Seven Star Pile Standing

NOTE: The following article is based on teachings at a recent Push-hands Seminar conducted by Zhang Yun in Philadelphia. It was edited by Dr. Susan Darley, a student of Zhang Yun for the past five years.

Pile Standing

Zhan Zhuang – Pile standing is the most common training method in traditional Chinese martial arts. Almost every style and group has its own version of this useful practice. Whatever the variation, pile standing involves holding a fixed posture for a period of time. Occasionally, the posture may include a few uncomplicated shifts of position, but usually it requires that the practitioner stand still, like a piling or pole. Because the movements of pile standing are easy and simple compared to many other training methods, pile standing allows practitioners to concentrate more fully on the details of internal training.

Taiji Quan is an internal martial art and one of its primary goals is internal training. The first step in such training is to increase one’s control of the internal components Shen (spirit), Yi (mind) and Qi. Pile standing is a particularly effective way to accomplish this control. Increase in control of the internal components gradually creates feelings that cause subtle adjustments in the body. These internal alterations, in turn, increase one’s energy and abilities.

The process of increasing internal control happens slowly, so much time must be allowed for this practice and the training must be careful and regular. For beginners, practice should occur daily and for a period of at least one hundred days. A given pile stance should be held for as many minutes as the correct flow of mind and Qi can be maintained. Holding a pile stance in this way for 15 to 20 minutes will produce significant gains in the development of basic skills.

In traditional Taiji Quan practice, pile standing is a commonly used training method, especially for beginners, and “Qixing Zhuang” or Seven-Star Pile Standing is the most frequently practiced Wu style Taiji Quan training stance. Careful practice of seven-star pile standing can significantly enhance the development of rooting, internal energy, relaxation, sensitivity, body integration, and control of the internal components.

Seven-Star Pile Standing

Although the original meaning of seven-star is “plough,” the phase in traditional Chinese martial arts usually refers to the seven key acupoints on the body. These points are very important for martial arts practice. They are: the “head star” at Baihui point (on the top of the head); the “shoulder star” at Jianjing point (on the Yang-side shoulder); the “elbow star” at Quchi point (on the elbow of the Yang-side arm); the “hand star” at Laogong point (on the Yang-side palm); the “hip star” at Huantiao point (on the Yang-side hip); the “knee star” at Yanglingquan point (on the knee of the Yang-side leg); and the “foot star” at Yongquan point (on the ball of the Yang-side foot).

In Taiji Quan practice, each side of the body is considered separately. The Yang side is the active and insubstantial (unweighted or empty) side; the Yin side is the quiet and substantial (weighted) side. Each side includes one leg and the opposing arm. The Yin and Yang qualities are exchanged whenever movements involve weight shifts. This changing of Yin and Yang sides is the source of all Taiji skills.

The Yin-side leg is the leg that holds most or all of the body’s weight, while the Yang-side or empty leg bears none or only a relatively small amount of weight. The arm on the side of the body opposite from the Yin leg is considered to be the Yin-side arm and, likewise, the Yang-side arm is on the opposite side of the body from the Yang leg. When, for example, the right leg is weighted, this leg is the Yin or Yin-side leg, and the left leg is the Yang leg. The right arm is the Yang arm, and the left arm is the Yin arm.

Because the Yang side is the active side, the focus of the mind during a stationary posture such as seven-star pile standing is always on this side. In seven-star pile standing, six of the seven stars on which the mind will focus are on the Yang side arm and leg. Baihui, the head star, is also called Ding Pan Xin or “criterion” star. It is of primary importance for maintaining Zhong Ding or central equilibrium. Because it never changes, it is not associated with either side of the body. One of the foremost goals of seven-star pile standing is to increase the smooth, free-flowing movement of the internal components along the seven key points.

Seven-Star Pile Standing Movement Description

The basic movement of seven-star pile standing is the same as the Hold Seven-Star posture in the empty-hand form. This posture is one of the most important in the form. In this posture, a sitting stance is used, which keeps one hundred percent of the weight on one leg. When you hold this posture, if your weight is on the right leg and your left arm is extended in front of your body, you are in a “left posture”; otherwise, you are in a “right posture.” Here, we will just describe the left posture. For the right posture, everything is same except the designation of sides, which should be reversed.

Preparatory Movements

Stand facing forward with your feet parallel. There should be a distance of about the width of one fist (about 4 inches) between your feet. Relax your mind and body. Make your breathing slow, deep and smooth.

Slowly rock from side-to-side letting your feet move as necessary to achieve a comfortable stance. The distance between your feet at this point should be wider than one fist, but the maximum distance should not exceed the distance between the left and right shoulders.

