classic of Internal Medicine (Huang Di Nei Jing, China’s earliest work on of medicine completed between 770 BC – 25 AD).

Ancient books on medicine often make reference to the interdependence of the mind and the breath,but no specific instructions can be found.Su Dongpo’s way is to count your breathings and then let the mind follow the breath (Su Dongpo, 1037- 1101, a famous Chinese poet). ZhuXi’s way, as explained in his Advice on Breath Adjustment, is to “watch the tip of your nose,” according to The Surangama Sutra (Zhu Xi, 1130 – 1200, Confucian scholar and founder of the school of Neo—Confucianism). However, since you have to count, you are not free from all engagement of the mind. And, in the latter case, since you have to watch your nose, your eyes will get tired over time. Zhuangzi’s “listening-to-breathing” method is the only one that calls for absolutely no engagement of the mind and leads to no fatigue. What follows is a list of the three methods for you to practice.

1. Su Dongpo’s theory on health (Dongo Zhilin, Su Shi’a Record in His Daily Life, Vol.1):
Health conscious people must exercise moderation in their eating habits. Only when plagued with hunger can you start eating and you should stop before the feeling of fullness sets in. After each meal, take a stroll outdoors until the food has been digested. Then return indoors for exercises. You can freely decide whether to do the exercises in daytime or at night, seated or lying down. The only important thing is to keep your body from moving and stay immobile like a wooden statue. Then, in a combination of Buddhist and Daoist methods, gaze at the tip ofyour own nose while counting the number of exhalations and inhalations through your nose. The key is to empty your mind and not to force anything. When counting, count either all the exhalations or all the inhalations, not both.So each act of breathing, exhaling and inhaling, counts as one, not two. After you’ve counted hundreds of times, your mind will be a blank and your body motionless as a rock. Since you need not force anything on your mind and body, both will naturally enjoy tranquility.

After you’ve counted thousands of times, or if you have no more strength to go on counting, you can switch to another method, called “follow the breath.” When you exhale, let your mind follow the air out of the body. When you inhale, let your mind follow the air on its way in, not through the nostrils, but filling every pore like evaporation of cloud and fog. When you attain this level of accomplishment, all longstanding ailments and afflictions will gradually go away and you reach enlightenment, just like a blind man suddenly regaining sight. Able to see his way ahead now, he no longer needs guidance.

2. ZhuXi’s breath-adjustment method (The Complete Works Zhu Xi, Vol. 85):
Watching the tip of one’s own nose is the 14th of the 25 methods listed in The Surangama Sutra. Both Su Dongpo and Zhu Xi adopted the phrase, but each in a slightly different sense. In Zhu Xi’s words, this is a method applicable anywhere and at any time, provided you are relaxed and feel comfortable. Do not make yourself uncomfortable in any way. Stay calm and let things take their own course. Do not force anything. When tranquility reaches its height, the pendulum will naturally swing toward motion, like fish rising to the surface of the water in spring to breathe. When motion reaches its height, the pendulum swings naturally toward tranquility, like insects hibernating in winter to conserve energy. At this point, the qi in the body converges with the qi of heaven and earth, and the alterations of tranquility and motion unite with the movements of the universe. Words are inadequate to describe the wonders of this method. You may ask, who is behind all this? In fact, there is no one behind any of this. Everything is just a part of nature.

3. The Mind Tranquility method of Zhuangzi (Chapter IV, The Book of Zhuangzi):
Yan Hui asked Confucius, his teacher, about Zhuangzi’s Mind Tranquility method, and this was Confucius’ reply: Do not indulge in wild fancies. Gather all your thoughts to gether and then listen,not with your ears but with your mind. Then,listen not with your mind but with your qi.By this time, you should no longer be relying on your ears. Your mind and qi being at one, you should not be relying on your mind, either. Qi is something unsubstantial. It needs something to form a union with it. Only Dao can merge with the qi of the Great Void. If your mind attains the tranquility of the Great Void, you have made a success ofthe MindTranquility method.

There should be no division of stages to this method, but for the convenience of beginners, I’mgoing to divide the whole process into several steps and give some detailed instructions:

Step 1: “Gather all your thoughts together.” Before you begin the exercise, be sure to gather all your thoughts together and concentrate on the exercise. If any distracting thoughts remain, you will not b eable to do a good job of it.

Step2: “Listennotwithyourearsbutwithyourmind.”Once
you have completed Step 1, you are ready to begin to “listen,” but definitely not to listen with your ears to Conventional sounds. You may get skeptical and ask, since it involves lis- tening, what am I supposed to listento, ifnot to sounds? No clear answer to this question can be found in the annotations to all kinds of theories.So let me make this clear: You begin by listening for the sound of breathing through your nostrils. The breathing of those with normal, unimpeded respiratory systems should be noiseless, which is why you are not supposed to listen with your ears.Even though there is no sound, you are aware ofthe speed and the strength ofexhalations and inhala- tions through the nostrils, as are even the hearing-impaired. That’swhytheinstructionsareto “listenwithyourmind.”

Step 3: As for “listen not with your mind but with your qi,” this can again be problematic. You may be able to get away with saying “listen with your mind” because the mind, after all, is sentient, but qi is not. How can you listen with qi? If the mind listens to qi, what does qi listen to? So how should this be explained? My answer is: when you have become quite accomplished in jinggong, your mind and your qi will be at one and inseparable. Qi becomes something impossible for the mind to listen to, hence the phrase “You must not listen with your mind.” At this point, your mind and your qi, though at one, may not have reached the state of the Void and there fore may still have a slight awareness of your breathing. If you keep on, you will soon lose all awareness of your breathing. During the brief period of transition, rather than listen to qi with your mind and set mind and qi against each other, it makes more sense to listen to qi with qi and wipe out any rift between the two. That’s why the instructions say “listen with qi.”

