How to Regulate Mind Effectively in Exercising Health Qigong

by Zhang Jun

Mind regulation is a critical point of Health Qigong distinguishable from other body movements and exercises. However, in practice, the so-called “exercise” mostly emphasized on how to meet the specifications of body movements and the mental and meditation regulations were forgotten, which undoubtedly may affect the interests and effectiveness of Health Qigong exercise and become a bottleneck of the practicers in improving their practicing levels to some extent. There are two reasons for this status: first, the instructors failed to clearly introduce the importance of mind regulation and caused the learners to pay less attention to this invisible mind regulation practice; second, the instructors failed to tell the learners about the approaches of mind regulation, the learners know that the mind regulation is important but lack of specific operating approaches, so they have to focus on the body regulation and breath regulation. How to regulate “mind” effectively in exercising Health Qigong? Hereby I would like to make a brief introduction to my individual knowledge and understanding.

First, the mind regulation is a gradual process, which must be achieved through intuitive understanding. China’s Daoyin, meridian and collateral theory and Indian yoga are discovered and invented by intuitive experience of life, and the western anatomy or cytology was unworkable. Japanese philosopher Yasuo Yuasa also stressed and pointed out that “the real knowledge cannot be obtained just relied on theoretical thinking but should obtain through the body’s understanding or comprehension ”. Therefore, the “mind regulation” process is understood through intuition. A Health Qigong practicer should have a different body and mind feeling after every exercise. This sort of body and mind feeling is a simple understanding, which has a good effect of unifying state of mind. Only through long-term practice of the exercising methods can we truly realize the inherent mystery of Health Qigong and can the life state be optimized continuously in the process of self-regulation. Inspired by the sentences of Zhuangzi • Da Zong Shi (Great and Venerable Teacher)that “staying out of the world; staying out of things; staying out of life; perceiving the light of dawn; seeing the oneness; staying out of past and present; seeing no life and no death”, I think that the mind regulation of Health Qigong should be a gradual process. Only through the tempers of “staying out of the world; staying out of things; staying out of life” can the realm of “perceiving the light of dawn” be achieved, that is to say, achieving a sort of peace and quiet, untamed and unblocked mental state through exercise.

Second, the mind regulation should pay attention to “reducing desires”. As early as over 2,000 years ago, Lao Zi said, “the man’s desires are insatiable; people are always chasing fame, interest and richness endlessly, which is not only unprofitable for the preciousness of life but results in moral hazard and loss of fortune and honor. Huai Nan Zi also stressed the importance of reducing desires on health and pointed out that, “remaining empty-minded, tranquil, detached and pleasant, while reducing appetites and desires”. Health Qigong, as an exercise emphasized on body and mind regulations, should reduce desires to play the best function of mind regulation. The “reducing desires” includes two aspects: first, the “ignoring the materials while emphasizing the life” should be achieved, don’t damage the value of your own life because chasing secular materialism, that would be ignoring what is near and seeking what is far away; second, the “being contented and knowing where or when to stop” should be achieved. In Lao Zi’s opinion, all disputes in the community were derived from the people’s “insatiable”. If a person is “insatiable”, he will inevitably ask for troubles; the person who is able to reduce desires can achieve the state of “staying out of the world”. The so-called “staying out of the world” means excluding everything in the world that can trigger all sorts of people’s desires, such as fame and fortune, etc. and achieve “cultivating mind and reducing desires”. Only when a person reduces his desires can he regulate mind to a state of “contented”. Thus it can be seen that, the practicers of Health Qigong exercise who want to regulate the mind effectively must first achieve a state of “staying out of the world” and reducing desires. In today’s complex society, only a person who does not pursue money, wealth, fame and status excessively can his body and mind obtain peaceful and create good conditions for deep-seated mind regulation.