Think about a vertical line connecting the Jianjing point on each shoulder to the Yongquan point on the corresponding foot. Keep your breathing smooth and your body relaxed. Feel as though your body is sinking slightly down. This will create a sense of stability and heaviness. Soon you will feel as though you are starting to become sleepy. From this point on, you should not try to control your breathing in any way; just forget about it and let it occur naturally.

As soon as you notice the sleepiness, focus your mind on the Baihui point at the top of your head to bring your Shen (spirit) up. This will create a sense of alertness. Ideally, you can become so alert that it is possible to feel the air moving along your body. Although you are standing still with your eyes looking forward, this alertness will allow you to be aware of whatever may be going on around you. Do not let your gaze fasten on any particular object but remain relaxed and attentive.

(1) Sinking Down of the Body

From Baihui, bring your mind to the left Jianjing point and let your left shoulder fully relax so that your left arm feels as though it could effortlessly be detached from your body.

Next, focus your mind on the left Quchi point on your left elbow and then move it down to the left Laogong point on your left hand. As your mind moves down to your left hand, you will feel like bending your legs. Follow this feeling and let your body sink down. Your body will feel heavy and your stance will become very stable. In spite of the sensation of heaviness, you should feel as though there is a spring inside your leg that balances the downward push of your body. Your left hand should also feel heavy and as though the palm is reaching downward to touch the floor. At this point, the fingers of both hands should point forward and both palms should face down.

(2) Extension of the Left Arm and Weight-Shift to the Right Leg

Keep your mind on your left hand until you feel as though your left arm wants to move up. Then let the arm move forward and up follow this feeling. Remember that it is always important in Taiji Quan practice to concentrate the mind and then wait until the feeling for a movement exists before you actually execute the movement. As expressed in a classic tenet of Taiji practice, movement always occurs: “First in mind, then in body.”

As your mind continues to focus on the left Laogong point of your left hand, your weight should start to shift to your right leg. Then, bring your mind to the left Quchi point on your left elbow and continue shifting your weight to the right leg as your left arm continues to move up and forward on a slight diagonal to the right.

As your mind moves to the Jianjing point on your left shoulder, your weight should shift completely to your right leg, and your left arm should be extended in front of you with the elbow slightly bent and the left thumb opposite your nose. Throughout the movement of your left arm, you should feel as though your shoulder has been chasing your elbow which, in turn, has been chasing your hand.

At the end of this movement, your right leg should be fully weighted and your right toes, right knee, and nose should be aligned in a vertical line. Your left leg should be completely empty.

(3) Extension of the Right Arm

Now, move your mind from the left to the right Jianjing point and feel your right arm become relaxed. Only when you feel as though your right arm wants to move up, should you let this movement occur.

As your mind moves down to the Quchi point on your right elbow and then to the Laogong point on your right hand, your right arm should continue to move up and forward on a slight diagonal toward the center of your body until your right middle finger touches the crook of your left elbow. Your right thumb should point to Tanzhong point (in the middle of your chest and at the level of your nipples).

(4) Extension of the Left Leg and Upward Turn of the Left Palm

Next, let your mind focus first on the Tangzhong point and then down to Dantian (inside the abdomen about three inches behind the navel). Let your mind remain briefly at Dantian before moving it to the Huiyin point (on the perineum midway between the sexual organs and the anus). Focus your mind next on the Huantiao point on your left hip.

When your mind is focused on your left hip, wait until your left leg seems ready to move of its own accord before letting it begin to extend outward in front of your body.

From the left hip, bring your mind respectively to the Yanglingquan point on your left knee and then to the Yongquan point on your left foot. Your left leg should continue to move forward and when it is fully extended, your body will have assumed a sitting stance with your left heel touching the floor and your toes pointing up.

While your left leg moves forward, your left palm, which had been facing to the right side, should turn up in a counterclockwise direction. It is important when you turn your palm that your left thumb does not move but instead remains opposite your nose, having acted as a pivot point for the upturning palm.

(5) Completion of the Opening Circle of the “Hold Seven-Star” Posture

When your mind is focused on the Yongquan point of your left foot, it will have moved through all of the seven “stars,” three of which – the shoulder, elbow and hand – are on the Yang arm and three of which – the hip, knee and foot – are on the Yang leg. The seventh or “criterion” star is Baihui at the top of the head. To complete the opening circle, you should bring your mind from the left foot star back to Baihui. This insures that your Shen will be up, thereby creating a sense of nimbleness along with the stability that has been achieved through taking the stance.

