By Lei Zunting
How is the effectiveness of exercise? I think it mainly embodies on three aspects. Firstly, how the effectiveness of health condition and disease prevention and cure is, which is closely related to the exercisers’ fitness condition(body regulation).Secondly, whether it can draw breath into the lungs, which is closely related to the exercisers’ ideation and will(breath regulation ). Thirdly, how the mentality and moral cultivation is, which is closely related to the exercisers’ impression (mind regulation). The three elements of ideation, qi and form are inseparable in the course of exercising .Among them body regulation is the premise and basis, and is the key point for beginners; and gradually through regulation of breath, ideation and will and the mental and physical health condition named “Three Regulations” can be achieved. By so doing the effectiveness of exercise will not be bad. However, desirable effectiveness won’t be achieved without a series of theory. Exercise requires great efforts and workable methods. Therefore, we need to pay attention to each detail from the beginning to the end. Any detail should not be neglected because every little effect makes mickle.
Pre-exercise Preparations shall begin physiologically and psychologically. Psychologically, Exercisers must calm their mood down firstly, and stop any psychological activity unrelated to exercise. None of ages of successful exercisers emphasized that illuminating distractions and keeping quiet mind is the right way to the static state of exercise. Quiet environment should be chosen and intense sound avoided when the exercise is going on to ensure mind tranquility of the exercisers. No matter the exercise is carried out indoors or outdoors, the light should not too strong and ventilation should be ensured but direct blow shall be avoided. Physiologically, piss and defecate before exercise or it is easy to lose breath. In Yizhousantongqie, it reads that “Closing upper organs means being healthy while closing lower organs means not.” Here “upper organs “means seven apertures in the human head while “lower organs” means front yin and back yin. This indicates that if you want to learn Health Qigong well, you must practice closing upper and lower organs, and closing the former can prevent Yuan qi from leaking while closing the latter can prohibit essential qi from losing. Open the collar; the bent should not tie too tight and get off all the decorations such as bracelets, glasses, and necklace that affect the operation of meridian and the running of blood. Besides, warm-up exercise is necessary. Have the body and mind gradually meet the requirement of the exercise through the ease movement and deep breathing.
Attach Importance to Ready Posture
Many exercisers should attach great importance to imitate the act of exercise and make it skillful but always neglect the ready posture. As a result, perform of the whole set of exercise is undispclined and essence and spirit run freely. Finally the style and features of Health Qigong is lost. The so called Ready posture is adjustment of the mental state of exercisers to the official exercise state. Only by the mental state adjustment through prepare potential are kept throughout the process of exercising, can the goal of prepare exercise be achieved. Accordingly mind、qi and form of Health Qigong should be prepared from three aspects. Firstly, adjust the body to the proper state through ready posture. In ready posture, bent knees slightly and stand relax and quiet; keep head and neck straight and chin close lightly; remain chest and back straight and waist relax and hip up , all of which is the demands for body position. However, the essence of the demands is to keep Baihui point and Huiyin point on the same line, which is the point of body straight. Secondly, regulate breath to the deep and fine state through ready posture. The saying goes that if the form is not right breath will setback. The right posture of the body in ready posture to some extent is to regulate breath. Because of the emphasis on natural breath it is easy to regulate. Thirdly, adjust mind from distracted state to concentrated state through ready posture. The ready posture emphasizes contained eyes. Eyes are the window of heart, the expression of which can be found its element in eyes. The contained eyes help to keep mind tranquil. If exerciser keep looking around with wide open eyes, which is comply with the saying in Zhouyinsantongqi: mind is distracted and thought run freely, their mind is disciplined and distracted. The disciplined and distracted state is uneasy to come to the element. Of course, the ready posture can’t be learned overnight but require a lot of time and effort. However, the significance of it is worth what we have paid.
Pay Attention to Action Norms and Transform Movements to the Required Point
Generally, Health Qigong method is easy to learn, but to master it exactly needs some skills. According to my experience, it is better to start from action norm and movement transformation.