Third, the mind regulation should achieve the state of “sticking to one principle”. “Neither using ears to listen nor using mind to think in treating outside interference” but using “empty-mind” to experience, thus to seek for learning from virtue and awaking to truth. Therefore, In the Broad and Sacred Teachingsof the Perfect Book of Dao and its Virtue (Daode Zhengjing Guangsheng Yi), Du Guangting reiterated that “one who cultivates his moral character should take his heart as the king and the internal organs as princes. If he enables the heart king to maintain tranquil, and adheres to truth and keeps the right way, the Qi of original essences of the universe will be incorporated into his body and converted into jade pulp and sweet dew therein.” That is to say, only by excluding the interference of external substances and achieving the state of “sticking to one principle” can one achieve the unity of essence, Qi and spirit and can the body’s vital functions be better adjusted, thus prolonging life and dispelling illnesses and strengthening health naturally. As a matter of fact, no matter what kind of Health Qigong exercise, no matter what sort of mind used, in the final analysis, is to help the practicers to exclude distracting thoughts and make the mind enter the state of “sticking to one principle”. However, this state of “sticking to one principle” does not occur in exercise every time, sometimes occurs occasionally, sometimes occurs frequently, although this situation is related with our own conditions and exercise environment, one thing is for sure that this state of “sticking to one principle” is an important goal of mind regulation in exercise, which is obtained through the practicers’ continuous trial and error and accumulation in practice and occurred in conscious exercise and unconscious circumstance. Only the “sticking to one principle” was achieved through the use of a variety of ideas that the mind regulation in exercise can achieve the desired goal.

Finally, the self-restraint and morality is the highest state of mind regulation.

The ancients said, the practicers must accumulate merits before exercise. Health Qigong exercise is a fashionable health-preserving exercise and a lofty moral self-restraint practice. Although the purposes and levels are different, the self-restraint and morality must be observed consciously. The weakling people do exercise for the sake of disease-preventing and body-building, the emotional disorders may lead to imbalances in internal organs and Qi and blood and make the body weaker and even lead to occurrence of diseases. People with certain practicing foundation have stronger regulation ability in mental activity than ordinary people, if the emotional disorders occurred due to bad self-restraint and morality, the suffering will be more serious than ordinary people. In the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Zhou Yu died due to his anger to Zhuge Liang, that’s the evil consequence triggered by rage. When the practice reached a higher level, the self-restraint and morality have become major practice contents, the practicers are required to maintain the mental balance, cool and refreshing moral nature and even lucid and unobstructed awareness. “If regarding this mental activity free from direct stimulus of external conditions as the exercise of self-control ability, the self-restraint and morality can be regarded as the exercise of mental activity self-control ability under the interference of external environment. Thus it can be seen that the self-restraint and morality are mind regulation, the extension of mind regulation in exercise, and the mind regulation at a higher level”. Hence, the good self-restraint and morality are essential for regulating the mind effectively and achieving the effect of physical and mental health.

Mind regulation is the key and core for practicing Health Qigong exercise. We should take the initiative and consciously enhance mental regulation to conform to the requirements of exercise and life harmonious movements, especially when the vacant and lucid mind of “transforming the outside world into oneself, transforming oneself into outside world, forgetting both the outside world and oneself, and unity of the outside world and oneself” is achieved through all sorts of endeavors, the good health effects of “long-lived, mind-nourishing and virtue-preserving” will be achieved naturally.

Reference: How to Regulate Mind Effectively in Exercising Health Qigong (pdf) images.sport.org.cn

Interpretation of Traditional Chinese Medicine Theory on Yi Jin Jing

By Zhang Wenchun, Bao Xiaolei

Health Qigong is the cultural treasure of Chinese nation, which was rooted in traditional Chinese culture and born out of the then cultural background. Viewing from historical origin, Health Qigong was based on the ancients’ cognition and mastering on human life and the regulation, control and exercise of human life activities on the basis of the ancient human view of life. Therefore, the movement arrangement of Health Qigong methods and practice skills of every gesture and motion follow the law of exercise physiology and reflect the understanding of traditional Chinese medicine on human life. Thus, the presentation of Health Qigong functions and methods and the interpretation of health effects are essentially related to traditional Chinese medicine theory.

Starting Form

The Starting Form is an important preparatory process for Health Qigong • Yi Jin JIng exercise, which enables the practicer to quickly enter the exercise state through “body regulation”, “ breath regulation”, and “mind regulation”.