Having assumed the “seven-star” pile standing, you now begin to move your mind and Qi through as many circuits around the seven key points as possible. Typically, you should try to work your way up to holding the stance and maintaining the circling of mind and Qi for increasing periods of time.

(6) Circling of Mind during Seven-Star Pile Standing

Although pile standing is a stationary practice, all the internal components should be in continuous movement inside your body during the maintenance of the stance. It is in this sense that pile standing is an internal practice. The internal movement of Shen, Yi and Qi will always bring some feeling or tendency toward physical movement. It is said that to intend something will lead or direct the mind, that the mind can then be used to lead Qi and that Qi, in turn, can be used to create the urge to move.

To begin the first small circle of seven-star pile standing, bring your mind from the “head star” Baihui to the right “shoulder star” Jianjing and then to the right “elbow star” Quchi and on to the right “hand star” Laogong. From here, your mind should move, with Qi following, through your right thumb to Tanzhong.

To begin the first big circle, bring your mind from Tanzhong to Dantian and then to the left “hip star” Huantiao, onto left “knee star” Yanglingquan and then to the left “foot star” Yongquan. Your mind should then move immediately from the big toe of your left foot in a large imaginary circular path back to Baihui.

At this point, move your mind straight down from Bahui to the Yongquan point on the bottom of your right foot. Your body will feel heavy and there will be a strong sensation of compression in your right leg. Bring your mind to your extended left palm and imagine that your right foot is resting on that palm so that your left hand is holding up your whole body. This will lead you to feel that your body is sinking down more and more onto your right leg. As this occurs, imagine the force increasing on your left hand as it supports your sinking body.

Maintain this thought until you feel as though your right leg is very hot and as though you cannot hold your body up any longer. Then, let your mind return to Baihui. This will cause you feel more relax and your right leg to become more comfortable. Begin another circuit of your mind through the “head star” acupoints (Fig. 5).

Repeat the circling of your mind as many times as your skill and strength allow. Maintain a sense of physical relaxation and stability while at the same time experiencing internal excitement and springiness. Thus, you will be enhancing your capacity for nimbleness of movement as well as increasing your root.

(7) Closing form

When you feel that you can no longer maintain enough focus to move your mind smoothly through the seven-star circles, it is the time to close your pile standing practice.

As your mind returns to Baihui at the end of the last seven-star circuit, withdraw your left foot back toward your body and place it alongside your right foot with both legs bent. Be careful not to raise your body up as you bring your left leg in.

At the same time, bring your arms back toward your body, letting your hands cross in front of your chest, a little bit higher than your nipples. Your gaze will naturally lower (Fig. 6) and you will be ready for the last mind and Qi circle practice, called Xiao Zhoutian or microcosmic orbit.

Xiao Zhoutian – Microcosmic Orbit

Move your mind to Dantian and then to Huiyin. At the same time, separate your hands slightly so that the tips of your middle fingers touch each other and likewise your index fingers and thumbs. Your nose should be directly above your middle fingers. Slowly start to move your hands down along the centerline of your body and simultaneously begin to straighten your legs so that your body gradually rises up.

As your hands move down, bring your mind to the Mingmen point at the center of your lower back. This point is also known as the first of the “three back gates.” Separate your middle fingers as your hands pass Tanzhong and make sure that your nose is directly above your index fingers.

Continue to push your hands slowly down in front of your body and bring your mind to the Jiaji point at the center of your upper back. As your mind moves up through this second “back gate” and your hands move down in front of the Zhongwan point between Tanzhong and your navel, separate the tips of your index fingers. Your nose should now be directly above your thumbs.

Bring your mind up to the third “back gate”, the Yuzhen point on the back of the head where the head joins the neck. Separate the tips of your thumbs as your hands pass the Shenqie point on your navel. Look forward and let your mind move up and return to the head star Baihui.

Let your hands relax alongside your body with each thumb touching the corresponding thigh and your fingers fanned slightly outward. At this point, your legs should be complete straight and your posture should be comfortably erect.

When your movement has finished, you will feel Qi flowing from Baihui down the front of your face like a gentle waterfall. Move your mind, followed by Qi, down to Dantian and then bring your fingers to rest along the sides of your legs.

Check your breathing. It should be smooth and perfectly calm. You should feel very comfortable and relaxed as you complete seven-star pile standing.