Step 4: As for “You should no longer be relying on your ears,” and “You should not be relying on your mind, either,” a beginner should first try to gather his thoughts together before concentrating on “listening,” but carrying this on for too long would be overdoing it. So go on to the next step. Stop listening. By this time, you are moving into the stage of the Void, where your mind and qi are at one, you are no longer aware of your breathing.You may appear to be asleep on the outside, but on the inside, it’s another story.

Setp 5: As for “Qi is something unsubstantial. It needs something to form a union with it. Only Dao can merge with the qi of the Great Void. If your mind attains the tranquility of the Great Void, you have made a success of the Mind Tranquility method,” after you have gone from the simpler to the more sophisticated stages, you naturally reach the state of the Void without having to direct your mind to it. If you will it, you won’t be able to get there. The entire process is to go from what you have acquired to what you were given by nature. So the fifth should be be experienced in the state you were born, but I will not get in to that,because it exceeds the limits of therapy. For our purposes, it sufiices to reach the state where your mind and your qi merge.

A summary of the three methods cited above: Su Dongpo’s method is to begin by counting your breathing, then stop counting and let it be. Zhu Xi’s method is to begin by watch- ing your nose, then stop watching it and let everything take its own course. Zhuangzi’s method is to begin by listening to your breath, then stop listening and let everything take its own course. The three methods begin differently but end on the same path. Learners can feel free to apply them in combination.

Young patients with stress-related disorders can be 70% or 80% cured by practicing these exercises for three months. Middleaged patients can be 50 to 60% cured after three month’s practice. However, symptoms can vary in degree. I was referring to more severe cases. Those with less severe symptoms can achieve full recovery. After you leave the sanatorium and return to your workplace, it would be advisable to practice twice a day, once in the morning and once at night, and make it a habit. Only then will you be able to keep what you have gained and be fully accomplished in this healing art.

Quiet Sitting The Daoist Approach for a Healthy Mind and Body by Weiqiao, Jiang p. 67 – 75

Eye Exercise

Yan Gong

Functions: Regulates the blood of the Liver Channel, soothes the liver, and improves vision.

Methods
1. Preparation
: Sit or stand, relax, look straight ahead, and expel any distracting thoughts.

2. Moving the Eyeballs in an Infinity Pattern. Move the eyeballs and imagine that there is a flow of Qi inside their orbits. Start the eye movements from slightly above the inner corner (the acupuncture point Jingming (U.B. 1)) of the left eye. Move the eyeballs along the

upper side left orbit toward the outer corner (canthus) and then, along the lower side of the left orbit to the point Jingming (U.B. 1) of the right eye. Continue by moving the eyeballs along the upper side of the right orbit to the right outer corner (canthus), then along the lower side of the right orbit back to left Jingming (U.B. 1). In other words, move the eyes in a figure-eight pattern. Do the exercise 8 times. Then repeat for another 8 times in the opposite direc- tion starting from the right Jingming (U.B. 1). Breathe natural- ly during the exercise. Direct the flow of Qi by will and allow the mind to follow the movement of Qi.

3. Pressing the Eyes to Guide Qi. Use the thumbs to press the internal upper corners of the orbits and concentrate on this location. Press backward on the orbits while inhaling then gently press the eyeballs while exhaling so that a distending sensation in the eyes is produced. Do this 8 times (Fig. 13).

4. Bathing the Eyes. Close the eyes slightly. Rub the flats of the four fingers together until they are warm, and then rub the eyes from the inner corners to the outer corners 24 times (Fig. 14). Use natural respiration and focus the attention under the hands.

Figure 13

Figure 14

 Application
This exercise is practiced to keep the eyes healthy as well as to prevent and cure near- and far-sightedness and astigmatism in adoles- cence. It also functions to regulate blood and Qi circulation in the Liver Channel in order to soothe the liver and improve eyesight. Better results can be obtained when it is done in combination with the exercise Soothing the Liver to Improve the Acuity of Vision. Eye Exercise can also be practiced for dizziness, discomfort of the eye, eye congestion, swelling, pain, and fatigue of the eye muscles in older people. At completion of the exercise, one should close the eyes slightly and rest for a moment.

Points for Attention
Practice the exercise 1–4 times a day. To relieve eye strain caused by reading or writing, practice methods 1 and 3 to allay eye fatigue and protect eyesight. Do not read in dim light and wear proper spectacles. Pay attention to eye hygiene and avoid eye fatigue.

 

Reference: Qigong for Treating Common Ailments: The Essential Guide to Self Healing by Xu Xiangcai p. 25-26

 

Ox Leading Posture

Qianniuzhuang

Movements:
1) Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and turn feet 45 de- grees to the left (right) with heels as an axis. Keep torso upright but turn it to extreme left, with knees slightly bent and drawn together, toes sticking to the ground.
2) Raise and naturally stretch arms to front of chest, elbows dropping slightly and pointing to the ground, with left palm facing downward and right palm upward.
3) Raise arms to backward left right) as torso
turns left Look at left (right).
ward. (Fig. 3)

Purpose:
This is a basic Zhuangong for the employment of capture skills, in which the hands are ready to catch, elbows ready to pull down, steps ready to close in and waist ready to turn, an ideal Zhuanggong for the practitioner to advance and retreat, assault and defend. Capture skills should be based on this fundamental posture. Practice in both directions.

Essentials:
1) Press closely together your elbows and knees and stick your feet firmly to the ground.

Reference:
Simplified Caputre Skills by Wang Xinde, Hai Feng Publishing Company 1983-84 p. 25
ISBN 9622380131