Posture: stand with both feet together, set arms on the two sides of the body perpendicularly and naturally; slightly withdraw the chin, move up Baihui, close the lips and teeth, look right into the front and gently butt the tongue against the palate naturally. Relax the entire body, keep the whole body in an upright balance, breathe naturally, inward eyesight, and even-minded.

Both feet together can make Kidney Channel and Yinqiao Channel close together, have special effect on nourishing kidney-Qi and the lower limbs together; and set arms on the two sides of the body perpendicularly and naturally enable the Qi activity all over the body easily to form a whole.

Move up Baihui and slightly withdraw the chin enable the head to keep upright; at the same time, due to the lifting of Baihui, the cervical vertebrae is loosened naturally and has the trend of stretching upward, Qi of Du Channel also ascends; slightly withdraw the chin and make Qi of Ren Channel descends naturally. Butt the tongue against the palate is commonly known as “building the magpie bridge”, which is beneficial for the connection of Ren and Du Channels and urging the ascending and descending of Qi activity.

Inward eyesight makes spirit not get distracted but become even-minded, thus achieving “three-in-one” state of “body, Qi and mind”.

The First Routine: “Wei Tuo Presenting the Pestle 1”

The first routine begins transiting into dynamic state from static state at the starting form. Stand on open feet naturally to launch the smooth operation of Qi activity. At this time, the limbs are balanced and natural, the Qi and blood circulation are run smoothly without causing stagnation, which is beneficial for Qi of Channels running through the limbs.

Stretch out both arms and take back with bending elbows, relax shoulders, and form a vacant armpit simultaneously can mobilize the circulation of Qi through the three Yang channels and the three Yin channels of hand, thus to make Qi and blood circulation of hand smooth. Dabao Acupoint, the large splenic collateral, is located under armpit. Relax shoulders and form a vacant armpit can effectively relax this acupoint, thus playing a regulatory role in the collaterals of the whole body and facilitating the circulation of meridian Qi.

Both palms are closed in front of the chest and put at the same height of Danzhong Acupoint. It is believed in traditional Chinese medicine that Danzhong is one of the eight influential acupoints, which is the Qihui of the human body and has the effect of regulating the flow of Qi and soothing the nerves. Put the palms together in front of the chest can calm Qi and gather the spirit and equalize the right and left Qi activity of the body.

The Second Routine: “Wei Tuo Presenting the Pestle 2”

This routine further regulates the three Yin channels and the three Yang channels of hand through the extending of upper limbs and the pushing-outward movement of both arms, as well as smooth Qi of heart and lung, improve respiratory function and strengthen the blood and Qi circulation through chest extending.

It is believed in traditional Chinese medicine that, the heart governs blood vessels, the heart controls the blood to be transfused to the vessels, if there is plenty of blood and the blood circulation is normal, a ruddy complexion is shown, the pulse is gentle and powerful, and the chest is comfortable. Therefore, this posture has very good effects on heart and chest diseases, such as blood circulation blocked, precordium depressed mainly caused by stasis of blood and Qi and etc.

The lung governs Qi and manages respiration. As Su Wen: Wu Zang Sheng Cheng said, “lung governs all Qi”. The lung not only breathes the air of nature, but also takes charge of Qi of the entire body, participates in the generation of Zong Qi, and regulates the ascending, descending, incoming and outgoing of Qi inside the body; moreover, all vessels converge in the lung, so the lung has promotion acts on blood circulation and blood compresses. Therefore, stretching, extending and pulling the chest is conducive to the chest and lung exercise, thus enhancing the physiological function of the lung and effectively relieving chest stuffiness and heart palpitation and other symptoms.

As the limbs are the starts or ends of the channels, the pushing-outward movement of both arms in this routine requires applying strength to the fingertips, and the wrist sits and standing palms require gripping the ground with toes, thus to fully mobilize Qi of the twelve regular channels.