Conclusion

Seven-star pile standing can improve your understanding of both Taiji Quan principle and also the internal sensations that underlie the proper execution of many basic skills. These feelings and understanding will then refine your form practice. Pile standing and form practice can supplement each other. A traditional saying in Taiji Quan is: “One step, one pile,” which means that every movement in the Taiji form can be used as a pile standing practice and also that every movement in the form should be practiced as though it were a pile standing. Although pile standing is very important, for advance study, it should be combined in form practice generally. So that form is usually called Dong Zhuang – “Moving Pile Standing”. In fact Taiji Quan is a dynamic rather than a static expression of skills.

Reference:
Seven Star Pile Standing ycgf with illustrations

Links:
Wang Peisheng 7 Stars youtube.com

Making Three Dantians Linear

taoist1.jpgThis type of qigong has been passed on by a Taoist priest by the name of Wang Zhenyi. While practising this type of qigong you should concentrate your attention on making the upper, middle and lower dantians linear. When you have made your three dantians linear, you will attain a very special and comfortable feeling and will almost forget everything. Your small and large circulations will automatically be open to qi. This type of qigong can help you recover quickly from fatigue. No mater how tired you are, you can completely recover after practising this qigong for fifteen minutes. You can do this type of qigong while standing, sitting, lying down, or when practising taijiquan or riding a bicycle. This qigong does not require any preparation or special procedure before stopping.

Procedure:
1. Soon after concentrating your mind in your upper dantian, shift your attention to the lower dantian (huiyin acupoint).

2. After getting the feeling of qi in the lower dantian, shift your mind to the middle dantian and arrange it in line with the upper and lower dantians in order to make the three dantians linear. Then imagine the three dantians as three spheres. You should carefully put the sphere of the middle dantian between the two spheres of upper and lower dantians. The middle sphere will slide out if you do it carelessly.

3. When the three dantians have been made linear, you will get a very special feeling and comfortable feeling. You should hold this feeling as long as possible. It can help you return to the “original state”, to cure diseases and promote your health. You should maintain this feeling and eliminate any distractions.

Reference:
Relax and calming qigong by Wang Peisheng & Chen Guanhua
ISBN 9622381812

p.20

Five Energies Meditation

Every day you should spend from twenty minutes to two hours harmonizing and adjusting your internal energy. If you can balance your emotions, you will have no anger or sadness and will not be easily excited. In doing this Five Energies meditation, it does not matter what position you sit in, but it is important that you are not disturbed during the time that you do it. So unplug your telephone.
As you sit, you correspond a specific color to certain internal organs. Begin with the heart and visualize red Ch’i or a soft red cloud that is transformed from your heart and watch it carefully with your internal vision. After a few minutes, watch the red cloud move to the area of the stomach and then gradually change to become yellow. This is a pure mental practice; you need to do it until there is no “me,” only clouds. From the stomach, the cloud moves up to the region of the lungs, expands to cover both lungs, and becomes white. Then, after a while, the white cloud sinks down to the kidneys and bladder where it becomes dark, like the water of the North Sea, deep, dark blue with a little gray in it. This cloud surrounds all your water organs and then moves up to the liver area just to the right of your spleen and gallbladder. When it comes to this region, it changes from blue-black to green. From here, you can begin the cycle over again by moving the green cloud to the heart where it becomes red, and so forth.
Do this cultivation calmly and gently, following theorder I have given you. Do not change the order. Water gives birth to wood energy, which gives birth to fire; fire gives birth to earth, and earth gives birth to metal; metal gives birth to water and the cycle repeats itself. By your visualization, you burn away negative energy, and your internal movements harmonize your sexual energy beautifully. People are made of living energy. Someday the physical house of your soul will die, but these five clouds will be your new home that can carry you flying. The minimum goal of this practice is to fortify your energy and balance yourself.
Be gentle when you do it; be gentle when you stop it. After several circulations, you should take a break or stop. If you have done the circulation for two hours, then slow down before you bring it to a close. Collect your energy back to its original order. just calm down. You do not need to use strength to do it. Use your gentle mind.
The second stage of the Five Cloud Meditation is to sit quietly and visualize the center of the chest or the area one half inch above the navel. I recommend that women use the point in the center of the chest.

Reference:
Entering the Tao by Master Huang Ni

Buddha Palm Chi Kung Set

Resting Posture

Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart, toes and heels in line pointing straight forward. Bend the knees slightly so that you can’t see your shoe laces, but you can still see your toes. Knees should be centered vertically over the feet, not collapsing in toward each other. Have a slight crease at the hip joint, so the bowl of the pelvis is level. The torso is erect, but relaxed into the bowl of the pelvis. Arm pits open to fit a small ball under the arm pit. Elbows turned out to the sides. Fingers extended, but relaxed. The arms should resemble a horse shoe shape. This is the same posture as the Grounding posture.

