Inverted-Sequence Exercises in Qigong

Hu Xiaofei; Beijing Sport University

What are Inverted-Sequence Exercises

Inverted-sequence exercises refer to exercises like handstand, crawling, backward walking, and barefoot walking. These exercises provide body-strengthening, health-improving, and disease-removing effects for which they are deeply welcomed by people. Inverted-sequence exercises were carried out in our country as early as the ancient times. Various forms of inverted-sequence exercises were included in “Wu Qin Xi” composed by Hua Tuo in the Han Dynasty and recorded in Daoyin Illustrative Plates unearthed from Mawangdui and General Treatise on the Cause and Symptoms of Diseases written by Chao Yuanfang in the Sui Dynasty. These exercises not only provided guarantee for the health and longevity of our ancestors with their body-strengthening and health-improving efficacy, but also played an important role in the life, multiplication, and evolution of the Chinese Nation with their unique biological efficacy. And inverted-sequence exercises are easy to practice and deserve to be popularized.

Inverted-Sequence Exercises in Health Qigong

Health Qigong exercises are based on theories of bionics. And man is the most fully-evolved and advanced creature in the biological world having many habits and body postures that are quite contrary to those of animals. This result in many inverted-sequence exercises in Health Qigong, such as “Nine Ghosts Drawing Saber”, “Pulling Nine Cows by Their Tails”, “Crouching Tiger Springs on Prey”, in “Swinging the Tail” in Health Qigong•Yi Jin Jing, “Tiger Exercise”, “Deer Exercise”, “Bear Exercise”, “Ape Exercise”, and “Bird Exercise” in Health Qigong•Wu Qin Xi, “Hiding the Head and Shrinking the Neck” in Health Qigong•Liu Zi Jue, and “Swinging the Head and Lowering the Body to Relieve Stress” and “Both Hands Touching the Feet to Strengthen the Kidneys and Waist” in Health Qigong•Ba Duan Jin. All of them will provide good effects on the exercisers of Health Qigong during their practice.

Functions and Principles of Inverted-Sequence Exercises

(I) Balancing nervous systems and removing fatigue

Most of the daily activities of people are done with a straight body or adductive, head-lowering, or forward exercises. Therefore the nervous systems controlling such muscle exercises will be constantly in a highly excited state on a long-term basis. On the other hand, the nervous systems controlling the body-bending, abducing, head-lifting, and backward muscle exercises will be in a low-excitation state. The long-term excitation imbalance among the nervous systems will inevitably cause tiredness in local muscles and nerve centers and thus result in sub-health and even diseases. Researches have shown that “inverted-sequence exercises can comprehensively regulate the nervous systems of the body and establish a new balance”. Therefore the crawling movement of “Crouching Tiger Springs on Prey”, the body-unfolding movement of “Tiger Pouncing”, the backward-leaning and abducing exercises of “Nine Ghosts Drawing Saber” and “Bird Stretching”, the backward movement of “Ape Picking”, the head-hiding and neck-shrinking exercises of “Si Zi Jue”, and the looking-back movement of “Looking Backwards to Prevent Sickness and Strain” in Health Qigong can effectively stimulate those muscles that seldom move, exercise the nervous systems more comprehensively than normal exercises, and thus help the exerciser eliminate nervous fatigue and establish a new balance.

(II) Dredging the Twelve Channels and protecting the health of viscera

According to the Channel Theory, the fingers are the start and end points of the three Yin and three Yang hand channels, and toes are the start and end points of the three Yin and three Yang foot channels. For example, the Lung Channel ends at Shaoshang and the Large Intestine Channel starts at Shangyang. They serve as connecting links in blood and Qi circulation and most origin acupoints of the Twelve Channels are distributed around the wrists and ankles. According to the theory of the traditional Chinese medicine, “diseases in the Five Viscera shall be treated at their twelve origins” and “pains are caused by obstruction”. Stimulating these points can effectively dredge the three Yin and three Yang hand channels and improve the functions of the viscera. In the “Crouching Tiger Springs on Prey” exercise of Health Qigong, it is required to exert the fingers, wrists, toes, and ankles in order to effectively stimulate the start and end points of the tree Yin foot channels and three Yang channels and thus dredge the channels and protect the health of the viscera.

(III) Improving systemic circulation and promoting metabolism

The lower limbs of the human body are the major active organs and blood tends to flow into the lower limbs when a man moves with an upright body. In this case, the heart has to work against the pull of the gravity of blood in order to drive the upward circulation of blood and return blood to the heart. This will add to the burden on the heart and cause reduced blood supply for the heart and organs above the heart, exposing the body to the risks of diseases like CHD, AS, varicose veins, arthritis, and haemorrhoids. Exercises such as “Crouching Tiger Springs on Prey”, “Swinging the Tail”, “Tiger Pouncing”, and “Both Hands Touching the Feet to Strengthen the Kidneys and Waist” in Health Qigong effectively lower the heart, promote blood flow into the heart and parts above the heart, and thus improve the blood circulation of the entire body and facilitate the control and prevention of above-mentioned diseases. When one reaches the middle age, the deficiency of blood and Qi and lack of exercise will prevent blood and Qi from reaching the distal joints and thus result in the stasis and obstructed circulation of blood and Qi. And the “Crouching Tiger Springs on Prey” exercise of Health Qigong can effectively enhance the stimulation on the wrists, fingers, ankles, and toes of the exerciser, open more capillaries, improve the microcirculation of the human body, and reduce the blood pressure. This is of more significance for the old and middle-aged people.

(IV) Strengthening muscles and bones and benefiting the brains

Long-term bad habits will cause injuries to local bones and muscles of the human body. For example, bending over the desk for a long time will strain the neck, shoulder, and back muscles. Together with the invasion by wind-pathogen and cold-pathogen, it will cause muscle injuries and local disorder of facet joints. In addition, long-term upright postures will also cause injuries to the vertebral column and especially the lumbar vertebra. Relevant researches have shown that: when looking at a the profile of the vertebral column of a normal person standing upright, the gravity center of the upper part of the body is located in front of the vertebral spine. The gravity line of the body usually goes through the ventral side of the center of the fourth lumbar vertebra. In other words, all segments of the vertebral spine bear a constant anteflexion moment. Therefore the pressure on the vertebral spine is not only from the weight of the human body itself, but also from the convergent force of the back muscles used to balance the gravity. When the human body is upright, the vertebral body and the intervertebral disks almost bear all the pressure. The pressure on different segments of the vertebral column gradually increases from bottom to top. Therefore people standing upright all the time will easily suffer from diseases in the vertebral column and especially the lumbar vertebra, such as lumbagos and back pains. And the crawling movement of “Crouching Tiger Springs on Prey”, the body-unfolding movement of “Tiger Pouncing”, and the backward-leaning and abducing exercises of “Nine Ghosts Drawing Saber” and “Bird Stretching” in Health Qigong will not only effectively help the exerciser relieve the tension on the above-mentioned parts of the body and improve the local circulation of blood, but also disperse the gravity of the body to the four limbs to greatly reduce the load on the spine and lumbar vertebra. And they are very good exercises for the waist and back muscles and especially beneficial for old and middle-aged people suffering from diseases in the waist, back, and vertebral column. They can also stimulate “Dadun” of the liver channel (liver governs the tendons) and “Yongquan” of the kidney channel (kidneys govern the bones) to drain the liver fire, enhance kidney Qi, improve the hepatic and renal functions, and thus slow down the aging process, strengthen the bones and tendons, boost the spirit and energy, and benefit the brains.

(V) Promoting the peristalsis of the stomach and intestines and preventing constipation and piles

The upright posture of the body will impose pressure on the stomach and intestines, cause difficulty in their peristalsis, and due to their low positions, add to the difficulty of venous reflux. This will easily lead to constipation, rectocele, piles, and endless accompanying trouble. By lowering the body position and inverting the sequence of exercises, “Tiger Pouncing”, “Swinging the Tail”, “Both Hands Touching the Feet to Strengthen the Kidneys and Waist”, “Crouching Tiger Springs on Prey”, and “Bear Carrying” in Health Qigong can effectively stimulate the stomach, intestines, and anal sphincter, promote the blood circulation, improve venous reflux, and thus prevent the above-mentioned symptoms.

(VI) Eliminating weak links and preventing accidental injuries

Unbalanced forces on muscles will cause local injuries to the muscles. For example, taking a sneeze may cause a sudden sprain the lumbar region, stepping on a stone may spray the ankle, and looking back may injure the neck. To prevent these injuries, we have to strengthen the local muscles. The “Nine Ghosts Drawing Saber”, “Plucking a Star and Exchanging a Star Cluster”, “Crouching Tiger Springs on Prey”, “Deer Wrestling”, “Hiding the Head and Shrinking the Neck”, and “Looking Backwards to Prevent Sickness and Strain” exercises in Health Qigong can effectively strengthen the local muscles, eliminate the weak links, and thus prevent injuries.

