Commentary on the Mirror for Compounding the Medicine

Precelestial breath, Postcelestial breath. Those who obtain them always seem to be drunk.

The precelestial Breath is the original and initial Ancestral Breath.1 This Ancestral Breath is in the real center of Heaven and Earth within the human body. [Placed between] the Secret Door and the Gate of Life, hanging in the middle, it is the Heart of Heaven.2 The self-cultivation of the divine Immortals only consists in collecting the precelestial One Breath and using it as the Mother of the Elixir.
The postcelestial Breath is the Breath that circulates internally: one exhalation, one inhalation, once coming, once going. “Exhaling touches onto the root of Heaven, inhaling touches onto the root of Earth. On exhaling, ‘the dragon howls and the clouds rise’; on inhaling, ‘the tiger roars and the wind blows.’”3
When [the postcelestial Breath] is “unceasing and continuous,”4 it returns to the Ancestral Breath. The internal and the external inchoately merge, and coalesce to form the Reverted Elixir (huandan). Then you become aware of a burning fire in the Cinnabar Field that spreads to the four limbs. You look like a fool or like drunk, but “its beauty lies within.”5 This is why it says, “those who obtain them always seem to be drunk.”
This is what the Daode jing (Book of the Way and Its Virtue) means when it says:

The Spirit of the Valley never dies:
it is called the Mysterious-Female. The gate of the Mysterious-Female
is called the root of Heaven and Earth.
Unceasing and continuous,
its operation never wears out.6

And this is what the Book of Changes (Yijing) means when it says about the Kun ䷁ hexagram:
From the Yellow Center it spreads to the veining, as it places itself in the correct position. Its beauty lies within, and extends to the four limbs.7

Notes
1. “Precelestial” (xiantian) and “postcelestial” (houtian) refer to the states before and after the generation of the cosmos. The precelestial Breath (qi) is the One Breath of the Dao. Once the cosmos is generated, it is permeated by the postcelestial Breath, which manifests itself in the multiplicity of the directions of space, the cycles of time, and all the entities and phenomena that exist and occur within space and time. In the human being, in particular, the postcelestial Breath is the breath (qi) of ordinary breathing. In any of its forms, however, the postceles- tial Breath hides and preserves the precelestial Breath, or one “particle” of it. In the strict sense of the term, the purpose of Neidan is the recovery of the precelestial Breath—represented as the Elixir—and its reconjunction with the postcelestial Breath.

2. The first part of this sentence alludes to the description of the center of the human body in the Huangting jing (Scripture of the Yellow Court): “Above is the Hun Numen, below is the Origin of the Barrier; on the left is the Minor Yang, on the right is the Great Yin; behind is the Secret Door, in front is the Gate of Life” (“Inner” version, poem 2). The Secret Door (mihu) is the kidneys, or a point in their region. The Gate of Life (shengmen) is the lower Cinnabar Field, or a point in its region. — The Huangting jing, originally dating from the second or the third century, is one of the main texts on early Taoist meditation. It exists in two versions, usually referred to as “Outer” and “Inner.” The “Inner” version” is later and longer compared to the “Outer” version.

3. This passage is quoted, without attribution, in Xiao Tingzhi’s (fl. 1260–64) Jindan wenda (Questions and Answers on the Golden Elixir). It is also found in Li Daochun’s (fl. 1288–92) Zhonghe ji (Anthology of Central Harmony), ch. 4.

4. This expression derives from the passage of the Daode jing (Book of the Way and Its Virtue) quoted at the end of the commentary to the present section.

5. This expression derives from the passage of the Book of Changes quoted at the end of the commentary to the present section.

6. Daode jing, sec. 6.

7. Book of Changes (Yijing), “Wenyan” (Explanation of the Sen- tences) on the hexagram Kun ䷁ (see Wilhelm, I Ching or Book of Changes, p. 395). The first sentence is also found in the Cantong qi (The Seal of the Unity of the Three), sec. 19: “From the Yellow Center it gradually spreads through the veining: moistening and impregnating, it reaches the flesh and the skin” (see Pregadio, The Seal of the Unity of the Three, p. 77). In the explication given by Wang Jie, these passages of the Daode jing and the Book of Changes refer to the precelestial Breath.

Reference: Commentary on the Mirror for Compounding the Medicine (Ruyao jing zhujie) translated by Fabrizio Pregadio

The Natural Mechanism of Turning Attention Around to Gaze Within

Bai Yuzhan said, “The path of inner refinement is extremely simple and easy; just get the fire of the heart to descend into the elixir field. The elixir field is the chamber of water, while the heart is fire. When fire enters water, then water and fire mix and true yang is produced. Therefore people Call them heart and genitals,not water and fire.”

The realized man Zhengyang said, “Getting the fire of the heart to descend is the South Star shifting to the position of the North Star.”

Shi Xingling said, “Gather in your spirit back into your energy and the alchemical process will naturally take place.”

Liu Haizhan said, “I have realized the principle of long life – intense yang subdues intense yin.”

Xu Jingyang said, “I will disclose my family way to you – the sun shifts into the light of the moon.”

Master Wang Chongyang said, “When you begin to build the foundation, first take the spirit in the upper opening and sink it into the lower opening, in the cavern of energy. Mind and breath keeping together causes pure attention to be ever aware. Alternating exhalation and inhalation come and go in the furnace of creation; after a long time this becomes thoroughly familiar, and fire will naturally erupt from below the navel, a tiger will emerge from the water. Without even trying to return to central balance, you spontaneously revert to central balance.

“When you first watch over the opening, turning your attention around to gaze within, it is a black pearl, like the dark side of the moon. Steadily illumined by the fire of mind following the wind of respiration, the blackness spontane- ously produces white, fire erupts in water, and warm energy circulates in the cavern of energy. This is the initial movement of true yang, producing being from nonbeing.”

He also said, “The forging and refining of wind and fire must be applied to pure yang to activate the yang energy. This is all a matter of discovering and consciously nurturing the basic spirit, a point of empty nothingness, storing it down in the cavern of energy. This is called sending it back to the earth and it pot sealing tightly.”

“With the ethereal spiritual light of essence of the basic spirit within, be like a turtle hiding, like a snake hibernating; do not forget, do not force, as if present yet as if absent. Eventually exhalation and inhalation will join, spirit and energy will embrace, the mystic pass will naturally open, and the seed of realization will be produced.”

Reference: Taoist Meditation: Methods for Cultivating a Healthy Mind and Body translated by Thomas Cleary p. 115

Starting and Ending Forms of Basic Qigong Exercise Patterns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Three Deep Exhaling and Inhaling Form

Pithy Formula

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Three Open-and-Close Form
Pithy Formular

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ISBN 7533103785

Hunyuanzhuang

Jingang-Chan Posture

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

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

3) Look 45 degrees downward to the ground.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Start Qi Movement

Ding Qiubo

How to start Qi movement or how to guide the physical body by Qi are the basic qualities and fundamental basis for the Health Qigong exerciser. Therefore, in Health Qigong·Liu Zi Jue, the exerciser is required to start Qi movement at the very beginning of the ready posture. The same requirement appears also in Health Qigong·Shi Er Duan Jin. In its first Routine “Gongli Function”, it is clearly defined that “calm the heart can purify the brain and keep one’s body and soul in good condition, thereby the mind and Qi shall be combined as one, and the Qi movement shall be started.” In another word, all the methods of Health Qigong require the exerciser to start the Qi movement at the very beginning of the exercise. So how to start Qi movement is the key point to exercise Health Qigong, and it is an important task that should be broke through with great efforts.