The Third Routine: “Wei Tuo Presenting the Pestle 3”

This routine regulates Qi of triple energizer through lower limbs heel-lifting and upper limbs raised up. “Triple energizer” is a term of traditional Chinese medicine, which has the following two meanings:

One means the “triple energizer” of six Fu viscera that is distributed in a large organ of the chest and abdomen. As it does not match with five Zang organs, it is also known as “solitary residence”, hollow and with a cavity therein. As Lei Jing • Zang Xiang Lun said, “But among 12 organs, only the triple energizer is the only one which is unparallel, so it is called solitary residence. Namely, outside zang and fu organs and inside the body, triple energizer covers all the organs and serves as the big residence in the body cavity.” Nan Jing • Liu Shi Liu Nan said again, “The vigour of the triple that also, the main traffic: don’t three gas, experience in the derrnatopathy. Triple energizer is the special messenger of vitality; it mainly functions to run three qis and travel in five zang- and six fu-organs.” The triple energizer facilitates the primordial Qi circulation and transfer the water and fluid. The ascending, descending, incoming and outgoing of Qi and the transport and discharge of body fluid are dependent on the smoothness of the triple energizer. The triple energizer comes from kidney system, connects to the lung upward, and between exterior and interior. The rise and fall of all upper and lower organs are controlled by the triple energizer and all exterior and interior Qi enter and exit via the triple energizer. The triple energizer are same as the striae, its operational primordial Qi and body fluid flow outward into the striae, make the skin moistened, and maintain the body air exchange with the outside world.

The other purely means the parts of the body. The upper energizer refers to the parts above diaphragmatic muscles, including the chest, head, upper limbs, heart and lung and so on; the middle energizer refers to the parts below diaphragmatic muscles and above navel, including the upper abdomen, spleen and stomach, liver and gall and so on; the lower energizer refers to the part below navel, including the lower abdomen, kidney, bladder, small intestine, large intestine and so on.

The understanding of the triple energizer herein contains the aforesaid two meanings, the practicer raises up both hands and supports by the tops of the feet to apply strength to the four limbs, which not only can facilitate Qi circulation of triple energizer channel of Shaoyang, but also stretch and pull the cavity of the triple energizer to launch Qi of Shaoyang and promote Qi and blood circulation. At the same time, the massage is applied on its corresponding zang and fu through stretching to stimulate Qi of five Zang organs and enhance the zang and fu functions.

As the three Yang channels and the three Yin channels of hands and feet are distributed in the upper and lower body limbs, the three Yang channels and the three Yin channels of feet are distributed in the front and back of the trunk and Ren and Du Channels are running above the trunk, and the strength is applied to the limbs, so that Qi can be run through the whole body, and thus well regulating the fourteen channels of the human body and the collaterals, tendons and skins associated.

In the movement, imagine that you are gazing the palms through “heavenly gate”, get well-coordinated between spirit and form, and integrate Qi activity into a whole.

The Fourth Routine: “Plucking a Star and Exchanging a Star Cluster”

The routine contains more waist and arm rotation, so that the waist can get plenty of exercise through transition from Yang palm to Yin Palm (palm down) and coordination of waist twisting.

It is believed in traditional Chinese medicine that, the waist is the vessel of the kidney and the kidney is congenital foundation, a place for storage of congenital essence and congenital Qi that plays a key role in human growth and reproductive development. Through waist twisting and body Daoyin, as well as using consciousness, concentrating on posture, looking at the center of the palm, concentrating the mind on waist Mingmen and giving consideration to the top and bottom, lowering genuine Qi given off to the waist, kidney and Mingmen, this routine can stimulate and inspire Yang Qi and achieve the effects of strengthening the waist and kidney.

The routine requires twisting with shoulders driven by waist and arms driven by shoulders, applying strength to Mingmen and facilitating genuine Qi. As ancient people said, “the force is originated from the feet, dominated by the waist and formed at the limbs”, the waist relaxing can promote Qi and blood circulation and thus ensuring the functions dominated all activities of the entire body.