Matters to be Noted about Inverted-Sequence Exercises

(I) Carefully choose exercises

There are a lot of inverted-sequence exercises in Health Qigong, and different people have different conditions. Therefore it is not advisable to practice aimlessly. The best way is to choose inverted-sequence exercises under the guidance of specialists and according to the specific conditions of the exerciser in order to suit the exercises to the symptoms. Inverted-sequence exercises are against people’s habitual movements. Therefore physically weak and disease-susceptible exercisers shall use caution while choosing such exercises. For example, physically weak and powerless people shall use caution while choosing “Crouching Tiger Springs on Prey”, patients with severe high blood pressure shall use caution while choosing “Swinging the Tail” or “Deer Wrestling”, patients with severe cervical spondylosis shall use caution while choosing “Nine Ghosts Drawing Saber” or “Looking Backwards to Prevent Sickness and Strain”, and patients with severe lumbar disc herniation shall use caution while choosing “Swinging the Tail”, “Tiger Pouncing”, or “Moving the Hands down the Back and Legs, and Touching the Feet to Strengthen the Kidneys”.

(II) Make full preparations

Since inverted-sequence exercises usually mobilize the nerves, joints, muscles, and tendons that we seldom use under normal circumstances, we need to take proper warm-up activities to excite the nerves, warm up the muscles, reduce the viscosity of muscles, activate the tendons, and lubricate the joints in order to improve the practicing results and avoid injuries.

(III) Make progress step by step

Inverted-sequence exercises have high requirements on the difficulty of movements, intensity of practice, and amount of exercise with regard to the practicing methods, nervous systems, and organs. Therefore inverted-sequence exercises shall be practiced in a step-by-step and gradually way. This means to: 1. Progress from easier methods of movements to the more complicated ones.. 2. Progress from lower difficulty levels of movements to the higher ones. 3. Progress from lower intensity of practice to higher intensity. 4. Progress from smaller amounts of exercise to larger ones. It is only in this way that we can gradually master the techniques, improve our skills, improve the balances between nerves and the motor system, and thus protect the body and improve health.

(IV) Perseverance

Peoples living habits are not formed within a day or two. And specialization of work is also something we need to carry through on a long-term basis. Therefore, many problems such as mental fatigue and weak muscles cannot be easily alleviated or solved and gradual transition will be required. That is why we need to achieve our goals through repeated practice. Specifically, we should practice 2 to 3 times per week and use 4~8 repetitions for each movement or body part.

(V) Reasonable sort-out

The inverted-sequence exercise involves a certain intensity and workload. Failure to take any sort-out or relaxation after the exercise will reduce the practicing effects and may even cause new fatigue and injures. Therefore, it is necessary to sort out and relax all parts of the body by patting, massaging, shaking, stretching, and swaying. Physical methods of relaxation such as hot water bath after the exercise are even better.

Reference: Inverted-Sequence Exercises in Health Qigong jsqg.sport.org.cn

Using a Five-step Relaxation Method to Regulate Your Moods

When we feel down, depressed, or distressed, we need to fully exert our subjective initiatives, strengthen our self-control, control the nervousness, anxiety, and pain through our self-consciousness, and do the best to eliminate the adverse effects of passive thoughts. We can use the five-step relaxation method for the adjustment. Choose a suitable posture by sitting on a chair or standing naturally.

(1) Inhale through the nose and slightly turn your face upward. Keep still other parts of the body. Keep yourself relaxed. Exhale through the mouth and pronounce “ha”. Relax the head and neck and put them back to the original position. At the same time imagine that the back of the body is slowly relaxed with the exhalation-vocalization until the tail bones are relaxed. Repeat this step for 3 times.

(2) Inhale through the nose and keep your body in the original posture. Keep yourself relaxed and do not take any movement. Exhale through the mouth and pronounce “ha” without moving the body. Imagine that the front of the body is slowly relaxed with the exhalation-vocalization from the chest to the lower abdomen. Repeat this step for 3 times.

(3) Inhale through the nose and slightly turn your face upward. Raise both arms from both sides of the body until they are higher than the head. The palms centers should face downward during this process. Relax other parts of the body and keep the original posture. Exhale through the mouth and pronounce “ha”, and return the head and arms simultaneously. At the same time imagine that upper limbs and body flanks are slowly relaxed with the exhalation-vocalization. Repeat this step for 3 times.

(4) Inhale through the nose and turn your face upward. Arch the waist and cock up the tail bones. Raise both arms towards the front. Slightly bend the legs (You don’t have to move legs if you are sitting). Exhale through the mouth and pronounce “ha”, and return the entire body to the original position simultaneously. Slowly lower the arms. At the same time imagine that the entire body, especially the legs, is slowly relaxed with the exhalation-vocalization. Repeat this step for 3 times.

(5) Inhale through the nose. Close the lips and teeth. Raise both arms from the flanks of the body until they are higher than the head. The palm centers should face each other at a certain angle as if hugging something. Keep still other parts of the body and keep yourself relaxed. Exhale through the nose and close the lips and teeth. Bend the elbows at the same time and press down with both arms from the front of the body to the lower abdomen. The finger tips should point at each other during the process. Then relax them naturally and return them to the body flanks. Repeat this step for 3 times. Be gentle and slow with the movements. Do not use strength. Keep yourself relaxed. (written by Hermit of Mt. E’mei)

Reference: Using a Five-step Relaxation Method to Regulate Your Moods jsqg.sport.org.cn

In-bed Health-preserving Morning Massage

“In-bed health-preserving morning massage” is very simple. We hope that middle-aged and elderly friends could make use of the precious moment in the morning to take good care of your bodies and thus to make yourselves cheerful throughout the whole day.

1. When you wake up in the morning, do not open your eyes immediately, but rest in the bed for 30 seconds so that the body could get prepared for the wakeup. Next, rub your hands until they get hot. Then cover your eyes with the hot hands and begin to massage eyes in circles. Complete 36 circles in the clockwise and anticlockwise directions respectively. After that, slowly rotate your eyeballs from top to bottom, from left to right, and finally in circles. Repeat the eye-rotation for 18 rounds. Then open your eyes and stare at the ceiling for about 1-2 minutes. After completing this part of the massage, you will have a bright eyesight and feel refreshed, comfortable, and vigorous.

2. Rub your hands until they get hot. Then cover both of your auricles with the hot hands and begin to massage them in circles. Complete 36 circles in the clockwise and anticlockwise directions respectively. The movements should be slow, light, and comfortable. After the massage, gently insert the tips of both middle fingers into the exterior earholes (finger nails must be trimmed and smoothed beforehand), and massage in circles. Complete 36 circles in the clockwise and anticlockwise directions respectively. After the massage, gently cover both of your auricles with the palms and use the finger pulps to softly tap your head. This will refresh the brains and improve or maintain your good hearing.

3. Rub your hands until they get hot. Then cover your cheeks with the hot hands and begin to massage them in circles. Complete 36 circles in the clockwise and anticlockwise directions respectively. Rub your hands again until they get hot. Then cover your forehead, mouth and nose with the hot hands and begin to lightly massage them in circles. Complete 36 circles in the clockwise and anticlockwise directions respectively. After that, you will feel refreshed and rejuvenated. This provides natural and cheap self-beautifying effects.

4. Rub your hands until they get hot. Then gently cover your face with the hot hands. Slightly butt your middle fingers against the nose wings on both sides, and gently massage the face from bottom to top. The massage route may cross: Mouth, nose, eyes, forehead, hair line, and Baihui Acupoint on the top of the head. Then move the palms across the back of your head, the occiput, the upper hind neck, the cervical vertebrae, the lower mandible, Chengjiang Acupoint, the mouth, and the philtrum. Repeat this process for 8 circles. This will improve your looks, refresh the brains, restore the spirit, promote blood circulation, and dredge channels.

5. The four massage steps described above can be completed while you are lying on the red or sitting on the bed. After the exercises, sit on the bed and have a rest for 30 seconds and then stand still on your feet for 30 seconds. This will completely ease the body. (Zhang Zhongbin)

Reference: In-bed Health-preserving Morning Massage  jsqg.sport.org.cn

A Brief Analysis of Preparatory Exercises before Practicing Qigong

Health Qigong is an auto-exercise based on the perfect combination of posture regulation, breathing regulation, and mental regulation. The practicer is required to stay focused and take natural and long-lasting breaths during the practice. But physical exercise not only bears gentle and slow movement features but also contains tendon-stretching, bone-drawing, firmness-gentleness alternating, and forces-to-the-ends movements with wide ranges. Hence we need to get fully prepared both mentally and physically before the practice in order to prevent damages due to limitation of joint motions and excessive viscosity of muscles during practice, avoid deformed movements due to stiff muscles, inertial viscera, and absent-mindedness, excite the central nervous system, bring the response, comprehensive analytical ability, and differentiating ability of the brain into an appropriate state, promote the coordination between the motor centers participating in the activity, and thus naturally enter the practice of Health Qigong and achieve good practice effects.