Seek a Breakthrough on Theory

Start Qi Movement so that the Health Qigong exercise shall be started. Without starting the Qi movement, the exerciser shall fail to start his health Qigong exercise. The start of Qi movement symbolizes the power of the exerciser’s inner Qi. It means the production of the inner Qi; it can be compared to the very moment when an engine is started. After that moment, the “engine” shall be kept in the working state. To the same sense, as soon as the exerciser’s inner (Cinnabar Field) “Qi” is started, his inner “Qi” shall keep producing; and the moment when the “Qi” is started is defined as the start of Qi movement. It is the necessary route that any exerciser who wants to enhance his Health Qigong cannot make a bypass. Strictly speaking, exercise before the inner Qi is felt is not Qigong exercise in the real sense; or in another word, the exerciser has not master the essence of Health Qigong exercise yet. Vivid gestures without the flow of Qi inside the body are nothing but “parrots” which cannot be taken as the real Qigong exercise, and the exerciser shall stay as a layman in the front door of the palace of Health Qigong. The only way to get the door opened is to learn to start the Qi movement, or the Health Qigong exercise shall stay on the movements of physical body instead of the exercise of “Qi”.

Start Qi Movement so that the Qi shall flow. “Qi movement” appears frequently in the Health Qigong literary materials. It appears for ten times in Health Qigong·Liu Zi Jue, and also several times in 200 Q&A on Health Qigong. To put it in an easy way, “Qi movement” means the flow and movement of Qi; to be more precisely, the Qi movement is the flowing up and down, as well as the opening and closing of Qi. In Health Qigong·Liu Zi Jue, the flow of Qi in the movement of “guiding the Qi in Cinnabar Field up to the chest” shall be felt different for the exerciser before and after the starting of Qi movement. Only when the Qi movement is started, can the exerciser feel naturally the flow of Qi. It is impossible to feel the Qi’s flow unless the Qi movement is started. Therefore, without the feelings of flow of the inner Qi, “External movement guide inner flow” is nothing but an empty talk; because the “inner flow” here is referred to the movement of Qi in the body.

Start Qi Movement so that the Qi shall be conveyed back to the Cinnabar Field. It is impossible for the exerciser to convey his Qi back into the Cinnabar Field without starting the Qi movement. If the Qi movement is not started, then the exerciser shall fail in feeling the inner Qi, so he shall not know where the Qi is going. If the exerciser doesn’t know where the Qi is going, how could he convey it back to the Cinnabar Field? Therefore, an exerciser who fails to feel his inner Qi shall neither feel where it is conveyed to when he finishes the Qigong exercise. Or it can be put into this way that, where should one put the grains without knowing the location of the storehouse? Cinnabar Field is the storehouse where the inner Qi is stored. So if one is to convey his Qi back into the Cinnabar Field, he should firstly find the right place-the Cinnabar Field, the “storehouse of Qi”- to start the movement of Qi.

Start Qi Movement so that the Qi in the body shall flow as a whole. If the Qi movement is not started in Health Qigong exercise, the exerciser’s Qi in the body shall fail to flow as a whole. A general Qi (the experience of feeling the Qi as a whole) is a kind of feeling achieved after the start of the Qi movement that followed by a flow exercise of Qi. A general Qi takes its first step by the start of the Qi movement. In another word, if the exerciser can feel the start of Qi movement through the whole process of forming the earnestness to exercise Health Qigong and performing all the movements, his inner Qi is sufficient enough. Then the feelings of the movement of Qi shall be much clearer, and the state of “Qi flowing all over the body” shall gradually appear. Under this circumstance when his body is feeling “great”, the exerciser’s Health Qigong exercise is naturally transformed from a passive attitude of “have-to-exercise” to an active one of “want-to-exercise”. Thereby, a good Health Qigong exercising state with a general Qi shall be achieved.

“A small spark can burn the whole grassland.” The “spark” is the start of the Qi movement, while the “grassland” is the general Qi. The start of the Qi movement is the introductory certificate of the Health Qigong exercise. So it is necessary for the exerciser to improve his theoretical background I’ve discussed in the previous parts, and pay attention to these matters in Qigong exercise.

Seek a Breakthrough in Practice

The start of Qi movement is a practical process, and the Cinnabar Field is the most important part to do it. So the Cinnabar Field shall be the focus in Health Qigong exercise.

Where is the Cinnabar Field located? The location of the Cinnabar Field shall be felt only when the Qi movement is started. It is important to familiar with the location of the Cinnabar Field, and it is necessary to keep its position in mind in exercise. The location of the Cinnabar Field varies in the four Methods of Health Qigong: in Yi Jin Jing, it is located at Qi Hai Acupoint that is “an inch and a half below the navel”; in Wu Qin Xi, it is located at “the center of the abdomen below the navel”; in Liu Zi Jue, it is at the right point of the navel, or the Shen Que Point; while in Ba Duan Jin, its ready position of “rotating the two arms outward and holding them in front of the bell to form an arc and keep them at the same level of the navel” indicates that the Cinnabar Field is located at the navel too. In accordance with From “Turning the Head and Lowering the Body to Relieve heart fire” to “Raising the Heels and drop seven times to eliminate illness”-the Exercising keys and requirements of the Last Four Forms of Health Qigong ·Ba Duan Jin, (Health Qigong, Journal, 2006(6)), its ending posture is described as “bend over the two arms and fold the Lao Gong Points of the two palms; the left palm kept within, pointing the Guan Yuan Point and folded on the belly, and concentrate ideation in Cinnabar Field (Omphaloskepsis)”. So the Cinnabar Field in this method is clearly defined to be at the Guan Yuan Point. While in 200 Q&A on Health Qigong (Page 9): “The lower Cinnabar Field is located at the abdomen below the navel, it is a part among the relevant Points including Shen Que Point, Guan Yuan Point, Qi Hai Point and Ming Men Point. Generally speaking, Cinnabar Field is particularly referred to the lower Cinnabar Field. ” So where is the Cinnabar Field actually located? My answer is: “Each of the position mentioned above is the right position of an Cinnabar Field.” Then why there are so many Cinnabar Fields in Health Qigong? My explanation includes three reasons as following: firstly, it is a respect and heritage of the traditional methods; secondly, the variations of the Cinnabar Fields don’t influence the start of the Qi movement; thirdly, as soon as the Qi movement is started and the inner Qi is get ready, the Point that comes into the exerciser’s mind shall be the Cinnabar Field. That is to say: “where there is Qi, there is the key; while without Qi, there’s only vague.” After the Qi movement is started, it will be easier and clearer to define the location of the Cinnabar Field.

What the Cinnabar Field looks like? Only when the Qi movement is started, then can the exerciser truly feel the Cinnabar Field. The Cinnabar Field is a region without clear boundary. Our ancestors believed that there were “ever-young pill” inside our body, so it was unnecessary to search for the recipes from the outside world; and the part where the “magic pills” are created is in the Cinnabar Field. The metaphors “Storehouse” “Engine” in the previous part and the “Air Pump” in the following part of the essay are employed to define what the Cinnabar Field looks like. In fact, there’s no need to define how the Cinnabar Field looks like, because if the Qi movement cannot be started, it is useless to define it. The veil of the Cinnabar Field can be uncovered only when the Qi movement is started.

What is the function of the Cinnabar Field? This is two of my personal feelings about the Cinnabar Field: (1) The Cinnabar Field is the position to start the Qi movement, the source of the inner Qi, and the motive power of the Qi to flow and cycle in the body. (2) The heart is a “Blood Pump” which sends the blood to every part of the body in full cycle with its regular beat and release; while the Cinnabar Field can be considered as an “Air Pump” which sends Qi to every corner of the body in full cycle with a regular opening and close. The exerciser should continually enhance the function of the “Air Pump”, so that the effect of Health Qigong exercise shall be improved.