The Fifth Routine: “Pulling Nine Cows by Their Tails”

The routine drives the movements of shoulder blades while twisting the waist, which fully stimulates the acupuncture points of multiple zang and fu on the bladder meridian of foot Taiyang on the back and Jiaji Acupoint andextra nerve points. Jiaji Acupoint is a 0.5 inch acupoint lateral to the posterior midline at both sides below the first thoracic vertebrae to the fifth thoracic vertebrae spinous process of the human back, there are 17 points on the right and left, totally 34 points. It has extensive therapeutic range: the upper chest point treats cardiopulmonary diseases; the lower chest point treats spleen, stomach, liver and gall diseases; waist point treats waist abdomen and lower limb diseases. This routine exercise can effectively stimulate Jiaji and other acupoints, thus playing a very good regulation for the human zang and fu organs. On the whole, this routine contains larger amplitude of chest exercise, thus effectively stimulating Feishu and Xinshu Acupoints, having better regulation and exercise functions on heart and lung and playing better effects on prevention and control of cardiopulmonary diseases.

In addition, this routine drives the shoulders by waist, drives arms by shoulders, applies strength to the bladders through coordinated activities of the limbs and pulls fascia and meridians by rotating and stretching, thus promoting meridians and collaterals and Qi activities and regulating zang and fu functions.

The Sixth Routine: “Showing Claws and Wings”

Through a series of Daoyin movements such as arm-stretching, palm-pushing, arm-bending, palm-withdrawing, shoulder-spreading, and chest-extending, this routine enhances the lung function by smoothing Qi of chest and lung. It is believed in traditional Chinese medicine that, the lung has the physiological function of mastering Qi and managing respiration. Su Wen • Liu Jie Zang Xiang Lun also said, “The lung is the foundation of Qi”. The lung masters Qi of the entire body, the pulmonary respiratory movement can guide the opening, closing, incoming and outgoing of Qi of the entire body. Yunmen and Zhongfu Acupoints are the important acupoints of lung channel, which are located in the chest and adjacent to the lung. This routine repeatedly opens and closes Yunmen and Zhongfu Acupoints to purge the pulmonary Qi through palm-pushing and arm-spreading, thus to promote the intersection and fusion of natural air and genuine Qi inside human body and guide the opening, closing, incoming and outgoing of Qi of the entire body. In addition, Zhongfu Acupoint is where the middle-energizer Qi gather and also the front-Mu point of the lung, the gather place of Qi, Qi of the lung, and spleen and stomach are integrated in this acupoint. Thus, the exercise of this routine enables the interior and exterior Qi to well communicate.

The mental activities for the movements of palm-pushing and palm-withdrawing in this routine, the palm-pushing is required to be firstly gentle as pushing the window and then provided with overwhelming force; the palm-withdrawing is required to be as the ebb tide of seawater, for the sake of realizing coordinated form and spirit through mental Daoyin and guiding the opening, closing, incoming and outgoing of Qi of the entire body. The same goes for exhaling naturally when pushing the palm and inhaling naturally when withdrawing the palm. The lotus leaf palm (straighten and open the five fingers) when pushing the palm and willow leaf palm (straighten and gather together the five fingers) when withdrawing the palm to Yunmen are the effective ways for guiding opening and closing of Qi.

The Seventh Routine: Nine Ghosts Drawing Saber

This routine contains more body twisting and stretching and larger amplitude of back-pulling and withdrawing and twisting, therefore, the exercise positions are more extensive, especially the spinal stretching exercise. Beishu Acupoints of the five zang viscera and the six fu viscera are distributed on the bladder meridian of foot Taiyang on both sides of spinal column of the back. All the Beishu Acupoints are distributed on the first lateral-line of the bladder meridian of foot Taiyang of the back, namely, 1.5 inch lateral to the posterior midline (Du Channel). Beishu Acupoints of zang and fu organs basically correspond to the corresponding zang and fu location, e.g. the locations of the five Beishu Acupoints including Feishu, Xinshu, Pishu, Shenshu is up or down corresponding to the locations of the relevant internal organs. For example, the lung is at the highest position in the five internal organs, thus Feishu Acupoint is at the highest position in Beishu Acupoints of five internal organs; the kidney is at the lowest position, so the Shenshu is at the lowest position accordingly. Beishu Acupoints are the parts for the essence and Qi of the five zang viscera and the six fu viscera to be infused into the body surface and important acupoints for regulating functions of zang and fu organs and inspiring healthful Qi of the human body.