Unfortunately, observation results show that most Health Qigong instructors and amateurs have an inadequate understanding of preparatory exercises before Health Qigong practice. They do not know the purpose, significance, and rules of preparatory exercises, let alone a complete set of effective routines and methods. In most cases they merely do some random conditioning exercises or casually press legs and mobilize joints before practicing Health Qigong. Both the form and contents of such exercises are simplistic and mechanical. To be worse, some practicers even take it for granted that since Health Qigong movements are slow and gentle, preparatory exercises are not even important. As a result, such practicers often give up preparatory exercises completely. This will not only affect the practicing efficiency of the practicer but also cause strains to the locomotor system of the practicer or, in some serious cases, cause certain injuries and thus impede the further implementation of Health Qigong activities.

Functions of preparatory exercises

1. Regulating the mental status before practicing; Preparative execises can bring the excitedness of the cerebral cortex to an appropriate level. Before Health Qigong practice, the practicer can use autosuggestion and meditation to focus the mind, relax the brain, enter a state of peace and quietness, and thus get prepared for the unity of “Three Regulations” in practice.

2. Promoting the functional levels of internal organs in the circulating and respiratory systems; Preparatory exercises promote the functions of the respiratory system and leave elevated-excitedness marks in the respiratory center of the cerebral cortex. Entering the formal movements on top of this elevated excitedness will increase the pulmonary ventilation volume and ensure the sufficient oxygen supply during formal practice.

3. Promoting the coordination between centers involved in movements; Preparatory exercises can connect multiple conditional reflexes related to motor skills so that the practicer has more reasonable rhythms, more accurate movements, more precise postures, and more coordinated motions during Health Qigong practice.

4. Improving the metabolic level and raising the body temperature; Preparatory exercises can raise the body temperatures of the practicer and thus reduce the muscular viscosity, increase the contractive and diastolic velocities of muscles, and strengthen the muscle power. Under a higher body temperature, hemoglobin and myoglobin will release more oxygen and thus increase the oxygen supply for muscles. Due to the increased level of substance metabolism, the excitedness of nerves and muscular tissues will be widely increased. In addition, the increase in muscle temperatures will dilate the small vessels, reduce the peripheral resistance, and increase the blood supply for muscles. At the same time, increased body temperature will add to the extensibility of muscles and tendons, increase their tenacity, and prevent sports injuries.

Requirements of preparatory exercises

The purpose of preparatory exercises is to cause a trace effect in organs and systems of the body. This trace effect relates to the post-excitation effect of the nervous system, the secretion of some hormones in the internal secretion glands, and the temperature effect of increased body temperature.

The length of time that this “trace” stays in the body depends on the degree of stimulation by the preparatory exercise and the interval between the preparatory exercise and the formal exercise. Therefore the workload and intensity of the preparatory exercise and the interval between the preparatory and formal exercises are crucial factors. Generally speaking, the preparatory exercise shall last 10~15min and its intensity shall be so that the practicer feels warmed-up and sweats a little bit without any heavy breath. Due to the “Three Regulations” requirement of Health Qigong, the interval between the preparatory exercise and formal practice should better be no longer than 3min.

Notes about preparatory exercises

1. The exercise shall be both comprehensive and clearly targeted. Except Liu Zi Jue, all exercises of Health Qigong require movements of the entire body and alternating firmness and gentleness. Therefore their preparatory exercises shall be able to warm up the muscles, joints, and tendons. Moreover, Health Qigong exercises involve particular requirements on different parts of the body. For example, Ba Duan Jin involves high requirements on the strength of lower limbs, Yi Jin Jing involves high requirements on the flexibility of the spine column in all directions, and Wu Qin Xi involves high requirements on the coordination between the nervous system and the body. Therefore different preparatory exercises shall be chosen for different formal exercises to be practiced.

2. The preparatory exercise shall be simple, less intensive, and easy to learn. This is because a preparatory exercise is meant to get the practicer prepared for the formal exercise. Compared with the formal exercise, it should be basically auxiliary and secondary. In addition, the both the physical and mental loads of the human body should better be raised in a bit-by-bit manner. Therefore the preparatory exercise must be so arranged that it is easy to learn and not very intensive. Only in this way can a preparatory exercise truly mobilize the practicer both mentally and physically, prevent injuries and cardiovascular accidents, and serve the formal exercise.

3. The amplitude shall be moderate and movements gentle and slow. The preparatory exercise needs to warm up all related joints of the body, stretch relevant muscles and tendons, and raise the service level of the heart and lungs. But at the beginning of the exercise, the practicer’s body is usually not hot enough and the heart and lungs are very inertial. Therefore the preparatory shall be provided with a moderate amplitude and gentle and slow movements. This way it will both warm up the body and prevent muscle strains and a series of problems caused by inertia of the internal organs.

4. The body shall be warmed up in an orderly manner from head to foot. The purpose of the preparatory exercise is to make sure that full-body movements are done under a relaxed physical and mental status. Therefore we should carefully consider the sequence of activities while arranging the preparatory exercise, so that the practicer won’t be confused or have to go out of the way to consider what the next movement is while practicing.

5. The full body shall be stretched with moderate strength. The warm-up exercise shall not only warm up the joints and activate the functions of internal organs, but also warm up muscles related to the formal exercise. This will add to the extensibility of muscles and the amplitude of movements and prevent injuries to muscles and joints. And the exercise of Health Qigong will involve 90% percent of all muscles, including both big and small muscle groups. Therefore, while arranging the preparatory exercise, we should consider stretching all muscle groups of the entire body but with gradual and moderate use of strength so as to prevent injuries to muscles and joints.

6. The “Three Regulations” shall be well combined and relaxed appearance with mental tension is required. The preparatory exercise is in the service of Health Qigong and therefore has to bear the features of Health Qigong. As a result it must both present the characteristics of the traditional sports of our nation and accord with the principles of modern science. And the most distinguishing features of Health Qigong are the approaches of posture regulation, breathing regulation, and mental regulation, the combination of these “Three Regulations”, and the practicing style of relaxed appearance with mental tension, which are quite different from the features of warm-up exercises of modern sports. (Hu Xiaofei and Zhuang Yongchang)

Reference: A Brief Analysis of Preparatory Exercises before Practicing Health Qigong jsqg.sport.org.cn

Invigorating the Kidney and Adjusting the Qi

Take a sitting posture. Close the eyes slightly. Rid the mind of all distractions. Relax the whole body. Breath naturally. Keep this position for 15 minutes.

Then open the eyes. Put the right foot on the left knee (a reverse for females). Tap the arch of right foot with the palm of the left hand, with the Laogong acupoint tapping the Yongquan acupoint. While tapping concentrate your mind and have the idea “tap hard”, but tap with an even and proper force, not with a stif hand. After that do the same thing to the other foot.

Tapping: 100 for each foot on the first day; 200 the next day; 300 from the the third day on. Adjust the times according to your need, but never above 900 times.

Points of attention. Do not beat hard. To keep the idea “Beat it hard”, but to do it with an even force is the principle.

To end the exercise, calm down for 15 minutes. The ending form is the same as the starting form.

Having done the exercise, the practioner, if he suffers from low blood-presure and insufficient blood sugar, he or she must put his left or her left hand palm on the head with the Laogong acupoint facing Baihui acupoint.

For health protection, once a day before going to bed in the evening; for clinical treatment, three to five times a day.