Notes

1. Three sets of five repetitions of each posture will take 25 to 30 minutes. Three sets of three reps will take about 15 minutes. Two sets of three reps will take about 10 minutes.

2. Pause at the Resting Posture between each set of repetitions. Run the energy routes with the breath alone. Keep the fingers open and still.

3. Yin route:

Inhale – the energy flows from the balls of the feet up the inner sides of the legs to tantien.
Exhale – the energy flows from tantien up the chest to the shoulders, down the inner sides of the arms to the palms and finger pads.
4. Yang route:

Inhale – the energy flows from the fingernails along the backs of the hands, outer sides of elbows, shoulder blades, spine and down to mingmen (a point on the spine opposit from solar plexus, T-11).
Exhale – the energy flows from mingmen to the buttocks, down the outer sides of the legs, back to the balls of the feet.

Reaching

1. Inhale yin route – the arms rise from the resting posture to shoulder height extending forward, relaxed. (Hug the tree posture)

2. Exhale yin route – bend knees, tuck pelvis, round the back, hollow the chest, reach strenuously with the hands, pulling the shoulder blades away from the spine. Do not hinge at the waist and lean forward. Your weight should remain centered in the feet.

3. Inhale yang route – straighten knees and torso, arms relax at shoulder height – same position as #1.

4. Exhale yang route – arms float back down to Grounding Posture.

Phoenix Wing

Begin as in Reaching #1 and #2.

1. Inhale yang route – open arms to sides like the wings of a bird.

2. Exhale yang route – fingers lead the way down and toward each other at waist height, wrists and elbows follow, rounded back, hollow chest.

3. Inhale yin route – fingernails meet, then backs of hands, then elbows touch. At nose height, hands unfold like holding a book. Then pinkies “unzip” and heels of hands and thumbs connect.

4. Exhale yin route – with thumbs and heels of hands still connected, stretch fingers back as elbows straighten the arms forward. Bend knees, tuck pelvis, round the back, hollow the chest.

Repeat or finish as in Reaching #3 and #4.

Swallowing the Bitter Pill

1. Inhale yin route – stay in Resting Posture and expand rib cage like wings.

2. Exhale yin route – arms float up to hold a ball (gold on the outside and silver on the inside) at chest height. Keep fingers and hands still, shoulders relaxed, elbows below the wrist-shoulder line.

3. Inhale yang route – ball expands, pushing arms to sides, still at chest height.

4. Exhale yang route – ball contracts to the size of a grapefruit at base of the throat, elbows drop as hands ride the ball in.

5. Inhale yin route – hands draw the ball down to tantien (just below the navel) and place it inside the cauldron of the abdomen.

6. Exhale yin route – wrists relax, hands float slowly back to Resting Posture as a fountain of purified energy rises from tantien up chest, out shoulders and down arms to hands.

Repeat and the energy routes will alternate.

By courtesy of www.chionline.com

Grounding Exercise

Stand in relaxed position with the feet placed directly under your hips, knees slightly bent, ankles relaxed and the armpits open. Press the tip of the tongue against the soft palate of the mouth. This connects the energy circuit of the governing (back) channel with the energy circuit of the functional (front) channel. Breathe by pulling the diaphragm down toward navel as you inhale. Imagine a weight hanging between your legs, attached to your coccyx by a cord. As the weight pulls your coccyx toward the floor, allow your sacrum to relax and sink down and forward with it. Relax the ankles. Relax the knees. Relax the waist. Imagine there is a cord attached to the top of the head that is gently lifting your head, allowing it to float above your shoulders. Fix your gaze on the horizon to infinity.

After fulfilling the above requirements, imagine that everything inside your body is comprised of nothing but thick water molecules and that the skin is made of rubber. Feel the water molecules pressing against the skin as gravity begins to pull the water molecules down through the body, toward the floor. As the water molecules are pulled lower and lower, you can feel the arms and chest begin to swell. The fingers feel as though they are swelling to an enormous size.

As gravity pulls the water molecules even lower, the thighs become thick and heavy. The molecules flow deeper into your legs and feet until your feet feel as though they are going to burst out of your shoes. Feel the feet spread. Feel the toes spread. Your body now feels like a pyramid, heavy at the floor and light at the top.

Continue to breathe deep into the lower abdomen. Allow your attention to move to your feet and notice where the primary weight is located. It should be in the middle of each foot. If it’s not, adjust the position of your pelvis until it is. An imaginary plumb line should travel through the crown point of your head, to a point just behind your ear, through your shoulder, hip, perineum and ankle. Don’t forget to be aware of the imaginary weight pulling down at your coccyx and the cord pull upward on your head. Relax the waist and allow the coccyx to sink down and forward.