This routine mobilizes Qi activity of zang and fu organs and guides the opening and closing of genuine Qi of the entire body through body twisting and stretching movements especially by dint of Beishu Acupoints, thus to make the functional activities of the five zang viscera and the six fu viscera coordinated and orderly and make the ascending and descending of Qi smooth. The previous routine (“Showing Claws and Wings”) emphasizes on the opening, closing, incoming and outgoing of Qi, while this routine and the next routine (“Three Plates Falling on the Floor”) emphasize on the ascending and descending of Qi.

Through neck twisting and back twisting and stretching, this routine exercise effectively stimulates important acupoints like Yuzhen and Jiaji and contributes to the smooth of Du channel Qi activity.

The Eighth Routine: “Three Plates Falling on the Floor”

This routine contains larger amplitude of lower limb activities and requires upper limb to coordinate accordingly, so as to regulate the internal Qi activity with ascending and descending movements of the body.

It is believed in traditional Chinese medicine that, Qi can be divided into four basic modes of motion: ascending, descending, incoming and outgoing. The ascending, descending, incoming and outgoing of Qi are essential for human life. The human body’s congenital Qi, Qi from water and cereals and clear Qi inhaled from the nature must be spread throughout the body by ascending, descending, incoming and outgoing to play their physiological functions. The physiological activities of the human body’s zang and fu organs, channels and collaterals, forms and orifices must be done by depending on the movements of Qi. Su Wen • Liu Wei Zhi Da Lun said, “If incoming and outgoing cease, then the transformation of the shen-spirit dies out; if ascending and descending are no more, then Qi becomes isolated and in danger. Therefore, if there is no incoming and outgoing, then there is nothing that gives birth, grows, becomes strong, grows old, or dies; if there is no ascending and descending, then there is no generation, growth, transformation, collection, or storage.” which shows the importance of Qi activity for human life. This routine appears three ups and three downs and gradually increases the squat strength to harmonize Qi activity of zang and fu organs, ascend and descend accordingly, descend Qi of heart and lung, ascend Qi of liver and kidney, appropriately hinge Qi of spleen and stomach, thus promoting the intersection of heart and kidney, the smoothness of Qi activity of liver and lung, and the steady ascending and descending of spleen and stomach.

This routine regulates internal Qi activity during the process of rise and fall of the movements, exhales turbid Qi and inhales clear Qi from the nature, completes air exchange with the nature, and facilitates the strengthening of physiological activities in the human body.

This routine fully utilizes the strength of the limbs. The palms are just as if bearing heavy loads when squatting and just as if raising a very heavy weight when lifting the body, which has the function of strengthening internal Qi. It is believed in traditional Chinese medicine that, the spleen governs the limbs, so the exercise of the limbs can strengthen the spleen function. In addition, the sound “Hai” is pronounced simultaneously when doing squatting position, so as to lower Qi to Dantian through sound guiding Qi.

The Ninth Routine: “Black Dragon Displaying Its Claws”

“Black Dragon” in the name of this routine is one of four direction gods in ancient China, which is located in the east. It is believed in traditional Chinese medicine that, the liver is subsumed to wood in the five elements, which fits for the east on the direction and fits for black on the color, thus this routine is mainly designed for the liver.

It is believed in traditional Chinese medicine that, the liver governs free coursing and stores blood, is the unyielding viscus and the organ of general that has vigorous nature, aversion to depression and preference for free development and smoothness. This routine is based on the physical characteristics of the liver to facilitate the alternate tightening, relaxing, opening and closing of both flanks through turning-back, right and left claw-displaying and forward-bending movements of the body. From the channels and collaterals of traditional Chinese medicine point of view, the liver meridian is distributed in the flanks, so the exercise of the flanks can have the effect of soothing the liver, regulating the flow of Qi and lighting the emotion.