Reference with further explanations, application and function: Treasured Qigong of Tradtional Medical School by Huang Runtian p. 4 – 9

The Ancient Poem of Universal Post

The universal post is a mystical form of martial arts
We can never fully understand the way it is done
It seems like an embrace with a smiling face
You use your strength from within
You are relaxed and use no force
It is like clouds floating in the wind from all directions
You use forces from the universe to substantiate your strength
Your strength comes from your breathing
You do not hold fast, leaving a lot of room to move
You do not bend to great strength
So smoothly you move and so naturally
Your breathing and your limb movements should not be impeded
It is like moving in space
In and out of the highest peaks and clouds
Gliding through air and clouds
Floating along with the winds
Graceful yet composed
Always contain calmness and peace
Head upheld high with pride
You embrace the world below you
As clear and pure as an underground brook
Like lead turning into silver spinning the moon
Looking into an antique mirror to look deep into your soul
Your cup is filled to the brim
Absolutely free of restraint and free of self
You could fly as though you had wings
Head towards the limitless horizon
Like throwing a pebble into the water
The circles get larger and larger
With your hands you push open the limits of the universe
You embrace from within
Heaven and earth and the ten thousand things capture your thoughts
The eyes look outside with determination
Up and down your strength flows
You push and you embrace continuously
Your thought should be pure
This should clear your mind
This should curb all illness
You always return to the center
You can attack or defend at will
You must have a will of iron
The principle of this s to strengthen
To go for happiness and health
Your body will benefit from this
This has been handed down from the ancients
This form of exercise can help you without limits

Reference: The Tai Chi Boxing Chronicle by Kuo Lien-Ying p. 139

100 Chinese and Buddhist Health Rules 51-100

No. 51 – Quiet Sitting
To nourish yourself in quietude: lie on your bed, completely relax body and mind, let your whole body melt without using even a tiny bit of effort, so that you feel as if there was no body. Breathe naturally and exert not even a trace of effort in the mind-and-heart— when a thought arises, this is already the use of effort. Place your mind calmly on the soles of your feet and from there guide fire down and water up, so that the qi and blood in the entire body flow vibrantly.

No. 52 – Cultivation Formula
The essential formula of cultivation practice:

Serene and radiant, radiant and serene—I am utterly effortless.
To become enlightened, turn into a patriarch: there is no other secret.

Essential requirements for healing the body: Do not allow any part to use even a bit of effort. Fully control your thoughts, breath, and limbs. The eyes do not see, the ears do not hear, the tongue does not taste, the mouth does not ingest, the mind does not think. This is the only thing.

As soon as there is anything you think, hear, or feel—this is effort. Even a slight movement of arms or fingers—this is effort. Making the breath softer or harder—this is effort. Practicing like this, soon your breath will be naturally calm and it will feel as if it is not moving at all through nose and mouth. Then the 84,000 pores of the whole body will work actively, expanding and contracting. At this point there is no I, no self, no qi, no mind. The mind of heaven has returned to its original position. This is what we call the fire returning to the prime, or fire and water in complete balance. It is the key mode for curing the hundred diseases.

Please rethink the above rule, maybe you forgot it since you read rule no. 20 🙂

No. 53 – Attachment and Fear
Among people who nourish life, thirty percent die anyway. Why is this? It is because they are overly attached to their bodies. On behalf of this stinking bag of skin, they fear being embarrassed, they fear being imprisoned; they fear being defeated, they fear reaching the top. They scan in all directions, looking forward and turning back, looking left and turning right, nervous and terrified of fear itself, troubled by success, troubled by failure. . . .

In this state their pure mind and heavenly connection shrivel to the size of a plum pit and they look like they have been bitten repeatedly by nasty dogs—how can they not end up dying? The more you fear death, the faster death comes. If you want to nourish life, you cannot ever feel fear of death. If you just don’t fear death, you can easily get farther away from it.

No. 54 – Awarness
When people are sick but think they are fine, this is the worst kind of sickness. How many people really are there who know they are sick?

People who truly have no fear of death will never encounter wild tigers on the road or, if they do get close to one, it won’t devour them; they will not encounter knives and guns when in a fight or, if they are attacked by those, won’t suffer harm. Why is this? It is because they do not make death their reference point. Not fearing death, death has no power over them. In nourishing life, what could be more important? Thus people who practice cultivation attain long life with ease. They don’t think about long life, and paradoxically they can live long. Thinking constantly about long life, on the other hand, only makes death come that much faster. Long life is not the goal of cultivation; it is only a secondary phenomenon on the way.

No. 55 – Disconnection
People who surf the web in the middle of the night day after day do great harm to their bodies and chances for long life. The so-called famous great doctors are just like this. Their mind-and-hearts are totally involved in measurements and comparisons of all sorts and trying to ask them to connect to their selves for life-preservation is impossible. What kind of doctors are they?

No. 56 – Bargaining
Don’t crave for anything to be a bit cheaper or even a lot cheaper. Even a bit of craving holds the evil of attachment. Craving is being troubled by gain and loss until one gets a serious heart disease. Craving is being troubled by gain and loss: this means one has no clue about nature or the ways of Dao.

No. 57 – Food
Don’t spend your days thinking about what you could eat to supplement yin or what you could take to enhance yang. Just remember in all activities you give rise to yang; in all quietude you give rise to yin. Yin is the mother of yang; yang is the son of yin.

No. 58 – Precedence
When your qi is deficient, don’t enhance it blindly. This may have a negative impact on the whole body. If it is because blood is deficient, then you should first enhance the blood. This is because blood is the mother of qi, and if you don’t treat it first, you run the danger of drying and overheating the blood vessels and burning up the inner organs. If it is because there is an obstruction and the qi cannot flow freely, enhance both blood and qi by working on them equally. This way you will succeed in enhancing qi.

No. 59 – Environment
The importance of the environment for people’s health cannot be overemphasized. This is why people who live in deep mountains and ancient forests with clean air and fresh qi heal so much more easily. The subtle particles and high oxygen content of the air in these places get into the deep breath when people are in a relaxed state. They thus are absorbed by the body, where they moisturize and nurture the five organs and six intestines and give people new life energy. Another point people are not usually aware of is that even if they do not breathe deeply through nose and mouth, every pore of their bodies breathes in and out all the time—a feature that is essential in our connection to nature and heaven.

No. 60 – Heaven and Earth
When people are relaxed and breathe slow and deep, their body achieves a state of subtle energetic exchange with heaven and earth. Upon inhalation, they in fact expel the inhaled breath in the lungs and the whole body moves to push internal qi out. This is how the qi of humanity moves toward heaven and earth. During exhalation, they in fact absorb the subtle energy of heaven and earth through every pore of the body. This is what Laozi refers to when he speaks of “Between heaven and earth, it is like a bellows.”

No. 61 – Avoid in Exercising
Two things to avoid in exercising:

Do not exercise when blood and qi are deficient.
Do not exercise in a dirty or defiled environment.

No. 62 – Do in Exercising
Two things to do in exercising:

Increase the speed of blood and qi circulation, so the toxins inside the body can come to the surface.
Open the body’s pores wide and breathe in deeply, so you absorb the essence and qi of heaven and earth.

No. 63 – Simplicity
What is “awakening to inner nature”? What is “wisdom”? Both mean to regard all beings from a position of greatest simplicity. However, most people and especially those who are frustrated with themselves tend to take even the simplest thing and see it as highly complex, thus creating complexity. Intricate and straightforward are really the same thing; they are just different sides of the same coin. Smart and perceptive people choose to look at things from the simple side; stupid and ignorant people tend to see them from the complex side.

No. 64 – Incurable Diseases
If people have a incurable disease, they have to rely on the spirit for a cure. If the disease does not respond to reliance on the spirit, they have to rely on the Buddha. What is the Buddha? The Buddha is the mind-and-heart.

No. 65 – Hospitals
In the modern world hospitals and prisons have a lot in common, especially when we think of patients as having received a death sentence. Also, in both situations, many people who do not deserve a death sentence receive one anyway. Why am I saying this?

Let’s think of cancer for a moment. Cancer for many people today equals a death sentence. That is to say, as long as we don’t actually call it “cancer,” we give the patients a sense of hope and a new chance at life. So what I am saying is that the vast majority of cancer patients today are dying of their fear, of the ill treatment of their spirit, of the harsh treatment in the hospital. You may be diagnosed with cancer one day, but you should immediately assume a position of no fear, because if you get well and don’t die, it is your destiny to do so, and if you don’t get well and in fact die, it is because you are the cancer.

In actual reality, there is no disease that cannot be cured, there is only your mind-and-heart that can or cannot let go. All diseases arise from the mind-and-heart, all diseases heal from the mind-and-heart. You only need to return to active living and you will soon have your chance at life. Finding this chance at life means the cure of cancer and your return to full health.

No. 66 – Competition
Any form of competition will turn order into disturbance and lead people into evil [immorality]. What is competition? Competition is anything that pulls people into the world of craving and desire.

No. 67 – Pure and Turbid
From the perspective of the mutual interchange of yin and yang, pure and turbid attract each other. Therefore, any pure and fresh things people eat inevitably get mixed with the turbid juices inside the body and are expelled accordingly.

No. 68 – Overeating
A dominance of turbid juices arises because people eat unclean things, but more importantly because they overeat. The body cannot digest all this matter and it accumulates inside, creating barriers.