Omphaloskepsis is a common method to start Qi Movement. All the methods of Health Qigong emphasize the importance of the Cinnabar Field in which the inner Qi is produce by starting the Qi movement. Take the formulas of the Four Methods as examples: both the ready and ending postures of Wu Qin Xi contain the “Omphaloskepsis”; the ready posture of Ba Duan Jin contains the same phrase, while in its ending posture, the exerciser is required to “Hold back Qi to Cinnabar Field.” In the ready posture of Liu Zi Jue “Dial withdraw the palm”, the palm is withdrew to the navel, the “navel” here and in the ending posture “crumple the navel” are both referred to the Cinnabar Fields. There is “Shen Bu Wai Chi” in the ready posture of Yi Jin Jing, which means to keep Omphaloskepsis; and there are also three “Hold upward, lead downward” in its ending posture, “lead downward” here means guide the Qi down to the Cinnabar Field, or hold back Qi to Cinnabar Field. It is obvious to see that even though there is difference in the formulas, all the Four Methods emphasize the importance of the Omphaloskepsis. It is the foundation of Health Qigong exercise, and it is a convenient and quick way to start the Qi movement.

Seek a Breakthrough on Key Points

There are various ways to start the Qi movement, just like the old saying goes, “Every road leads to Rome.” However, if the exerciser wants to get into the exercising state, it is necessary for him to grasp the key points. Since the subject’s feelings may vary, the key point to start the Qi movement shall also different from person to person. I will analyze it with my personal feelings as following. Start from Liu Zi Jue, I feel that:

The emphasis of Liu Zi Jue on the exercise of Qi is beneficial to start the Qi movement. One can easily tell, Qi or body, which is the focus of the Four Methods of Health Qigong through the content of their syllabus: the first characteristic of Yi Jin Jing reads “The movements are relaxing, and shall be helpful to stretch the body and relax the bones.”, and its first exercising requirement is to “relax the mind, and combine the body and soul as one.” The second characteristic of Wu Qin Xi reads that “stretch the body and exercise the joints”, and the third one reads that “External movement shall guide inner flow, and the body shall be relaxed and the mind refreshed.” Its exercising requirements are arranged in the order of “body, soul, mind and Qi.” As for Ba Duan Jin, its third characteristic is that “The body and soul are combined, and the Qi is interacted.” In the first exercising requirement of Yi Jin Jing “Relax the mind and combine the body and soul”, it is clearly defined that: “The regulation of the body is the main focus of the exercise.” It is obvious to see from the previous examples that the three Methods all emphasize the combination of the body and soul, and put the exercise of body at the first place. But it is another way around in Liu Zi Jue, which puts the exercise of Qi at the first place. The second characteristic of Liu Zi Jue reads as “Guide with breath, exercise both body and soul”, and its second exercising requirement reads that “Combine the mind with Qi (breath) and body.” So Liu Zi Jue takes exercise of Qi as its focus.

The emphasis of Liu Zi Jue on the importance of the Cinnabar Fieldis is beneficial to start the Qi movement. The requirement of “Taking the navel as the center” in Health Qigong·Liu Zi Jue is actually defining the navel as its Cinnabar Field. Then where is place the “exercise Qi” takes place in Health Qigong·Liu Zi Jue? Where to “start Qi movement”? Where to “gathering Qi”? Where the Qi shall be guided to? The answer for all these questions is the Cinnabar Field. All the movements of Liu Zi Jue take the Cinnabar Field as their focus, and even its inverse abdominal breath is released from the Cinnabar Field. Therefore, if the exerciser can thoroughly grasp the methods of Liu Zi Jue, he shall start the Qi movement soon at the Cinnabar Field.

The emphasis of Liu Zi Jue on the regulation of breath is beneficial to start the Qi movement. Liu Zi Jue is a beneficial exercise to exercise one’s inner Qi (including the start of Qi movement and the flow of Qi), and an exerciser which takes the Cinnabar Field as its core, the breath regulation as its emphasis and the inverse abdominal breathing as the major methods. Liu Zi Jue particularly emphasizes the importance of the Cinnabar Field which offers the best position to start the Qi movement; it also pays close attention to the inverse abdominal breath, which provides the start of Qi movement with a convenient method. I conclude “three magic” of Liu Zi Jue as following: the Cinnabar Field is the magic place, the inverse abdominal breath the magic weapon to exercise Qi, and the inner Qi as its magic fruit.

The practice reveals the truth that, the exerciser should take the key points, so that he shall get a thorough and comprehensive understanding of the Health Qigong. In accordance with my personal experience, I believe that HU Exercise in Liu Zi Jue is much easier to start the Qi movement. I will explain with details in the following part. Firstly, the movements of HU Exercise are the simplest. The movements of HU Exercise look simple on the surface with only an opening and close. Nevertheless, the greatest doctrine is usually expressed in the simplest way. “The laws are valued in its accuracy, and Gong in its delicacy.” The laws of Health Qigong exercise emphasize the accurate quality instead of the quantity, so the exercising methods are considered to be the simpler the better. Therefore this simplest movement with only an opening and close is an Exercise that shall achieve unexpected result. Its opening and close is actually a grand one that takes the Cinnabar Field as its center, both bodily and mentally. Secondly, HU Exercise is the most convenient to be coordinated and regulated. Since it is the simplest exercise, it is the most convenient to be regulated in the breath and the pilot movements. The opening and close of one pilot movement in HU Exercise is coordinated by the opening and close of an inverse abdominal breath, so it is comfortable to exercise it. The exerciser shall meet the requirement of Health Qigong·Liu Zi Jue saying that “The opening and close of the movement should be coordinated by the breath of inner Qi”. With a close regulation and coordination of the opening and close of the abdomen’s breath with the pilot movements, the exerciser shall make a breakthrough in the length and the quantity of breath, and so meet the requirement of Liu Zi Jue to “breathe slowly and lightly.” Therefore, the exerciser should make a breakthrough on HU Exercise to start the Qi movement, and make it the foundation exercise of other methods. Thirdly, HU Exercise is most concentrating exercise. Since its movements are simple, and the breath is much convenient to coordinate with them. Consequently, the exerciser’s mind shall be easier to concentrate, and his thought shall be more sensible to feel the Cinnabar Field. It tends to be much easier for the exerciser to feel the movement of the Cinnabar Field in this calm and sensible state, which does a favor for him to make a breakthrough in the starting of Qi movement. I once experienced in the exercise that, when I breathed directly from the Cinnabar Field, a complete flow of Qi was formed and flowing between the open mouth and the Cinnabar Field. So I believe that the HU Exercise is the best exercise to make a breakthrough in starting the Qi movement.

In conclusion, I’ve discussed in the previous part all the personal feelings I experienced through years of Health Qigong exercise. I am showing them in the hope of offering other exercisers some useful suggestions in starting the Qi movement. To fulfill this goal, besides years of exercise, one should also keep the Omphaloskepsis in the daily life. It is an efficient exercise to start the Qi movement if one always keeps Omphaloskepsis in mind. As long as one sticks to concentrating his mind on the Cinnabar Field, one shall make a breakthrough in the starting of Qi movement naturally, and make a success in Health Qigong exercise.

Reference: My Opinions on How to Start Qi Movement jsqg.sport.org.cn

A General Introduction to Jinggong

by Chen Yingming

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Intercourse of Water and Fire

Whenever you leak vital spirit, being stirred and interacting with beings, that is all fire. Whenever you gather back spirits consciousness and quiet it down to steep in the center, that is all water. When th senses run outward, that is fire; when the senses turn around  inward, that is water.