Viewing from the relationship between the liver and the body, it is believed in traditional Chinese medicine that, the liver is closely connected with the tendons. The right and left claw-displaying of this routine enables the tendons to be fully stretched, which is conducive to the exercise of liver channel and enhance its physiological function. The movement requires the eyesight follows the “claw”, the mind concentrates on the center of the “claw”, thus making spirit concentrate on posture and Qi follow the posture to guide the stretching and circulation of liver Qi.

In this routine, both fists are clenched and thrust alternately affixed to Zhangmen Acupoint, which can play the effects of stretching spleen earth by dint of liver Qi. Zhangmen Acupoint is the acupoint of liver channel, the influential point of viscera of the eight influential points, the front-mu point of spleen, and the gather place of vital essence of the spleen. As “the five zang organs are endowed with the spleen”, the spleen is the postnatal foundation and source for the production and transformation of essence, Qi, blood and body fluid. Thus, this routine withdraws the fist at Zhangmen after turning the body, right and left claw-displaying, converts the spleen earth by dint of free coursing and free development of liver Qi, and strengthens the physiological functions of source for the production and transformation of Qi and blood of spleen and stomach.

The Tenth Routine: “Tiger Springing on Its Prey”

The movement of this routine contains larger activity strength, the limbs, trunk, waist, back and neck are required to have corresponding coordinated movements. This posture imitates the state of tiger springing on its prey, not only imitates its form but also catches its expression. From the perspective of the Channel Theory of traditional Chinese medicine, the movement of bending with contra-arch waist and back has very good stretching exercise effect on Ren Channel of the human body. Ren Channel belongs to one of the eight extra channels. It starts from Baozhong and comes out from perineum, extends the midline of chest and abdomen to throat, passes through the cheek and enters the infraorbital region. Ren Channel is the sea of Yin channels, which commands Qi of Yin channels of the whole body. This routine allows Ren Channel to be stretched and nourished through posture of tiger pouncing, body titled backward, stretching of chest and abdomen, and then further harmonizes channel qi of three Yin channels of hands and feet.

From the perspective of zang and fu organs, this routine contains waist and back arching and chest and abdomen stretching movements, thus having a better massage effect on the five zang and six fu organs and with the features of regulating zang and fu organs functions on the whole. In addition, the movement of “springing on its prey” is required to set on the ground with “tiger claw”, and gradually slump the waist, square the shoulder, raise the head and make the eyes glare to embody the power of the tiger, so as to stimulate the free development of liver Qi and regulate Qi activity through free coursing of liver Qi. This routine contains larger intensity of waist exercise, which can strengthen waist and kidney, improve activity functions of the waist and leg muscles, and strengthen waist and leg.

The Eleventh Routine: “Bowing Down in Salutation”

This routine focuses on forward-bending and backward-stretching movements. In forward-bending, the spinal column from the neck stretches and bends forward like a hook; in backward-stretching, the caudal vertebra stretches upward segment by segment. Therefore, this routine has good exercise effect on the spinal column. It is believed in traditional Chinese medicine that, the spinal column is the main running route of Du Channel. Du Channel starts from Baozhong and comes out from perineum, passes through coccygeal and ascents along spinal column, enters into the brain when arrives at Fengchi Acupoint at the back of the neck, passes through the top of the head, forehead, nose along the midline of the head and ends at Yinjiao Acupoint. Du Channel governs Qi of Yang channels of the whole body, has a regulation effect on Qi and blood of Yang channels of the whole body, hence it is also known as the “sea of Yang channels”. This routine has strong pertinence, focusing on exercise of spinal column to achieve the effect of dredging Du Channel. The smoothness of Du Channel of spinal column can mobilize channel Qi of the whole body, full of Yang qi and energy, thus achieving good effect of improving physical fitness.

The movements of waist bending and forward-bending of this routine effectively stretch the bladder meridian of foot Taiyang, which not only facilitates the dredging of channel Qi of the back and the lower limbs, but also has certain prevention and control functions on various kinds of zang-fu and lower limb diseases.