No. 69 – Spontaneity
Smoothly following one’s natural course (inherent so-being, spontaneity) is the highest level of nourishing life. Each human being from birth has a set pattern that forms the foundation of his or her destiny. What he or she should or should not do, should or should not eat—as long as he or she follows this inherent pattern of destiny, he will encounter peace and be free from trouble.

Some people are very much aware of their inherent nature. They can specify the details and know exactly what their pattern of destiny is. They will be very clear about what they should and should not do. For this reason, nourishing life definitely has no simple one-fits-all system to follow—people are as different and as fluid as the clouds. Never go after what you admire in others, but always from the depth of your own mind-and-heart look for realizing your own inner nature.

How, then, do people know whether or not they are actually following their own natural course? If in actual life, you find dead-simple things that don’t work out, you get sick a lot, you are not comfortable, and you cannot be at rest with yourself—these are signs that your are going against your natural course. You need to start moving along with the great course of nature on the outside and follow the natural course of your destiny on the inside. Don’t miss out on either one!

No. 70 – Sensitivity Levels
A lot of people, when they hear that a doctor can help with their serious health issues, often assume an attitude of innocence and expect him to eliminate their disease by cutting, excising, poisoning, or otherwise killing it. But after that, does the disease really not have a place from where to resurface? There really is no such thing in the world as a “suddenly arising disease.”

Let me take the common cold as an example. If a patient really came to examine himself carefully, he would find that the various symptom all first gave some subtle indication and that he could have, before actually getting the cold, dispersed its building blocks in the different parts of the body. Thus, some people will find that they were recently exposed to some cold wind or drenched in a rainstorm. Others will discover that they had a great deal of stress at work, suffered from headaches and could not sleep. In reality, all these phenomena are elements that eventually lead to the common cold. In conclusion, if patients’ personal sensitivity and inner awareness were increased to a sufficient level, one could easily reach the goal of “blocking afflictions before they arise.”

No. 71 – True Science
What is true science? It is the law of cause and effect. If it does not work with cause and effect, it is not true science.

No. 72 – Failures
Do not fear failure [defeat, loss] in your mind. Do not take advantage of others in your mind. In other words, only you can suffer failure. Other people are part and parcel of your destiny, so you should give to them and never develop a craving to take advantage of them. You cannot get your mind to stay stable? Who in the world can get it there? Only the Buddha has that power.

No. 73 – Self-Assurance
Once people have taken charge of their health-related thoughts and practices, they develop perfect self-confidence in their entire being that eliminates any need of worrying about disease. This kind of feeling is fabulous. I wish we could all have this kind of powerful self-assurance.

No. 74 – Examination
In intense study, intention and qi are balanced. When the mind is stable, qi is balanced. Thus, for anyone who has attained Dao, examining another person is not a terribly difficult task but just the effect of yet another turning of the mind.

No. 75 – Five desires
Among the five desires, fame [feeling important] is hardest to overcome. Next comes sex [sensual pleasure, having fun], third is wealth [material stability], then food [eating and drinking], and finally sleep [rest and recreation]. As long as the mind-and-heart for fame is not dead, there is no way one can enter Dao.

No. 76 – Disease Inception
The hundred diseases begin when wind and heteropathy enter the body. If the body’s qi is vacuous and weak, the defensive and constructive energies lose their balance. Then worry and speculation, fright and anxiety arise, and wine [intoxication] and sex [distracting sensory pleasures] exhaust one’s strength. Perfect qi is minimal, and outside heteropathy comes in.

No. 77 – Rule 29
This is a circular rule, go and remember rule no. 29

No. 78 – Rule 30
This is another circular rule, go and see again rule no. 30

No. 79 – Side Attack
In the past, when hearing about how Hitler resolved breaching the extremely well defended and highly armed Maginot Line in France, I understood the following: when faced with strong and resistant diseases, you cannot overcome them with a frontal attack. Rather, to destroy it, you must get at it from a variety of angles. Kidney and liver problems, for example, tend to be highly resistant. You get best results when you approach them by balancing the lungs or spleen.

No. 80 – Centering
Being well centered is the root source of nourishing life. Qi and blood in people’s bodies form a pair of yin and yang. Blood is yin and substance; qi is yang and function. Blood is the mother of qi; qi is the master of blood. If qi is insufficient, one easily gets accumulation disease, such as swellings, tumors, blood clots, and the like. If qi is excessive, one easily gets diseases where blood flows too fast from the brain. Thus, as long as you keep blood and qi in even balance, you can stay very healthy.

No. 81 – First Steps
When people just have awakened to some kind of feeling for their “natural course” [inner spontaneity], they already reckon that they have attained Dao. But knowing the natural course is only the first step; going on and following it is what makes people spirit men. Understanding and matching yin and yang, understanding and following one’s natural course, this is the great inner power needed to be a good healer.

No. 82 – Natural Course
What is this “natural course”? It is the fact that each and every thing has the two sides of yin and yang, that each and every being undergoes the same life process of birth, growth, decline, and death. Following this process, you can use the production and conquest cycles of the five phases to enhance someone’s inner balance. Then what disease could not be cured?

No. 83 – Simple and Complex, Hard and Soft
Simple and complex form a pair just like yin and yang. The more an affair is complex, the more often it can be resolved by the simplest means. In the same way, if you look at what seems to be a simple issue, you often find that the solution is not easy at all and you cannot resolve it even by exerting utmost efforts.

The same also holds true for hard and soft. Extreme softness can overcome the hardest substance; against extreme hardness softness stands no chance. For this reason, whenever we are faced with solving an issue we should use this kind of thinking: when encountering a complex problem, look for the simplest way of resolving it; when meeting with a simple question, do not disregard it, but make sure to give it sufficient importance. It is just like Chairman Mao used to say: The strategy of war take lightly, the art of war take seriously. In other words, the state of the issue take lightly, the process of resolution take seriously.

No. 84 – Today
Let us see whether the following is true in the world today: people follow their natural patterns of eating and sleeping; people honor their natural course of life. Not really. If they can’t do so, why? Because that is way too simple. So they don’t just rest at ease and honor their course. Such is the honest truth.

No. 85 – Balance
What does “balance “mean? Balance is the state when yin and yang depend on each other and control each other in equal measure. Any form of excess or sufficiency means a loss of balance. All sorts of things may harm primordial qi, loss of balance certainly injures it. Always resting in a state of balance, primordial qi is well preserved and people age and decline only very slowly.

No. 86 – Yin and Yang
The way of yin and yang means two opposing forces depending upon, and changing into, one another. Thus, in any kind of oppositional situation, if one side distances itself from the other, it will never be controlled by it. Thus if one lets go of all loss, destruction cannot reach one.

You see, the leaders in modern society do not like constraints; they want to come and go as they please, following their whims, their own modes, greedy to obtain more goods. The result of this is that there are more rules than one can possibly think of.

Yin and yang are like that. In the great course of life, when one being arises, it becomes the cause of the birth of other beings, but at the same time some other being comes into existence that starts to limit them. This in essence is how the production and conquest cycles of the five phases work, the way yin and yang depend upon and check each other.

For this reason, the way of nourishing life also works like this. If you get sick, there is always one cause that brings it forth. At the same time there is also always a factor that controls it and makes it go away. Just like in the natural world, in any place that has poisonous snakes, there will be plants that cure snake bite.

No. 87 – Body Oblivion
What is self-realization through body oblivion? It means giving up control, giving up secret schemes.

Note: we are unsure of at least some part of the translation. If anybody has a better insight please relay it to us.

什麽叫人得意忘形?他失去控制了,失去陰的制約了,所以其下場畢竟是……,同樣人也不能一味消沈下去,這就是失去陽對他的制約了

No. 88 – Great Wisdom
Any so-called great wisdom, if it is without heartfelt feelings, what great wisdom is that?

No. 89 – Learning
Ordinary people talk about living to old age and learning to old age. But learning also has its time and what you learn in each phase of life needs to match what need most at that time. Otherwise you are not in harmony with the flow of life and fail to follow your natural course. However, looking at education in the world today, from kindergarten to university, how many things do the children learn that they actually need at their age?

What do you need to learn as a child? Most importantly, you need basic ethics and a sense of reverence for your parents. Only learning to read and write, what good does that do after you leave school? Once you get to adolescence, you need to learn how to be good at living in harmony and raising children, focusing on family happiness. In middle age, you need to work on nourishing life. Eventually, when you get to be old, you need to learn how to relax your mental disposition and be at peace in your last years. Whatever else you choose to study, these are the essentials of learning.

No. 90 – Emotions
Emotions and sickness are closely interrelated: all diseases come from emotions. You may use medications for a cure, but whether you do in fact remove the symptoms or not, underneath you are still not well. When you deal with this kind of disease, after you deal with the outer signs you still have to deal with the person inside. The five emotions can bring about disease; the five emotions can also cure them.