The one yin [ inside the fire trigram ] concentrates on pursuing sense experience, while the one yang [ inside the water trigram ] concentrates on reversing and withdrawing the senses themselves.

Water and fire are yin and yang, yin and yang are body and mind, body and mind are spirit and energy. Once you withdraw to rest your vital spirit and are not influenced by objects, then this is true intercourse, as of course when you sit in profound silence.

Reference:The Secret of the Golden Flower: The Classic Chinese Book of Life new translation by Thomas Cleary

Body Regulation and Mind Regulation of Qigong

Si Hongyu and Guo Kai

Health Qigong is a special sport. One of its unique features is the simultaneous body and mind regulation. Body regulation means the regulation of the physiological state and mind regulation means the regulation of psychological state. By practicing Health Qigong, we can adjust the physiological and psychological states which have gone out of balance due to various causes. Both the mental state and physical state are carried by the human body. They interact as both cause and effect and complement each other. The mental and physical imbalances and problems of man can be solved by co-regulation of the mental and physical states. Everybody has two properties, namely the natural property and social property. As a part of the nature, man is governed by the natural rules and will inevitably be subject to the threats of pathogens such as wind, cold, heat, and damp and go through a process of life, illness, aging, and death. As a part of the society, man is restricted by the conditions of the age he is in and will inevitably experience sorrow, happiness, unity, and departure. All these natural and social conditions will more or less influence the mental and physical states of everyone. Failure to make proper adjustments will result in damages to peoples’ health and longevity and prevent them from “living to the full span of life”. And Health Qigong exercise bears the feature of co-regulation of both the physical and mental states on the basis of the three elements of “body regulation, breath regulation, and mind regulation”.

Firstly, Health Qigong is a traditional sport of our nation with body movements, respiration regulation, and mental regulation as the major forms of exercise. Therefore Health Qigong is featured by co-regulation of both the mental and physical states: This is because physical regulation starts from essence cultivation and will go through a process covering saliva accumulation, essence generation, conversion of essence into Qi, and conversion of Qi into spirit, while mental regulation mainly involves spirit cultivation in which all concentration is focused on mental activities. Specifically, the physical regulation of Health Qigong is mainly represented by limb movements and focused on regulation of the physiological state of the practicer; and it will certainly assist mental regulation. The mental regulation of Health Qigong is mainly embodied in the moral cultivation and its health-preserving mechanism. It sheds light on self-inspiration and regulates people’s mental, as well as physical functions. Therefore we should not consider them as opposites, because the mental and physical states are united in the human body and have interactions. Every movement of Health Qigong has its mechanism and functions. And these mechanism and functions cannot be fully utilized unless under the guidance of a good mental state. Therefore importance should always be attached to the regulation of mental state before, during, and after the practice of Health Qigong. During the practice, there are some specific requirements in addition to the movement norms: The practicer is required to eliminate distracting thoughts, concentrate the mind, relax the entire body, turn a deaf ear to the external things, and adhere to vacancy and quietness. From this we can see that during the exercise, mental regulation is always the dominant role. Mental regulation has two aspects in Health Qigong. One of them is the regulation of mental state during exercise or, in other words, the conscious control of the body. Internal consciousness is used to turn disorderly and scattered mental activities into regular and focused mental activities in order to regulate Qi. The other is the regulation of mental state in social practice. In other words we should attach importance to the cultivation of morality, which is a necessary condition for maintaining a stable state of life. This is because the moral cultivation involves eliminating and reducing the interference by the Seven Emotions. And the Seven Emotions are factors that disturb the “body, Qi, and spirit” of the practicer. Therefore moral cultivation should be considered a precondition for health preservation. These two aspects of mental regulation depend on each other because the application of mind is restricted by the society and subject to the social and moral influences. Therefore moral cultivation is a part of mental regulation, a prerequisite for the correct and efficient application of the mind, a serenity-accomplishing process used to eliminate distracting thoughts, seek truth, and achieve Anatman, and one of the embodiments of the mental regulation of Health Qigong.

Secondly, the fact that Health Qigong exercise is meant to “increase life span, mental power, and morality” has further shown its feature of co-regulation of mental and physical states. Since the ancient times, practicers of Health Qigong have not only sought physical health and longevity, but also pursued and exhibited high morality and spiritual self-improvement. Health Qigong has been created by learning from the Yin and Yang and hardness and softness of the heaven and earth. Proper adherence to the exercise can be considered a “benevolent” behavior. According to etymology, “benevolence” means “kindness” just as “righteousness” and “goodness”. Practicers are seeking health and longevity. And health and longevity come from “benevolence”. “Moral cultivation and fulfillment of promises are called benevolence”. (Li Ji: Qu Li) Therefore Health Qigong can be considered as a benevolent behavior that leads to health and longevity. And “benevolence” belongs to “morality”. Therefore the mental state is used to determine and realize self-value and thus perform the co-regulation of mental and physical states in Health Qigong.

Secondly, the fact that Health Qigong exercise is meant for “approach-based benevolence” has further shown its feature of co-regulation of mental and physical states. Since health and longevity is a “self-benevolence”, Health Qigong is an “approach-based benevolence”, because the results of “approach-based benevolence” can meet the practicers’ demand for health and longevity. “Benevolence” belongs to “morality”. The achievement in the exercise is directly related to morality. Many regiment schools give the first priority to the cultivation of morality and lay special emphasis on making achievements of Health Qigong with morality. It was said in ancient times that “Achievement originates from virtue and virtue is the mother of achievement”. And “exercise without moral cultivation will definitely lead to evil possession” warns us that exercisers should “straighten the heart before exercising the body”. Straightening the heart exactly means cultivate morality. This is why Confucius pointed out in The Great Learning that: “wealth embellishes your house and morality embellishes your body. A person with a large heart tends to grow plump.” Zhu Xi construed it as: “wealth embellishes your house and morality embellishes your body because when you are free of dirty ideas, your mind will be open and commodious and your body will be always healthy. This is why morality embellishes your body.” How to elevate “morality”? Confucius’ “doing good” theory is based on self-communion, self-control, and self-behavior. In other words the moral cultivation of the subject itself is used to break the spiritual shackles and achieve ideal personalities. This means that moral cultivation is done by the subject itself. The motive for moral cultivation comes from the real human mind. It is an effort driven by the human awareness. Therefore the reason that some practicers fail to understand the gist of Health Qigong is probably related to the degree of conscious efforts. Whatever the reason, Health Qigong itself can cultivate “morality” by co-regulating the mental and physical states. It is just that some practicers haven’t grasped its core and obtained the real benefits. To sum up, long-term, correct practice of “approach-based benevolence” of Health Qigong can be used as a “Tao-upholding” process which naturally leads to “establishment of morality”. Therefore “upholding Tao can establish morality, and established morality can define Tao”. This is quite good evidence. Certainly, only constant, long-term, and continuous habitual adherence to this practice can cultivate morality. Just as Aristotle said: “the properties of morality are results of habit.” Since long-term, correct practice of “approach-based benevolence” of Health Qigong can cultivate morality, it will naturally regulate the mental state.

In a stressful society, people usually need to play multiple social roles. Work, life, and many other things are wearing everyone and the complicated interpersonal communications frequently befuddle us. In such times, we will be desperately in need of relaxation of the body and massage of the mind in order to reinvigorate ourselves and fulfill what we are supposed to do. Perhaps Health Qigong exercise is exactly what you want, because Health Qigong regulates both the mental and physical states. You may be unable to practice it all the time. But as long as you always keep an eye on the cultivation of your own morality anywhere and anytime in your daily life and embed the practice of Health Qigong in your daily life, you can still keep your spirit serene and free of fickleness and keep your mind straight and free of prejudice. This is another way of Health Qigong exercise which just lays more emphasis on the regulation of mental state.