The so called action norm is to do each action on the exact rules. In simple word, three points are necessary. First, make sure the form is right. The action of Health Qigong seems to be easy but in essence it embodies profound meaning. For example, Holding the Sky with Palms Up to Regulate the Internal Organs in Ba Duan Jin, while the arms-up to requires the arms be straight and chest and back pull, the purpose of which is to regulate upper, middle and down qi. The physiological function of the Internal Organs is to make various qi smooth and liquid run freely. The smoothness of the three points is helpful in liquid movement and spread, turbid liquid discharge and Organs and tissues functional operation. another example, the action of Holding Up a Single Arm to Regulate the Functions of the Spleen and the Stomach in Ba Duan Jin, while one palm is up to support and the other down to press, elbow should bend lightly and the force should be from palms root. Only by this way, can the body be extended and the back pulled. If the force is not strong enough to the palm root while arms are up to support or down to press, the effectiveness of the Spleen and the Stomach regulation would be reduced greatly. Surely, any actions should be based on the right and proper body posture. Secondly, deal with the relationship between tight and loose properly. The three element of tight and loose, Rigid and flexible, virtual and real is closely related but the relationship between tight and loose is of the greatest importance. While Rigid and flexible, virtual and real is easy to do. How could we deal with the relation between tight and loose? The point is that our body is in relax state in the most time of exercise process and only a short period is in tight state. Take the action of Holding up a Single Arm to Regulate the Functions of the Spleen and the Stomach as an example, there are two joint points can be considered as to be tight. One joint point exists when one palm is up to support and the other is down to press; the other point exists when palms are on either side of the body pressing the ball in water. The relax state is in domination in other time.
Apparently, the tight and loose here is comparative. It does not mean that when in tight state the force should be strong to extreme and when in relax ，the body is slackened and limp. It does mean that relax but not limp and that tight but not rigid. Thirdly, evenness, slowness, consistence and softness are very important. Evenness means that actions should be done at even speed; avoid sudden fastness and sudden slowness; slowness means that the action is carried out slowly to get si; consistence means that the action should be done without cease; though there is pause in some static posture, posture is at static but the force can’t cease or the force ceases the spirit doesn’t; softness means flexibility and it is not stiff or rigid; evenness, slowness, consistence and softness are an integrated unit; any element is Indispensable.
Movement transformation in place expresses double meaning. One meaning is that the action of the exercise method, breath and mind should be done just in place. For example, the action of Monkey Picking Fruits in Wu Qin Xi, when hands are up in hooks needs to shrug shoulders, shrink neck and chest and group two cubits within clip. Breathe and then hold breath when breathing; what is on mind is to conceive you as a naughty ape on branches looking around. Another meaning is that the action, breath and thought shall coordinate and be in place. Make sure the thought conform to the body, thought and qi are coordinated and in union. Also take Monkey Picking Fruits as example, when hands are up in hooks needs to shrug shoulders, shrink neck and chest and group two cubits within clip at the some time hold breath instead of breathing. The essence is on branches looking up. In the coordination process of breath, thought and action, my experience is that master the evenness, slowness, consistence and softness and the coordination of evenness, fineness, depth and length of the breath first. Then we can pursuit the union of thought, qi and form.
Pay Attention to Guide Qi to Return to Yuan
There are narrow and broad senses of guiding qi to return to yuan. The narrow sense indicates the act of finishing action; the broad sense indicates both what the narrow sense expresses and guide qi to return to yuan in exercise process. Here, the emphasis is on broad sense.
To guide qi to return to yuan in exercise process is achieved by the regulate action of breath, thought and act, and promote blood and qi of body circulation around original routine. It is much the same as the car on the road. If not carefully handled, it will pull off to the sidewalk and cause accident when coming the rigged part of the road. Only the smooth and broad road is easy for cars to pass though safe. Similarly, Meridian operation is of the same rule. Meridian system is cleared by Health Qigong exercise, which is helpful in getting rid of fatal threaten and improving health. Besides, there are, actually quite a few, actions of guide qi to return to elixir field in exercise. For example, when each action in Ba Duan Jin is finished, palm over the navel, a seemingly action of guiding qi to return to yuan, keep accompany. Palm must be aligned the navel and avoid being over high or over low when the action is done.
To guide qi to return to yuan account for small part of exercise. Therefore, when the exercise comes to an end, there is finishing action for any exercise that gathers grains to Granary. Some make such an analogy that starting posture is as if spring plowing, exercise as if field management and finishing action as if harvest; if plowing and management is done perfectly but harvest is neglected, the gathering won’t be satisfactory. Thus, finishing action is indispensible for the whole set of exercise. Four styles of Health Qigong attach great importance to finishing action. For example, the finishing action in Yi Jin Jing, Wu Qin Xi is to cross hands pressing down with mind concentrated, body relax and arms up gradually. All the actions should be finished evenly and consistently so as to guide qi to return to yuan； While the finishing action in Liu Zi Jue and Ba Duan Jin is to press pubes for a second minute with hands accompanied by great attention. Though various styles of Health Qigong are different in exercise and method, they share commonness. That is exercise of mind, breath and body regulation conform to the natural rule of qi production, operation and returning to yuan. Definitely, each exercise has its own requirement on finishing action and the rule and scale shall be well grasped.
Reference: Experience of Improving Exercise Effectiveness jsqg.sport.org.cn