No. 91 – Courage
Nourishing life centers on one thing only: do not fear death! As long as you fear death, your yang-qi is insufficient, and when that happens, the power of death can defeat you. That’s what the Daoists keep talking about: the heroic energy found in people who practice cultivation and refinement. Kindness, wisdom, and courage: you must have all three!

No. 92 – Samadhi
Take any subject of study or practice and work on it until it becomes utterly easy and simple: this is the point where you reach an essential state of samadhi. As long as you still feel that the subject has some parts that are great and profound, sections that you cannot fathom, you still have not fully mastered its ultimate essence. You are still only seeing its outer leaves and branches and have not yet reached the root.

At this point you are still in the stage of “being” and have not yet attained the stage of “nonbeing.” All things for you still are enmeshed in the realm of yin and yang, all the myriad affairs and myriad things are still part of yin and yang. You need to find the root is of yin and yang: “Know the one and the myriad affairs are done!”

No. 93 – Nourishing Life
Concentrate your spirit and stabilize your qi, forget both yourself and all beings. This is the ultimate core of nourishing life.

No. 94 – The Center
The center bright and clear, peace will result. Nourish life this way and you will live long, die and not perish, and become a great light in the greater universe. The center not bright and clear, the twelve organs are endangered; they block the Dao and prevent it from flowing freely, so that the body is greatly harmed. Nourish life this way and you will endanger the powers of the greater universe. Be very, very careful!

No. 95 – Proper Cycles
How to apply the five phases’ cycles of production and conquest: if a disease is due to an excess in the five organs, use the conquest cycle to remedy it; if it is due to a depletion, use the production cycle. This is the fundamental principle of using the five phases.

No. 96 – Materialism
People nowadays often pursue an expensive material life-style and put all their efforts toward that. But the result of this kind of pursuit is really scary. What you need to realize is that people’s desire for material goods is inexhaustible. Once this desire can no longer be controlled, it does nothing but create inexhaustible suffering.

In fact, material goods can bring happiness but so can the spirit. Medications can cure diseases, but so can psychological healing. For this reason, spending all our life in the pursuit of material wealth is no where near as good as using our entire life to nurture a good mental disposition, which alone will allow our spirit to attain transcendence.

No. 97 – Rule 73
This is the fourth and the last (re)cycled rule, please read again the rule no. 73

No. 98 – The Sentinels
Our bodies are mechanisms full of wisdom: they have excellent sentinels that guard over our health: the teeth, the appendix, the tonsils, and so on. Originally, any time our bodies enter an exceptional situation (such as, most commonly, “fire rising”), these various sentinels immediately react and communicate the disturbance to the brain. Smart people at this point harmonize their minds-and-hearts and inspect themselves, making sure to restore inner balance.

However, what do Western-trained physicians do these days? “You hurt?” they say. “I will make your pain go away.” Even worse, they have developed some kind of scientific instrument, so they say: “You have a serious nasal infection and sneeze a lot? Let me cauterize the nerves inside your nose, so that you won’t be able to sneeze, no matter how strong the provocation.” The result of these treatments by Western doctors is that, if we ever fall ill, we won’t know until the disease affects our five organs and six intestines.

No. 99 – Benign Symptoms
Just remember: if we have sudden diarrhea, sneezes, coughs, or fever, these are signs of our bodies working at comprehensive recovery. There is no need to take medicines for these symptoms.

No. 100 – Terminal Diseases
Most serious diseases and terminal growths have only one cause: resentment [hatred, discontent]. Once resentment is gone, all ailments dissolve. What is hardest to resolve in this world is continuous and unstoppable resentment. As long as there is such unresolved resentment, there will always be incurable diseases.

Reference: http://yijinjing.ro/health-rules/

100 Chinese and Buddhist Health Rules 1-50

No. 1 – Sleep
Sleep is the first element of nourishing life. Your preferred time to sleep is between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m., becausethis time in the course of the day matches the season of winter. If things are not contained in the winter,they cannot grow in the summer, which means that on the next day your spirit will be low.

No. 2 – Medication
All the various medications used to cure diseases work on the surface and don’t penetrate to the root, no matter whether they are Chinese herbs or Western drugs. Because all the different diseases arise from basicmistakes in living and are the result of such mistakes, as long as you do not remove the cause of the mistakes,their result cannot be eliminated at the root.

Now, the root of health is the mind-and-heart and all life factors and experiences originate from there. If themind-and-heart is pure, the body is pure. So, if you get sick, don’t look for a cause outside, but rely on the innatepowers of your own body and self to recover. This reality applies equally to human beings and animals; ifanimals can recover from diseases relying on their own powers, so can people.

No. 3 – Correct Behavior
The right understanding is to stay far away from expensive drugs and dangerous surgery in helping patients to get rid of their diseases. Based on this, you tend to make the right decisions and follow the right patterns of behavior. This will also allow you to ward off the arising of numerous diseases.

No. 4 – Innate Wisdom
People all have innate wisdom, which definitely does not come from book learning. Rather, it comes from their own true mind-and-heart, their pure and clear mind-and-heart (what Daoists call “Dao nature” and Buddhists call the bodhi-mind).

No. 5 – Inner Regulatory Abilities
Among all living beings, people have the most beautiful and complex body, but the degree of its health is determined at birth. Their level of health, then, depends on their original body’s innate regulatory and recovery abilities; it has nothing to do with outside elements. Outside factors can only aid in its functioning.

No. 6 – Purification
The vast majority of symptoms people develop are signs of their bodies ridding themselves of internal toxins in the process of adjustment and purification, conditions that appear as part of the body’s automatic regulation and balancing process. You should therefore take them as signs of the proper functioning of life and never forcefully get rid of them, thinking that they are the beginning of a disease and should be eliminated.

For this reason, when you are sick, by all means avoid developing a mind that is full of resentment, hatred, anger, and anxiety. Rather, make sure there is peace and stability in your mind-and-heart. When the mind is stable, the qi flows properly; when the qi flows properly, the blood is vibrant: the hundred diseases will dissolve.

No. 7 – Qi and Blood, Meridians
People’s heath is closely connected with two factors: sufficient qi and blood; free and open meridians (including blood vessels and the digestive channels).

No. 8 – Good Living Habits
Having sufficient qi and blood depends on sufficient food + bile + good sleep at the right time—from dusk to 1:40 a.m. when the brain does not work at all and we are guided by plants and spirits— + good living habits.

No. 9 – Clear and Pure Mind
To have free and open meridians you most of all need to have a clear and pure mind. The seven emotions and six desires all harm you’re your mind-and-heart, which in turn causes harm to the proper circulation in the meridians.

No. 10 – Enhance and Control Qi
To maintain a healthy body, you need not only to enhance (increase qi and blood) but also to control (diminish the loss of qi and blood).

No. 11 – Control Food
A massive increase in food intake not only will not increase qi and blood but will produce a greater burden of toxins in the body. To return to normal, rely on the purifying powers of digestive blood and qi. The five organs and six intestines all work due to the efforts of blood and qi. Food is their raw material, but there is a limit to how much their work capacity can be increased. Since there is no limit to available food stuffs, we must establish control over the amounts we eat.

No. 12 – Relaxation
Appropriate exercise can aid people’s blood and qi circulation, but it can also contribute to the loss of blood and qi. The energetic cycles in the human body should most of all be approached in a state of relaxation: never compromise on this rule of health!

No. 13 – Detoxify, Open Meridians, Increase Blood and Qi
The greater the amount of toxins in people’s bodies, the more they need to purify their blood and qi. However, people’s blood and qi are reduced because of this increase in toxins and blockages in the arteries. This creates a vicious circle and becomes the main mechanism of aging and decline. For this reason, people who want to be healthy and stay young should do three things: reduce the amount of toxins in their bodies; increase the open passage in their blood vessels and meridians; and increase the blood and qi in the body.

No. 14 – Own Intuition and Awarness
Having faith in the efficacy of medications and diagnostic measurements is not as good as trusting your own intuition and the adequacy of your body’s regulatory abilities. However, these presuppose that you have attained the Dao or opened your inner wisdom and live from that perspective.

No. 15 – Study Buddhism
Health begins with regulating the mind-and-heart and inner nature. So, for the sake of your health, start to study Buddhism. Finding happiness through the practice of Buddhism is the highest fortune among humanity.

No. 16 – False Symptoms
Speaking of someone with an old disease, as long as his blood and qi are kept full (by using the qi-replenishing methods introduced here and by having him do quiet sitting to open the qi nodes), the feelings of the disease may come out in full force.