Once you have accomplished the feeling of being grounded well into the earth or floor, imagine that the floor is pushing up against your feet, trying to up-root you. This is one of the most important aspects of the exercise. The more relaxed and grounded you become, the harder the floor pushes up against your feet. Use your imagination to keep the floor from pushing you upward. Hold the floor down. Do not allow the floor to push you up. Your feet will now feel as though they are glued to the floor.

After about 10 minutes, your feet will feel energized and your hands will become warm. Stand in this position for 10 to 30 minutes. Be sure to keep the knees bent.

by courtesy of www.chionline.com

Embracing the Tree with Chi Condensing and Circulating

1. Stand with the feet shoulder-with apart. Bend the knees, pressing the sacrum down.

2. Position the arms as if they are encircling a tree; hold the thumbs up and relax the fingers, barely permitting them to touch. Relax the chest and hold the head erect.

3. Place the tongue on the palette. Practice abdominal breathing 9 or 18 times. Feel the sexual organs move up and down with the breath.

4. Inhale 10 percent to your navel, keeping the abdomen flat and pressing the diaphragm downward as you pull the sex organs up. Inhale and pull up the left and right side of the anus. Pack and wrap the chi at the kidneys, then collect energy at the navel.

5. Breathe into the lower abdomen, without spiraling. Breathe into the perineum and feel it bulge out.

6. Exhale through the back of the legs and the feet. Feel the palms and and soles breathing.

7. Suck energy from the Earth through K1, Bubbling Springs. “Claw” the ground with toes as you inhale and circle the energy 9 times counterclockwise at the Bubbling Springs (Kidney 1). The spirals on the soles of the feet move in the same direction.

8. Inhale, bringing the energy to the knees. Lock the knees; do not spiral at the knees.

9. Inhale up to the perineum; circle the energy there 9 times clockwise and 9 times counterclockwise. Feel the bulge at the perineum.

10. Exhale. Harmonize the breath and be aware of the soles and palms breathing.

11. Inhale and pull up the left and right sides of the anus, packing the back and kidneys.

12. Inhale up to the sacrum. Tilt the sacrum back, packing it. Circle the energy 9 times clockwise and 9 times counterclockwise. This will strengthen and activate the sacral pump.

13. Inhale to T11, inflating the kidney area. Press outward at T11, then spiral 9 times clockwise and 9 times counterclockwise.

14. Inhale to C7, pushing from from the sternum to tilt C7 back, straightening the curve at the neck.

15. Lock the neck by tucking in the chin. Circle the chi 9 times clockwise and 9 times counterclockwise.

16. Inhale to the Jade Pillow (C1), clench the teeth tight, and squeeze the skull and temple bones to strengthen and activate the cranial pump. Circle the energy here 9 times clockwise and 9 times counterclockwise.

17. Inhale to crown (pineal gland) and circle 9 times clockwise and 9 times counterclockwise. If you cannot go all the way up on one breath you can pass over the Jade Pillow, or you can take an extra breath where needed until your capacity increases.

18. Exhale with the tongue up to the palate.

19. Regulate the breath. Concentrate on the third eye until you feel the chi energy build up there. Bring the energy down to solar plexus and circle 9 times clockwise and 9 times counterclockwise. Bring the chi down to the navel. Stand still and maintain the position.

20. Press the soles to the ground. Discipline your mind to move the energy downward.

21. Feel energy flowing up from the ground. Circulate the energy for as long as you wish.

22. Practice Bone Breathing.

23. Practice the Power Exercise.

24. Stand up and bring the energy to the navel, putting your hands over the navel and bringing the feet together. Relax. Collect the energy in the navel area.

25. When you feel calm, walk around and brush the energy downward.

Reference: Iron Shirt Chi Kung by Mantak Chia
ISBN:1594771049

Summary: Embracing the Tree with Chi Condensing and Circulating p. 129-132

Self-Hypnosis

First say a small prayer to direct the effects towards your Soul. Take 3 deep breaths, then say mentally “Go to sleep ‘name'” (Use your own name). “Every day in every way I’m getting better and better”. (Repeat 3 times). Count down to 7 to go deeper. Then silently “I’m going to make ‘name’ passive, the body obedient, and destroy the ego” (Repeat 3 times). Some ‘current particular suggestion’, e.g. affirmation or psychological mantra (Repeat 3 times). Then remain silent with Deep Mind awareness. Finish with the suggestion “In the next session when I say “Go to sleep ‘name'” I will sink quickly to a deep level. I am about to wake up feeling refreshed and relaxed in body, Mind and Soul. 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Wake up ‘name'”.