Reference: Body Regulation and Mind Regulation of Health Qigong Exercise jsqg.sport.org.cn

Having a Rest to Save the Energy of Life

Having a Rest to Save the Energy of Life and Performing Three Regulations to Maintain Health

Shi Song

The health-preserving philosophy of Health Qigong has a profound philosophical foundation. It is quite different from other sports in that it lays emphasis on self-cultivation, on the improvement of psychological quality, on the comprehensive development of morality, intelligent, physical fitness, and aesthetics, on the cultivation of spirit, Qi, and essence, on self-experience and comprehension, on the dominant role of health preservation, on disease prevention and health preservation, on self-defense, and on low-profile self-cultivation. To sum up, the practice of Health Qigong not only strengthens the body, but also facilitates serenity and spirit nourishment, regulates the mental state, corrects the temperament, produces wisdom, and optimizes qualities.

Entering Serenity, Nourishing Spirit, and Regulating Mental State

The practice of Health Qigong requirements combined body regulation, breath regulation, and mind regulation. Entering serenity and nourishing spirit are exactly the mental regulation of Health Qigong. Entering serenity and nourishing spirit will facilitate health preservation and help us alleviate our mental pressure caused by the fierce competition in the modern age. Ancient people compared man’s given life span to the combustion duration of wood. With the same volume, the hard Chinese oak burns much longer than poplar wood. It is also said that “my life depends on myself rather than the heaven. Abuse of it will shorten it, while proper use of it will prolong it.” By frequently entering serenity and nourish the spirit, we can save the life energy and prolong life.

The basic requirement of mind regulation is to enter serenity. In order words, we are required to consciously regulate the mental activities and enter serenity and nourish the spirit through mind concentration. The essential characteristic of mind concentration is the relaxed mind concentration. It does not require any clear understanding of the directive things. This is the elementary serenity. Advanced serenity should be free of thoughts. Anyone that enters this stage will forget himself. The “heart will be calm and clear as a mirror and still water” and “the spirit will travel freely in the outer space”. This indescribable delightful mental state is most favorable for health and longevity.

Under the serene conditions, the automatic regulating system of the human body will be free of interference and play its due role. All imbalances between Yin and Yang will be eliminated. However, when the automatic regulating system is seriously damaged and out of service, medical intervention will be necessary. A well-trained exerciser can also use mind concentration for active regulation and control. This is related to the beneficial psychological suggestion and imagination. For example, when mind is concentrated on the head, the blood pressure will rise. When it is concentrated on the feet, the blood pressure will fall. By guiding Qi with the mind, Qigong can regulate the ascending and descending movements of blood and Qi. By concentrating the mind on the lower Yu acupoints, a person with Yin deficiency and predominant Yang will lower Yang. Such a person can also imagine the cold things such as the moon or water. By concentrating the mind on the upper Yu acupoints, a person can raise Yang. A person having Yang deficiency should image the sun or fire. Specifically, high blood pressure and hyperglycemia patients approximately belong to predominant Yang or asthenic Yin in traditional Chinese medicine. Therefore these patients should concentrate the mind on Yongquan Acupoints at the feet and imagine cold things. On the contrary, hypopiesia and hypoglycemia patients are equivalent to asthenic Yang or blood and Qi deficiency patients, who may concentrate the mind on Baihui Acupoint on the head and imagine warm things.

It has been proven in practice that Health Qigong exercise can make man’s cerebral activities more orderly and synchronous. Serenity is not rest or sleep or any hypnoid state. It is an integrated functional state. Health Qigong exercise will reduce the complexity of the brain in the conscious state and reduce the chaos. When the cerebral cortex of the advanced nervous center is in the inhibited state, the center controlling the visceral activities will become active. Therefore the disorderly functions can be automatically regulated. By entering serenity, the exerciser will keep a sound mind, reduce the nervousness, and achieve the optimal state of the physiological functions. Due to the cheerful and concentrated mind, external interference will be screened and the automatic regulating functions of the organism will be fully exerted. At this point the intuitive immunity and adaptability will be developed.

Self-Cultivation and Correction of Temperament

The temperament and disposition relate to the health, longevity, and success of a man. It is important to build a strong and handsome body. But it is only spiritual beauty, i.e. the temperament beauty that achieves permanent charm.

The so-called “temperament” is the natural and intrinsic stable psychological characteristics. It covers many mental activities, such as the consciousness, emotions, speed of motion reflex, intensity of emotions and will, the stability of emotions and attention, and the introversion or extroversion of the orientation of mental activities. Its physiological foundation is the nerves of the individual-humoral regulation system, such as the nerve types, endocrine characteristics, etc. Temperament is subject to the influence of genetic factors. It is stable to a certain extent but not unchangeable. When influenced by the living environment and educational conditions, temperament may also be changed to a certain extent. For example, some quick-tempered persons living in a group will become self-restrain and some slow-tempered persons will become quick in action.

Different dispositions have their unique temperament features. Temperament will influence the formation and development of disposition but disposition is more ductile and is usually formed under the acquired environment, education, and fitness exercise. Disposition is a core psychological characteristic in the personality structure. It has significant effects on the ability and temperament of an individual. Disposition is ductile. For example, a person who has developed high self-control in a harsh living environment will be good at controlling his irritable and impulsive temperament. A person who has developed the habit of caring about the group and others in group living will strength his connections with other people and reform his introvert temperament.

In traditional Chinese medicine, persons are divided into Taiyang persons, Shaoyang persons, Taiyin persons, Shaoyang persons, and Yin-Yang balanced persons by temperament and disposition. Yin-Yang balanced persons have the strengths and do not have the weaknesses of all the other four types of persons. The temperament and disposition characteristics have both active and passive sides. People who know themselves are good at utilizing their own strengths and overcoming their weaknesses. In practice they can build a perfect image bit by bit. This process is called “self-cultivation”. In actual life, no everyone belongs to a certain temperament type. Except a few persons who have typical characteristics, most people belong to the intermediate type or mixed type. Through Health Qigong exercise, we can regulate equilibrium, regulate Yin and Yang, and properly reform the body constitution, temperament, and disposition of the person.

Health Qigong exercise can change the characteristics of the cerebral activities and regulate the functions of the endocrine secretion system, which are exactly the physiological foundation for the psychological characteristics of temperament and disposition. For example persons of “Type A temperament” are typical “quick-tempered” persons that are easy to get agitated, impatient, irritable, easily angry, and susceptible to diseases like hypertension and coronary artery diseases. Health Qigong exercise can not only facilitate the control and prevention of these diseases but also moderate the disposition. Persons of “Type C temperament” are typically “gloomy”. Their emotions are often distressed. They seem to resign themselves to adversity but are actually angry at heart. This temperament will easily lead to cancers and ulcers. Health Qigong exercise will not only facilitate the rehabilitation of cancer in the combined therapies, but also lead to a broad-minded and optimistic temperament. This means that adverse temperament and disposition can be corrected by Health Qigong exercise.

Peace and Serenity Produces Wisdom and Optimizes Qualities

Normal people cannot do the stunners of the acrobats. Without practice, we cannot produce the masterworks of calligraphy and painting masters, the works of miniature engraving artists, and the paintings painted by disabled artists with feet. But they did make it through hard training, because they have developed their own potential. People usually use the left brain more frequently than they do the right brain. Modern computers have replaced the mechanical memory and abstract thinking and calculation of man. Development of a person’s ability is mainly dependent on the right brain which exerts the imagination and creativity. Innovation is a specialty of the human kind. Only coordinated left brain and right brain can lead to creativity.