For this reason, people who practice various forms of cultivation may experience all kinds of “disease-like” symptoms when they reach a certain level. At that time they should intensify their qi-work and firmly stick to their practice of quiet sitting, thereby to increase qi and blood. This way they will move quickly through this situation.

No. 17 – Endangering Life
People who go against the basic rules of nourishing life, even though they may not get obviously sick, as they get habituated to this unhealthy life-style, set themselves up for major disease. It is quite like the basic rules of traffic: if you go against them, you may not have an accident immediately, but the danger of having one is easily obvious.

No. 18 – Emptiness
Why is it beneficial in nourishing life if people maintain a certain level of hunger and thirst? In fact, this is the wonderful application of “emptiness.” Daoists say that emptiness leads to numinosity. This together with humility allows people to make progress, while being full in themselves just makes them drop back to square one. For this reason, one should always maintain an attitude of “empty numen.” This way one can constantly maintain inner clarity and awakeness which in turn allows one to maintain health.

No. 19 – Food Quality
People who want to live a healthy life need to make sure that they take enough qi-bringing and qi-transforming foods. Just by doing this you will avoid accumulating lots of toxins in the body. You will also prevent having too much food releasing a roving “empty fire,” which will deplete your inner organs. Plus, this “empty fire” can turn around and deplete your internal qi. For this reason and speaking from this perspective, when people today get sick, it is for the most part because their intake of food and drink is not properly regulated.

No. 20 – Quiet Sitting
To nourish life by quiet sitting, sit (or lie) on your bed, completely relax body and mind, let your whole body melt without using even a tiny bit of effort, so that you feel as if there was no body. Breathe naturally and exert not even a trace of effort in the mind-and-heart—when a thought arises, this is already using effort. Place your mind calmly on the soles of your feet and from there guide fire down and water up, so that qi and blood in the entire body flow vibrantly.

No. 21 – Turning Point
There is a common saying: “When the turning point is right, a good plan will come.” To properly understand this idea of “turning point,” you need to open your sense of intuition. A teacher giving instructions, a physician curing diseases—these are turning points that fall into your lap and open new chances for you. This “turning point” at times also may be a key opportunity.

Naturally this “turning point” needs to be properly used in the right circumstances which merge with the atmosphere around you to create a certain energetic density, just like by getting ahold of fire one can set off fireworks.

Just to make sure: other people’s activities and events are outside causes; your own talents and tendencies are proper insight causes. If they come together in the right way, this is what we mean by “turning point.” The arrow in the bow ready to be released: you must find the right “point” for your shot. All affairs are ultimately like this—they each have their specific turning point.

If you just connect to this, all kinds of things will evolve. If you don’t connect to it and are involved in too many other affairs, there is no way things will start moving. The turning point is just like this: it is the central element and key opportunity for things to develop. It is a core point, not just a surface appearance. But by setting this core point in motion, you can also move the surface appearance along with it.

For this reason, the turning point of any disease is the central element and key opportunity when the disease arises, develops, and changes. In other words, reaching a turning point of disease, people’s condition becomes openly manifest and they enter a vicious circle of “being sick.” Responding to the turning point of disease opens the “turning point of life.” Once this is opened, people enter a positive circle of health. In fact, these two turning points of disease and of life are two sides of the same coin, a matching yin-yang pair. As the turning point of disease opens, that of life closes, and vice versa, as the turning point of life opens, that of disease gradually begins to close. Such is the honest truth.

No. 22 – Book Learning
The fact is, to appreciate numerous good discoveries and inventions there is no need for book learning. At the proper time, even someone without any kind of traditional education who has a highly developed sense of intution and can completely let go of conscious thinking will be able to arrive at enlightened truth.

No. 23 – Disturbance
The thing people need to be most wary of is something called “disturbance.” If the mind-and-heart is disturbed, it will get entangled in affairs on the outside and cause harm to blood and qi on the inside. All vexations, anger, fear, anxiety, joy, worry, confusion, and doubt mean disturbance. They are the root cause of many diseases and shortened life expectancy. Thus it is not only during times of healing diseases that one should avoid all disturbance but one should keep the mind free from it throughout everyday life.

No. 24 – Excesses
Much sadness harms the lungs; much pleasure (sex) harms the kidneys; much food harms the spleen and stomach; much worrying harms the spleen; much anger harms the liver; much labor harms the spirit. In all cases it will lose its proper course.

No. 25 – Craving
If disease arises in the body, it is in all cases from the mind-and-heart being vacuous empty and the qi being weak. This state makes it possible for outside heteropathies to enter. The mind-and-heart being vacuous and the qi being weak always comes from the mind and the spirit soul(s) being disturbed and agitated, the body structure not being full, and all sorts of anxieties arising: craving for food, for success, for wealth, for happiness—all these are quite enough to produce disease.

Then, when these cravings are not fulfilled, they turn into aversion (anger). Craving and aversion make the mind-and-heart agitated and the qi tense, the gall bladder nervous and the liver excited, the six meridians tremble and the five organs boil. When some outside heteropathy enters at that time, disease results.

No. 26 – Long Life
When people want to reach long life, they first must get rid of diseases. To get rid of diseases, they must first understand the proper application of qi. To understand the application of qi, they must first nurture their inherent nature. The way to nurture inherent nature is to first balance the mind-and-heart.

No. 27 – Five Elements
People receive the five phases to come to life, thus the physical body is dominated by qi. If qi is deficient, there is disease; if qi is obstructed, there is disease. Thus, to cure any disease, first remedy the qi.

No. 28 – Attaining Balance
Qi moves blood; blood enhances qi. They are two yet only one. If people do not sleep for a long time, they harm their blood; if they sleep for a long time, they harm their qi. If they stand for a long time, they harm their bones; if they walk for a long time, they harm their muscles. If they engage excessively in the seven emotions and six desires, they harm their primordial qi as well as their heart and kidneys. As these body aspects increase in fire, perfect yang energy is depleted.

No. 29 – Five Organs
To cure the diseases of the five organs, one must first enhance qi. The kidneys are particularly important in this. One best enhances qi by not moving the mind-and-heart, because whenever the mind-and-heart moves, the liver gets excited and the meridians agitated. Then perfect water is depleted. The mind-and-heart is like a fan: it moves with the wind. When the wind blows, fire rises; when fire rises, water dries; when water dries, the earth is depleted.

No. 30 – Unified Mind and Spirit
When the mind is stable and the spirit unified, one can be cured. Faith strong and the mind concentrated, the two minds [of healer and patient] are in harmony and one can cure the hundred diseases. None is not ultimately the effect of spirit.

No. 31 – Two Kinds of Diseases
People’s diseases are of two kinds:

1. The meridians are vibrant and open, but the qi is deficient. Symptoms include various pains here and there. This is so, because when the qi is deficient and cannot properly digest the food, it brings forth apparent fire (also called false fire or empty fire), and the meridians in the body get agitated. Then energy flows every which way until it hits some obstruction which then manifests as pain. People like this can take some medicines and get better.

2. The meridians are blocked and the qi has no place to go in the body. Symptoms include nothing specific on the outside for the longest time, then all of a sudden a major crisis. People like this may take medicines but the cure will be very slow. They may even be affected at the root and cannot be helped.

No. 32 – Nourishing Life
The highest field of Chinese medicine is nourishing life. The highest field of nourishing life is nourishing the mind-and-heart. For this reason, when speaking about nourishing life, the lowest type of practitioner nourishes the body, the medium type nourishes the qi, while the highest type nourishes the mind-and-heart. Examining people is the same way: looking at outside features is not as good as looking at qi; looking at qi is not as good as looking at the mind-and-heart

No. 33 – Mind at Peace
When mind and spirit are not at peace, feelings and inner nature are rushed and hectic—the ultimate cause of disease and death. Thus calming the mind-and-heart is the first step in guarding life. The mind-and-heart can control all other aspects. Thus, when the mind is stable, the qi is harmonious. When the qi is harmonious, the blood circulates well. When the blood circulates well, essence is sufficient and the spirit is bright. When essence is sufficient and the spirit bright, all internal parts are strong and vigorous and the various diseases dissolve naturally. Thus in curing diseases managing the mind-and-heart is the first priority.

No. 34 – Personal Resistance
Wind and cold, yin and yang, heat and dampness all can cause disease in people. If your resistance is weakened, they can take advantage of your inner vacuity and enter the body. This is why, if the body is weak, there are many diseases.

Rich people have some protection through clothing, food, shelter, and so on. Poor people also have some resistance if their qi is sufficient, their spirit bright, their skin thick, and so on, making it hard for these outside factors to enter. On the other hand, rich people tend to eat heavy food and sweetmeats, thus harming their stomach and hurting their teeth. Poor people often suffer hunger and there is no variety in their diet, so they tend to be free from intestinal disease.