( by courtesy of patrickkellytaiji.com )

5 Clouds

Based on the exercise from Master Ni Hua Ching:

1. Centre the Mind in the cloud of golden light in the solar plexus. Each out breath, intensify and expand the light taking the Mind deeper until the body and breath are lost in the light.
2. Allow the cloud to drift up to cover the lungs where it becomes white like the clouds. With each out breath, intensify and expand the light as the Mind goes deeper.
3. The cloud moves down to cover the lower abdomen and turns a deep blue like the ocean. With each out breath, intensify and expand the light as the Mind goes deeper.
4. The cloud moves to the region of the liver on the right side of the body and becomes a deep green like the forest. Intensify and expand the light as the Mind goes deeper.
5. Let the cloud float across to surround the heart and turns deep red like a ruby. With each out breath, intensify and expand the light as the Mind goes deeper.
After one or more cycles, return the cloud to the solar plexus and rest in the golden light.

( by courtesy of patrickkellytaiji.com )

Daily Energy Cultivation

8 Paths – by Master Chao Pi Chen: Basic body energy is based in the perineum between the legs, rising during refinement to the abdomen (Lower Dantien). This energy circulates in a network of 8 special channels. Follow the paths with the Mind visualising a stream of golden light, while listening to the resulting body sensations.
1. Inhale; lift energy up the spine from its base to the centre of the head.
2. Exhale; sink energy down the front of the body and return it to its base.
3. Inhale; up the lower-back, dividing at the belt then up to both shoulders.
4. Exhale; down the outer arms, along the middle fingers to the palms.
5. Inhale; lift energy up the inner arms to each side of the chest.
6. Exhale; down across the nipples, join at the waist and return to its base.
7. Inhale; lift energy up in the centre of the trunk to the solar plexus.
8. Exhale; drop it via the base, front of the legs and middle toes, to the soles.
9. Inhale; raise energy via rear of the legs and base to fill the abdomen.
10. Exhale; return the energy to its base, completing one round of 5 breaths.

Sharing the Light
The Personal Energy Field is centred in the area between the solar-plexus and the breastbone (Middle Dantien) rising, during the process of refinement, from the Lower Dantien.

Take 3 deep breaths. Each inhale lift the light from the abdomen to the solar plexus, and each exhale expand and intensify a cloud of golden light around the body. From the cloud of golden light centred on the solar plexus – intensified and harmonised by the 8 Paths – send the light to those you choose to help.

Inner Teacher
The Energy rises further during the process of refinement, from the solar plexus to the area of the pituitary gland in the centre of the head (Upper Dantien).

Inhale deeply lift the light from the solar plexus to the centre of the head, then exhale to expand and intensify a cloud of golden light around the head. With the intention of contacting your inner teacher (Guide), intensify the light taking the Mind deeper until the body and breath are lost in the light. Visualise a figure within the light and ask any question you may have, then rest quietly and listen for the response. Withdraw with thanks and return to the golden light centred in the head.

Breathe in deeply, then with a long out breath, return the light to its centre in the Middle Dantien.

Lost in the Light
Breathe deeply, each out breathe expand and intensify the cloud of golden light around the body, taking the Mind deeper until the Mind is lost in the light. Then forget the breathing, gradually allowing the Mind to drift deeper while maintaining awareness of the light. Then recapture the sensations of the body within the light: warmth and fullness at every point; the beating heart and resulting pulse that radiates out; the ringing inside the head that is always present when the Mind is silent. Rest in this strongly aware state: I am a field of light, warmth and awareness with a body inside it.

( by courtesy of patrickkellytaiji.com )

Classic Leg & Arm Meridian Massage

Legs Upward
1. Place the palms of your hands on the inside of your legs at the ankles.
2. Slowly bring your palms up your legs, through the inside of your knees, up your thighs and into your genitals.

Legs Downward
1. Place the palms of your hands on the outside of your thighs.
2. In a continuos motion, rub your hands down your legs along the outside of your knees and calves until you come to the ankles.

Arm Massage
1. Place your left hand on the inside of your right shoulder.
2. In a continuos motion, rub your palm down through the inside your elbow to the tips of your fingers.
3. Bring your left palm over your fingers and continue up the back of your hand, through the outside of your elbow and onto your shoulder.

The same is procedure is repeated with the left arm.

Guidelines:
Repeat movements for a total of 12 times.