The “serenity” and “mind concentration” of Health Qigong exercise are methods to practice the concentration and distribution of attention. The quality of attention is related to the labor efficiency and occurrence of accidents, and thus to the success of a person’s cause. Experimental psychology has proved that normal people can focus their minds for at most 20 minutes. But well-trained Health Qigong exercisers can maintain high serenity free of distracting thoughts for a long time. The “visualization” of Qigong is also known as “inward contemplation”, which is exactly a general method for the exercise of imagination. Imagination is a symbol of man’s wisdom. In the modern age, intelligent resources are developed by using both the left and right brains and fully utilizing the imagination and concrete thinking functions of the right brain. It is only in this way that we can exert the greatest strength of man-imagination.

Health Qigong exercise will optimize the qualities. “Peace and serenity will produce wisdom” and “inspired thinking” will lead to the optimal physiological state after the understanding and comprehension of life and universe. Experimentation has proved that exercisers have significantly less nervousness, significantly faster response, significantly higher IQ, and significantly better studying speed, memory, language expression, agility, and creativity than the non-exercisers.

Comprehensive Health Qigong exercise includes morality cultivation. It is an exercise of self-control, a healthy lifestyle, and an art of health preservation. With the advent of the information-based society and the development of open education and lifelong education, health education and health preserving methods will definitely be popularized. Health Qigong requires the development of morality and the cultivation of lofty sentiments, which are also the key points of the new health concept proposed by WHO.

Reference: Having a Rest to Save the Energy of Life and Performing Three Regulations to Maintain Health jsqg.sport.org.cn

Motion in Quiescence and Quiescence in Motion

Zhang Guoming; HuangHe Science and Technology College

Motion in Quiescence and Quiescence in Motion run through the entire process of Health Qigong exercise. Motion strengthens muscles, bones, and tendons, promotes blood circulation, and improves functions of the viscera. Quiescence supports healthy energy, regulates the functions and activities of the nervous system, improves sleep, and makes people energetic and happy. This is why an ancient saying goes “motion nourishes the body and quiescence nourishes the spirit”.

The Yin-Yang Hypothesis in the ancient philosophy of China divides all things of the universe into Yin and Yang categories. When it comes to the relations between motion & quiescence and body & spirit, motion represents Yang and quiescence represents Yin. Body represents Yin and spirit represents Yang. With regard to their own properties, motion promotes Yang and the promoted Yang will boost Yin. Quiescence promotes Yin and the promoted Yin will boost Yang. Balance between motion and quiescence will make Yin and Yang promote each other. They will rise and fall and be converted into each other endlessly. Any relative excess or insufficiency of Yin or Yang will cause Yang to be impaired by Yin or Yin impaired by Yang. Yin and Yang will be eventually separated from each other and result in death. Therefore Yu Shu pointed out in Nan Jing Ji Zhu that “if we use sole Yin Qi to nourish Yang, Yang may be isolated; if we use sole Yang Qi to nourish Yin, Yin may be isolated.” In order to nourish both the body and spirit during the exercise of Health Qigong, we should achieve both Motion in Quiescence and Quiescence in Motion. Through well-coordinated motion and quiescence, we can balance Yin and Yang in the human body, achieve simultaneous nourishment of both body and spirit, realize coordinated physical and mental development, and thus adapt ourselves to the natural and social environments.

Quiescence in Motion means to coordinate movements, respiration, and thought during the exercise of Health Qigong in order to gradually smoothen and coordinate movements and gradually relax and calm the thought. In other words, we should keep a moving body and a stationary mind. During the exercise of Health Qigong, the relaxed and serene mind will well adjust the excitement of the cerebral nerves and inhibit and calm the over-excited nerves so that the brain can be properly regulated to a certain extent of excitation. A balanced nervous system will properly regulate the viscera and muscular tissues to fully relax the tissues and organs controlled by exalted nerves. The relaxation of tissues and organs will promote the circulation of blood and Qi and thus promote the discharge of in-vivo metabolic products and toxic and harmful substances. The discharge of in-vivo metabolic products and toxic and harmful substances will reduce the damage to the nervous system. The quiescent cerebral nerves will perform benign regulation of the body and thus form a virtuous cycle. Just as Yi Shu: Yi Xue Su Yuan says: “To prolong life, we should keep a calm and serene mind and stay out of worries.” When the mind is vacant and serene, the spirit will be at ease. When the spirit is at ease, the Qi of the viscera will be well coordinated, the essence and Qi will be abundant, and the body will be healthy. Therefore, it is very important to achieve a gentle body and a relaxed and serene mind during the exercise of Health Qigong in order to maintain the healthy state of the body.

Quiescence in Motion means to maintain relatively stable body postures during the exercise of Health Qigong in order to reduce the blood flow in the limbs and viscera and increase the blood supply for the brain. This will provide the brain with sufficient nutrition, nourish the brains, and further excite the active regulating effect of the brain. In other words, we should keep a relatively still body while maintaining well-organized activities of the brain tissues. The well-organized activities of the brain mean natural activities that meet the physiological rules of the human body. They are pure-natural movements in the internal and external environments of the body which are free of disturbing factors. Although the brain has entered a serene state free of thoughts, it is filled with infinite vitality and vigor. It is a state in which the over-consciousness gradually fades away and the sub-consciousness gradually comes in. It is “still but not stagnant” and “serene but not dead”. “Achieving the ultimate vacancy and adhering to the true serenity” proposed by Lao Tzu in Tao Teh King indicates that during the exercise of Health Qigong, we should maintain the intelligence of the brain. It is only in this way that we can continuously make progress. Once the brain enters a pure motioning state, it should develop towards two directions. One is to guide the thought to the focus of the infection. The thought goes wherever you feel uncomfortable. Use benign psychological suggestions to naturally attach the focus with Qi and imagine that blood and Qi are unobstructed. Once your confidence is consolidated, the disease may disappear naturally. By concentrating the mind on Dantian, the healthy man can enrich the genuine Qi. When genuine Qi is sufficient, the body will be strong, the essence will be abundant, and life will be prolonged. The second aspect is to form a profound understanding of the world and learn the true meaning of life by experiencing and reflecting on life, and thus to form correct outlooks of the world and life, open the mind, and achieve spiritual purification and breakthroughs.

“Motion” and “quiescence” are relative. They are different in form and associated in nature. Motion contains quiescence and quiescence contains motion. Ultimate motion gives rise to quiescence and ultimate quiescence gives rise to motion. They both promote and restrain each other, forming a both contradictory and unified pair of entities. A proper understanding of the relations between motion and quiescence and a mastery of the essentials and extents of Motion in Quiescence and Quiescence in Motion are of important significance for us to balance Yin and Yang of the body, promote coordinated mental and physical development, improve health, and prolong life.

Reference: Motion in Quiescence and Quiescence in Motion during Health Qigong Exercise jsqg.sport.org.cn

The Seven Emotions and Qigong

Xia Xuewei; Inner Mongolia Normal University

The seven human emotions, i.e. joy, anger, worry, anxiety, sorrow, fear, and terror are normal phenomena of life activities which do not induce diseases under normal circumstances. However, abnormal fluctuations in the “seven emotions” may directly affect he functions of the viscera, disturb the circulation of blood and Qi, and thus cause diseases. Being affected by these emotions, the exerciser of Health Qigong will not be able to enter a peaceful and calm state free of distracting thoughts. And the results of the exercise will be naturally affected. At the same time, the exercise of Health Qigong also plays a special role in the regulation of the “seven emotions”. Therefore a complete understanding of the physiological and pathological mechanisms of the “seven emotions” is of prime importance and value to the exercise of Health Qigong.