Rich people have many obligations (and avoidances), so they have many irritations to their qi. Poor people work very hard, so they don’t get sick so fast. If rich people don’t produce wealth, they become unhappy. As their wealth diminishes, they eventually become poor. Poor people, on the other hand, work hard and save, and thereby create wealth and good fortune. Then, once they have the protection of wealth through clothing, food, shelter, and so on, their resistance against outside invasions of essence, qi, and spirit lessens. Thus, as the protective devices diminish, personal resistance grows.

No. 35 – Baths
When one first recovers from a grave illness, it is best to avoid washing the feet and taking baths.

No. 36 – Inner Stability
To pursue long life and freedom from disease, one should strengthen the physical body. To strengthen the physical body, one should balance essence, qi, and spirit. To do so one must eliminate all impact of frustration and agitation.

To control them, first work hard to manage the mind-and-heart and transform the three poisons of craving, aversion, and ignorance. Once you have gotten rid of these, you must learn to control the mind-and-heart with the help of precepts. However, just talking about precepts without using them in actual practice and yet hoping to develop wisdom is no different from remaining ignorant. If you really want to develop wisdom, you first must pursue inner stability. And to do so, you need to practice quiet sitting.

No. 37 – Benevolence
Once quiet, you are benevolent; once benevolent, you can live long. Living long is perfect happiness.

No. 38 – Let Go, Look Back
All the various methods of cultivating body and mind have two key aspects: let go and look back. Let go of the butcher’s knife, stand firmly on the earth, and become a buddha. The ocean of suffering has no end, so look back to the shore. All you need to do is let go and look back for once and your diseases will suddenly be healed—which erroneously is called sudden awakening. This really is unlimited life.

No. 39 – Mind Overwork
In people who overwork their mind, the heart is tired and the liver excited. An overworked mind means that it is too full and not empty enough. In this situation, it cannot control the fire generated by the liver (wood), and if that is the case, liver-qi accumulates and overflows.

Now, liver-wood moves on to earth, and so the spleen and stomach get sick next. Then the digestion is not good and one cannot sleep at night. Earth in turn controls water, which leads to the depletion of kidney-water. If the water is not sufficient, this will once more incite fire. The heart and kidneys are closely linked, thus the heart-qi is weakened even more and the lung-qi is affected.

The various parts of the inner body are closely interrelated: if one moves, all move; if one gets sick, all suffer. However, the beginning lies in the mind getting distorted, so the cure lies in calming it. As the mind gets clearer, it finds spontaneous awareness. So, all key efforts for health lie in quiet sitting.

No. 40 – Achieving Liberation
Quiet sitting is a way of giving rest to the mind-and-heart. When it is at rest, the spirit is at peace. When the spirit is at peace, the qi is sufficient. When the qi is sufficient, the blood is bright and both blood and qi flow vibrantly. Then, even if there is some ailment, one can get rid of it easily. If there is depletion, one can enhance qi to fullness; if there is sufficiency already, one can enhance it to greater increase. One can get rid of diseases now and prevent the arising of all future ailments. This is the least of it.

Also, when the mind-and-heart is at rest, the spirit is radiant. When the spirit is radiant, the turning point is numinous [inner center is connected to heaven]. Resting in quietude, the mind-and-heart becomes more wondrous and one can observe the turning point in its full truth. All outside phenomena are clear and one sees cosmic order as being just right. Then one creates no more detachment to ordinary affairs and is no longer alarmed by random disturbances. Seeing the mental projections for what they are, one remains unaffected and can pervade all, naturally achieving a state where there is no subject of observation or one-sidedness of any kind. Then one can greatly apply the numinous pivot and achieve liberation.

No. 41 – Resents
When people get sick, they often resent it and develop a great deal of anger and frustration in their mind-and-heart. At this time it is essential to calm all mental input and allow the mind-and-heart to find peace and stability. Doing so, one can slowly balance it, and health will soon be restored. Only when the mind-and-heart is calm can the qi flow properly; and only when it does so can disease be eliminated. Otherwise, the mind-and-heart gets hectic and fire rises, liver qi is depleted, and the disease gets worse. When mind-and-heart and spirit are restful and unified, the blood and qi that circulate through the body are naturally healthy and whole, and bring forth a glow.

As regards the mind, there are two: one is the perfect mind; the other is the distorted mind. The true mind is like water; the distorted mind is like waves. Waves move because of wind, and when the wind stops the waves rest and the water no longer moves. Being serene and without thoughts: this is the mind of no-mind.

No. 42 – Insomnia
If you can’t sleep in the middle of the night, it is because your kidney water is deficient. Heart and kidneys are closely interrelated, so when water is deficient, fire rises. This may well harm the spirit.

No. 43 – Mental Unrest
If you have a lot of thoughts when trying to sleep at night and cannot calm down, do not toss and turn on your pillow, pursuing these thoughts. This will seriously diminish the spirit.

No. 44 – Noon Hour
The noon hour matches the mind-and-heart. Thus it is good to sit in meditation for a quarter of an hour around this time. Close your eyes and nurture the spirit. This will strengthen mind and qi.

No. 45 – Getting Up
In the morning it is best to get up between 3 and 5 am. If you do so, be careful to avoid all sadness and anger. Otherwise you will cause harm to the lungs and liver. Be very careful.

No. 46 – Stable Spirit
All the various affairs of human life have their root in the spirit. All declining and rising, strength and weakness of spirit, moreover, completely depend on the mind-and-heart. Thus spirit should be quiet, stable, and without agitation. Even a small measure of agitation is enough to obstruct all the good work.

No. 47 – Qi and Blood
In human life, the free flow of blood and qi is most important. If there is an obstruction of qi, this may cause a stoppage of blood which can develop into all sorts of poisons. These in turn can cause clots, swellings, ulcers, cancers, and the like. All these come from blood and qi not flowing freely.

In qi, the right circulation is most important; in blood, openness means vibrancy. All the hundred diseases come from an obstruction of qi. When the qi is blocked within, the first organ to be affected is the liver. The solution to this lies in transforming and releasing it.

To do so, there are two ways: 1. Seek out its root, which is in the mind-and-heart; when the mind-and-heart is empty, all transforms naturally. 2. Use medication and massage to help it release, allowing the qi to regain its free flow.

No. 48 – Craving
Nurturing and curing diseases cannot be hastened. This is because any rushing in inner nature supports fire and rising fire diminishes qi. Turn away from the world and give up outside beauty. Go your own way and do not crave for much. Any craving means lack of constancy and thus rushing inner nature. Thus the hundred diseases all arise from craving and any increase in craving means an increase in disease and suffering.

No. 49 – Steam of Qi
The heart belongs to fire; the kidneys belong to water. Heart and kidneys are closely interconnected. Fire has a tendency to sink down; water has a tendency to rise up. When fire and water are evenly balanced, a steam of qi arises within. Each part of the body then moves appropriately and can be fully healthy.

One can tell whether this is the case from examining the tongue. Without water the tongue cannot live, thus the word for “tongue” combined with the three strokes signifying water is the word for “life.” On the tongue one can see each body part’s state of disease—whether light or serious—and even judge the presence of life and death.

No. 50 – Healing from Serious Disease
The way to heal yourself from serious disease:

Do not fear death and firmly believe not only that this disease can be completely cured but also that the body can attain exceptional good health and can reach great longevity. This is so because at the core of the body is a very special faculty. These are not just empty words of consolation.
Trust that even without any medicinal drugs or relying on special nurturing foods, there is without yourself a great and wonderful method of eliminating disease and extending the years.
Say to yourself: “From today on, I will not be frustrated by my sick body, I will not keep thinking about what kind of disease I have, and I will under no circumstances compare myself to others.”
During the period of recuperation, don’t let yourself think about work or regret lost time and opportunities. Keep your mind-and-heart completely focused. Otherwise you will delay or derail your healing.

Reference: http://yijinjing.ro/health-rules/

Chen Style Silk Reeling of Liu Hong Cai

Liu Hong Cai Chen Style Silk Reeling: Basic Exercises and Demonstrations
Master Liu describes two types of silk reeling, a wrapping type of energy ‘doing’ the movement and ‘using’ it to affect another. He stresses that you have to understand energy to apply silk reeling. Silk reeling is a gathering and closing of energy, or power in spiraling movement. Energy manifests itself differently in different people. Whatever form it takes you must learn to maintain the feeling and gain control of it as it happens to you when you’re doing the form. Circulate qi through body so that it passes through the body to apply. He shows how doing single whip. The feeling, or the energy, has to arrive at the exact point (da wei) not just the body.