At all times keep pressure on your hands so that a slight warmth may be felt as you do the massage. Breathe normally throughout the exercises.

Reference: The complete system of Chinese Self-Healing by Dr. Stephen T. Chang The Aquarian Press 1989
ISBN: 0850307716

Link: The Great Tao

The way to relax your shoulders

With your feet shoulder width apart,
slowly raise your arms as if lifting a ball.
Breathe in with the upward movement.
Turn your arms outwards and gently
lower them back to the start, breathing out.
Don’t hunch your shoulders or stiffen your arms.
Make at least 30 complete circles with your arms.

Reference:
The Way of Power: Reaching Full Strength in Body and Mind Lam Kam Chuen Gaia Books Ltd 2003
ISBN:185675198

Page: 11

Red.: This wonderful exercise is normally used as a warm-up exercise before Zhan Zhuang (Standing Pole Exercises) together with 2 others exercises for the hips and knees. This basic exercise is done to relax, loosen and free up the energy passage for the shoulders. The shoulders are one of the 2 big roadblocks that prohibit energy to travel freely to the limbs, the other being the hip.

The All-Round Standing Pole Exercise

Stand with feet apart at shoulder width, toes point forward or slightly outward. Bend the knees and sit down slightly, weight centered firmly on the soles of the feet. Keep the head and spine erect from tip to tail, chest empty (i.e. relaxed and slightly concave, never stuck out) and stomach full and relaxed, not pulled in. Gaze straight ahead, eyelids hanging relaxed over the eyes. Rest the tip of the tongue on the upper palate behind the front teeth, let the lips and the teeth hang slightly open. Arms hang by the sides. The body should feel perfectly poised, relaxed but not slack, breathing completely natural and no joint locked, as if the body is suspended in air, hanging from the top of the head by a string.

This is the basic standing posture. Stand like this for a few moments relaxing the whole body and collecting one’s thoughts before assuming the following posture.

Raise the arms to shoulder level, keeping them curved as if holding a ball in each arm. Keep the fingers apart slightly curved, palms pointing in and slightly down. Hands are at shoulder distance apart, and about three fists distance from the chest. Elbows should be slightly below the level of the wrists. Shoulders must be relaxed, not hunched, with a slight sense of outward stretching, so the chest feels open, neither sticking out nor constricted. Curved arms should also have a slight sense of inward force, as if not letting a ball drop, though no physically manifest in tension.

The posture is most suitable for those without any particular illness to strengthen the constitution, prevent illness and promote health into old age.

Reference:
Traditional Chinese Therapeutic Exercises: Standing Pole J.P.C. Moffett, Wang Xuanjie
Foreign Languages Press May 1994
ISBN: 7119006967

Pages: 49-52

(Red. Caveat: If the standing pole exercises are not done naturally with composure, correct posture and body alignment, and with the necessary lightness and full relaxation of all parts of the body without collapsing, there is a potential health risk. It is recommendable to consult an experienced Zhan Zhuang teacher. The Way of Energy by Master Lam Kuen Chun is an excellent beginners tutorial.)

Links:
Zhan Zhuang  Michael P. Garofalo’ extensive bibliography and reference

The Mighty Warrior Exercise

(Ichuan, Dachengquan, Yiquan, exercise, qiqong, chikung, breathing, energy)

The Mighty Warrior Exercise Stand with the feet about double shoulder-width apart and toes pointing ahead. Bend the knees while lowering the body to stand in a horse-riding posture. Raise the arms sideways to form each an angle of about 60 degrees with the torso, the palms facing the ground and fingers apart. Keep the torso upright, lower abdomen loosened, chest held in, and the eyes looking into to the far distance with restrained concentration. Stand still for some time.

Move the arms upwards to shoulder height, and straighten the legs. Press downwards with the palms while bending the knees back into the horse-riding position. Repeat the procedure. The arm movements resemble those of an eagle’s wings, hence the exercise is also known as the Spread Eagle exercise. Repeat for no more than 360 times at a time.

Regular practice of this exercise will cause the vital energy to penetrate every part of the body and finally form a unique strength. Once this is required, with some simple instructions, one will be able perform wonders assisted by the control of breathing, such as cleaving a rock with one palm, hitting a stone tablet with the head, breaking an iron chain with deep breathing, letting a car running over the body. What he will be able to achieve the will be diametrically different from that put on by those sham kung fu masters under the name of controlled breathing.

Reference:
Dachengquan
by Wang Xuanjie
Hai Feng Publishing Co. May 1988
ISBN: 9622381111

Page: 78