It is believed in theories of the traditional Chinese medicine that: “Anger impairs the liver, joy impairs the heart, worry impairs the spleen, sorrow impairs the lungs, and terror impairs the kidneys.” Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine: Su Wen: Ju Tong Lun says: “Rage drives Qi upward, overjoy slackens Qi, excessive sorrow consumes Qi, terror collapses Qi, …… and anxiety causes Qi stagnation”. All of these have indicated that the excessive and over-excited “seven emotions” will impair the mental and physical health of man to certain extents.

Joy is an embodiment of the happy and delighted mind. Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine: Su Wen: Ju Tong Lun says: “Joy will harmonize Qi and facilitate both nutrient and defensive Qi.” But over-joy will impair the cardiac Qi, just as Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine: Ling Shu: Ben Shen says: “The spirit should be hidden and kept from being lost during joy”, indicating that excessive joy will impair the mind. The heart is the core, commander, and grand master of all the five Zang viscera. It is the key to the health of the body. By practicing Health Qigong, we can regulate the blood-pumping function of the heart and enrich cardiac Qi. For example, the “Second Routine of Wei Tuo Presenting the Pestle” in Health Qigong•Yi Jin Jing can directly stimulate the Heart Channel of Hand Shaoyin and Pericardium Channel of Hand Jueyin by seating the wrists and erecting the palms and thus regulate the cardiac functions, promote blood and Qi circulation, improve the microcirculation at distal ends, and promote blood circulation of the whole body. The “Ape Exercise” of Health Qigong•Wu Qin Xi can enhance respiration, massage the heart, and promote the beating function of the heart by lifting and pressing the palms and stretching and retracting the neck, shoulders, and abdomen. In the “He” of Health Qigong•Liu Zi Jue, the vocalization of “He” during the piercing movement of palms will expel the turbid Qi of the heart and regulate the cardiac functions. The “Posing as an Archer Shooting Both Left- and Right-Handed” of Health Qigong•Ba Duan Jin can regulate the Heart Channel of Hand Shaoyin and the Pericardium Channel of Hand Jueyin and increase the cardiac output.

Anger is an embodiment of agitated emotion of man. People get angry and furious when they are discontent and unsatisfied. Generally speaking, proper expression of emotions is important for maintaining the physiological equilibrium of the human body. But persistent rage, fury, and gloominess will cause negative effects on the organism. Gloominess impairs the liver and upheaves liver Qi. Blood will ascend with the upward invasion of liver Qi, congesting the brain and causing discomfort of the body. This will lead to headaches, cerebral distension, hypochondriac pains, chest distress, dry eye syndrome, and even critical symptoms such as faint, hematemesis, and shock. Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine: Su Wen: Ju Tong Lun says: “All diseases originate from Qi…… Anger will cause adverse rising of Qi and even hematemesis or diarrhea”. Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine: Su Wen: Sheng Qi Tong Tian Lun says: “Excessive anger leads to segregation of QI from the configuration; and blood stagnating in the upper part of the body will cause raged syncope.” The liver controls dispersion and blood storage. It facilitates the functional activities of Qi throughout the body, keeps unobstructed circulation of Qi in the channels of all viscera, stores blood, transports blood, and regulates and controls the blood supply for various parts of the body. By practicing Health Qigong, we can improve the dredging, purging, and blood-storing functions of the liver. For example, the “Blue Dragon Reaching out Claws” of Health Qigong•Yi Jin Jing disperses the depressed liver Qi and regulates the emotions through leftward and rightward turns of the body, the outreach of the claws, and the forward and sideways bending of the body. The “Tiger Exercise” of Health Qigong•Wu Qin Xi dredges liver channels and replenishes liver blood through changes in the hand shape and the glaring eyes and down-pouncing movement. In the “Xu” of Health Qigong•Liu Zi Jue, the vocalization of “Xu” during the palm-crossing movement will expel the turbid Qi of the liver and regulate the hepatic functions. “Thrusting the Fists and Making the Eyes Glare to Enhance Strength” of Health Qigong•Ba Duan Jin can stimulate the liver channel and dredge and nourish the liver through the glaring eyes during the fist-punching movement, the wrist-turning movement during the return, and the gripping of the five fingers.

Worry means something or someone that causes anxiety. Excessive worries will have negative effects on the organism, impede the movements of Qi, and cause Qi stagnation. It is believed in traditional Chinese medicine that: “anxiety causes Qi stagnation”. It was said in ancient times that: “When the shape is not straight, Qi will not move smoothly. When Qi does not move smoothly, the mind will not be at ease. When the mind is not at ease, spirit will be scattered”, indicating that obstructed circulation of Qi has a direct influence on the spirit of man. Excessive worries will lead to obscure complexion in the spleen and stomach, dyspepsia, insomnia and dreaminess, dizziness, and many other symptoms. By practicing Health Qigong, we can improve the converting, generating, and blood-controlling functions of the spleen. For example, “Nine Ghosts Drawing Swords” in Yi Jin Jing massages the spleen and enhances the Splenic functions through twisting and stretching movements of the body. The “Bear Exercise” of Health Qigong•Wu Qin Xi enhances the converting and generating functions of the spleen and stomach and boosts the nutrient-transporting and blood-transporting capacities of the Splenic Qi through the waist-turning and abdomen-waving movements. In the “Hu” of Health Qigong•Liu Zi Jue, the vocalization of “Hu” will expel the turbid Qi and regulate the spleen and stomach. “Holding One Arm Aloft to Regulate the Functions of the Spleen and Stomach” of Health Qigong•Ba Duan Jin massages the spleen and stomach, enhances the converting and generating functions of the spleen and stomach, and promotes the smooth circulation of blood and Qi through the up-down alternate pulling movements of the left and right upper and lower limbs.

Sorrow (depression) is the embodiment of sadness and depression. Excessive sorrow will impair the pulmonary Qi and cause short breath, just as Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine: Ling Shu: Ben Shen says: “sorrow will block Qi and hamper its circulation” and “deficient pulmonary Qi will cause nasal obstruction and asthenia Qi”. By practicing Health Qigong, we can improve the breath-regulating functions of the lungs. For example, both “Wei Tuo Presenting the Pestle 2” and “Pulling Nine Cows by Their Tails” in Health Qigong•Yi Jin Jing stimulate the lung channel and enhances the clear-ascending and turbid-descending function and stale-ridding and fresh-intaking functions of lungs. The “Bird Exercise” of Health Qigong•Wu Qin Xi expands the chest cavity, massages the heart and lungs, enhances the blood-oxygen exchanging capacity, and thus improves the cardiorespiratory functions through the bird-stretching and bird-flying movements. In the “Si” of Health Qigong•Liu Zi Jue, the vocalization of “Si” will expel the turbid Qi of the lungs and link up the congenital Qi and postnatal Qi, and thus enhance the ability of lungs to get rid of the stale and take in the fresh. The “Posing as an Archer Shooting Both Left-and Right-Handed” of Health Qigong•Ba Duan Jin can regulate and stimulate the lung channel, increase the lung capacity, and promote the circulation of blood and Qi over the body.

Fear (terror) is the embodiment of apprehensive and fright. Excessive terror will impair the kidneys and cause chaotic Qi in the viscera. Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine: Su Wen: Ju Tong Lun says: “Terror collapses Qi……Terror disorders Qi”. By practicing Health Qigong, we can improve the essence-storing and water-controlling functions of the kidneys. For example, in “Three Plates Falling on the Floor” of Health Qigong•Yi Jin Jing, the vocalization of “Hi” during the crouching movement will cause the genuine Qi to ascend and descend correspondingly between the chest and abdomen and thus achieve harmony between the heart and kidneys. The “Dear Exercise” of Health Qigong•Wu Qin Xi strengthens the waist and kidneys through the left-twisting & side-bending and right-twisting & side-bending movements of the waist which stretch the vertebral column and muscles in the waist and back. It is believed in traditional Chinese medicine that: “Waist is the container of kidneys”. In the “Chui” of Health Qigong•Liu Zi Jue, the vocalization of “Chui” during the knee-bending and crouching movement will expel the turbid Qi of the kidneys and regulate the viscera. “Moving the Hands down the Back and Legs, and Touching the Feet to Strengthen the Kidneys” of Health Qigong•Ba Duan Jin strengthens the kidneys and waist through limb movements.

To sum up, all “seven emotions” have important connections with the internal organs of the human body. The “seven emotions” are normal emotional signs of man and do not induce diseases under normal circumstances. And they actually play an important role in maintaining the normal physiological functions of the human body. But over-excitation which exceeds the normal range of regulation of the human body will result in diseases. Exercises of Health Qigong are mainly featured by: Body regulation, breath regulation, and mind regulation. Body regulation is the basis for breath regulation and mind regulation, while mind regulation is the core of the “Three Regulations”. It provides good regulating effects on all the viscera. Therefore the “Three Regulations” have very good influencing, regulating, and controlling effects on the mental state and temperament of man. And the emotional changes of the “seven emotions” will in turn influence the results of Health Qigong exercise. Therefore it is of great importance and value to learn the “seven emotions” and maintain a normal state of the “seven emotions” during the practice of Health Qigong. By doing so we can gradually replenish the “three treasures” of body (essence, Qi, and spirit) to achieve sufficient essence, abundant Qi, and complete spirit and thus truly understand the essentials of health preservation, disease prevention, and body-building.

Reference: The Seven Emotions and Health Qigong jsqg.sport.org.cn

Understanding Vacancy and Serenity in Qigong

Xu Haipeng, Chen Yun

Health Qigong is a Chinese traditional sport integrating posture adjustment, breath adjustment, and mind adjustment. It is very good for both physical and mental health. Vacancy and serenity are the focus of mind adjustment of Health Qigong. For this sake, this paper discusses the knowledge and teaching methods of vacancy and serenity exercise on the basis of literature data and personal teaching experience.

What is Vacancy and Serenity?

First of all, vacancy and serenity is a mental state that must be maintained during the practice of Health Qigong. Good experience in vacancy and serenity plays an extremely active role in the improvement of mental health. The concepts about vacancy and serenity mainly come from ancient literature. For example, Xing Ming Gui Zhi says: “vacancy means keeping the mind empty, serenity means freeing the mind of any thought.” From this we can see that vacancy and serenity mainly refer to two aspects. Vacancy mainly means laying down everything on the mind and temporarily getting out of the complicated thoughts to enter a special exercising state. Serenity mainly means eliminating all kinds of distracting thoughts from the mind and avoiding sudden thoughts. And about the vacant and serene mental state, Xing Ming Gui Zhi also says: “turn a deaf ear to what you hear and blind eyes to what you see. Do not have any troubles on your mind. And you will be able to achieve vacancy. From this we can see that the exerciser of Health Qigong must keep a peaceful mind towards all kinds of external stimulation during the exercise, i.e. “do not get the mind perturbed”. Qi Bu Ming Shu Yao Ji says: “Forget your body and stay calm as if you are detached from everything. This is called vacancy.” It advises us to forget the body and gradually experience a vacant and detached mental state. And “Recover the spirit, swallow Qi, and stay still. This is called serenity.” This indicates that we should transfer the spirit from the outside into the body, focus on the experience in our own life, consciously regulate respiration, and keep a vacant and serene state of exercise.

Functions of Vacancy and Serenity

Xing Ming Gui Zhi says: “Once we achieve the ultimate vacancy and serenity, the essences will be naturally converted into Qi and Qi will be naturally converted into spirit.” From this we can see that “refining the spirit to recover vacancy” mainly means that the mind gradually experiences vacancy and serenity, i.e. the “ultimate vacancy and genuine serenity” mentioned by Lao Tzu. In this way we can exercise the essence, Qi, and spirit by practicing Health Qigong. In addition, Ting Xin Zhai Ke Wen also says: “When our heart becomes serene and our body reaches stability and we forget both motion and stillness, our three temples will ascend and descend naturally and our channels will be naturally smooth. The essence will be naturally converted into Qi, Qi will be naturally converted into spirit, and spirit will be naturally converted into vacancy.” This indicates that the spiritual and physical inaction will help us achieve “smooth channels”. From this we can see that vacancy & serenity does not mean simply doing nothing, but means “doing everything with inaction.” During the process of inaction, the latent functions of the body will be mobilized to cultivate and reinforce the healthy Qi, excite the immune mechanism of the body, and thus improve the immune functions.

Methods of Vacancy and Serenity Exercise

(I) Physical serenity

The serenity of the body is a basic method to realize vacancy and serenity of the heart. Aimless movements of the body during exercise are unfavorable for the serenity of thought. The serenity of the body does not simply mean physical stillness. It also requires the mind to control the body on purpose. The specific method is to keep the body straight through representation training. Have both shoulders, both hands, both hips, both knees, and both feet parallel to each other in order to maintain the harmony of the body.

(II) Thought replacement method

It was said in ancient times that: “The great Tao tells us to stop distracting thoughts in the first place. All efforts will be useless if we do not stop thoughts.” Generally speaking, during the practice of Health Qigong, one will not find himself surrounded by so many distracting thoughts until he is required to keep quiet and eliminate all distracting thoughts. Therefore the exerciser must use some methods to eliminate these distracting thoughts and thus realize the mental vacancy and serenity. Based on his own experiences in practice and in teaching, the author has summarized four methods.

Method 1: If the distracting thought is related to a certain matter, you can handle the matter first before practice. For example, if you cannot keep vacant and serene due to external stimulations during practice, you should timely settle these external stimulations before practice. If the matter cannot be timely handled, the exerciser may imagine all kinds of possible consequences of the matter, especially those worst ones. Do not spare your imagination so that you will find that even the worst result is not that bad. This will ease your mind.

Method 2: For some rational thoughts, you can use the natural way. For example, if a certain plan of work, certain methods in scientific research, or predictions of a certain matter come to your mind during practice, you could pause the exercise for a while and naturally follow these thoughts. Sometimes they may lead to the correct results. And you could resume the exercise once the mental burden is off.

Method 3: For some unclear distracting thoughts, you may try to analyze them with a matter-of-fact attitude. For example, when a distracting thought occurs, you can carefully analyze it to see if it originates from a specific object or position and to find out the possible source of this distracting thought. Through such objective analysis of the distracting thought, you will find it just a phantom which does not actually exist. In this way you will gradually and peacefully enter a vacant and serene mental state.

Method 4: When there are chaotic distracting thoughts, you may try to focus on the intervals between these thoughts. Zhong Yong says: “All emotions are intermittent.” When the previous thought disappears and the next thought is yet to come, the brain will often be vacant and serene. Grasping and feeling this short break will be very good for the exerciser to experience vacancy and serenity.

During the teaching of vacancy and serenity, the teacher should timely learn and understand the mental state of students and choose different teaching methods according to different distracting thoughts. But on the whole, we should let nature take its course. In other words we do not force ourselves to do anything in practice but progress bit by bit. In addition, when you start to practice Health Qigong, do not be hasty to move. You can first stand quietly for a minute to feel the vacant and serene state and try to make yourself calm. Then you will achieve double effects during practice.

Reference: Understanding Vacancy and Serenity in Health Qigong Exercise jsqg.sport.org.cn