The body-bending movement of this routine has very good compression and massage effects on abdomen and can enhance the spleen and stomach functions and prevent digestive system diseases. This routine reinforces the waist exercise and plays the function of strengthening waist muscles, reinforcing the kidney and consolidating the renal essence. Its “sounding the heavenly drums” movement stimulates neck acupoint behind the head, which has the effects of awaking the brain, improving hearing and eliminating brain fatigue.

The Twelfth Routine: “Swinging the Tail”

This routine stresses on the exercise of waist Mingmen and coccygeal, guides Qi activity of the whole body stretched in the movements of the aforesaid routines back to Dantian. This routine utilizes Mingmen to extrude towards Dantian of lower abdomen by body forward-bending and waist-slumping, thus to guide Qi back to Dantian; as well as regulates Ren and Du channels by head-lifting and swinging the tail towards the right and left; and guides Qi activity of the whole body back to Dantian by looking into the coccygeal and coordination of the head and the tail, and thus playing a role of enriching the primordial Qi and reinforcing the healthful Qi. Qi of the whole body becomes abundant and fluent due to plentiful Qi of Ren and Du channels, thus making the entire body inspired and refreshed after exercise.

Closing Form

The purpose of the closing form is to further regulate Qi activity surged by exercise and guide Qi back to Dantian. The movements of the closing form are leisurely to make Qi go back to Dantian of the lower abdomen through upward closing and downward guiding movement of the upper limbs. After the first and second times of both hands collecting and guiding Qi downward to the abdomen, the mind should be used to continue to guide Qi to descend through Yongquan Acupoint of the centers of feet and downward to the ground, thus to balance Qi activity of the whole body, and the last time of both hands collecting and guiding Qi downward to Dantian of the abdomen, the mind should follow the movements of both hands. Hold mind concentration for a while and make Qi go back to Dantian, so that the whole body can enter serenity and relaxation, clam Qi and keep the spirit serene, the exercise is ended.

Reference: Interpretation of Traditional Chinese Medicine Theory on Health Qigong • Yi Jin Jing jsqg.sport.org.cn

Books:
Yi Jin Jing: Tendon – Muscle Strengthening Qigong Exercises Chinese Health Qigong Association
ISBN 1848190085

Qigong, the Secret of Youth: Da Mo’s Muscle/tendon and Marrow/brain Washing Classics by Yang Jwing-Ming
ISBN 1886969841

Three Episodes of the Exhalation and Vocalization of Liu Zi Jue

Zhang Caiqin; Inner Mongolia Normal University

Liu Zi Jue is a Qigong fitness exercise with respiration and Tuna as the major methods which are assisted by simple Daoyin movements. It is focused on combination of the thought with slow and smooth movements and soft, even, and long exhalation and vocalization. “The thought is contained in Qi and in form”. “Containing the thought in Qi” does not mean completely focusing the thought on respiration. Instead we should use a little thought exhaling the breath and stay focused on the related viscera and channels. For example, while vocalizing “Xu”, we do not use thought but still know clearly that we are vocalizing the sound and exhaling the breath. Exhalation dominates this exercise and Daoyin assist the exhalation. The Daoyin movements play an important role in assisting the exhalation. Whether the movements of the limbs are relaxed, soft, gentle, and slow has a direct influence on the results of exhalation. If the body and the mind fail to get fully relaxed, the internal Qi will not run smoothly and exhalation will not result in the expected effects. Through long-term practice of Liu Zi Jue exhalation and limb movements, the practicer will advance from exhalation-vocalization to exhalation-slight vocalization and then to exhalation-no vocalization. The respiration state will change from the wind phase to the Qi phase and then to the resting phase, so that respiration and Tuna are combined with the thought and the mind and thus influence the blood and Qi circulation in various viscera. According to the progress that the practicer has made and the presence of vocalization, we divide the practicing process of Health Qigong•Liu Zi Jue into three stages, namely vocalizing exhalation, slightly-vocalizing exhalation, and non-vocalizing exhalation.

Vocalizing Exhalation

In the practice of this exercise, the beginner cannot meet the requirements on smooth, soft, gentle, and slow limb movements and the though and mind are scattered and prevented from being serene. And the internal Qi is blocked in the viscera and difficult to be connected. Therefore the practicer has to vocalize during exhalation. The sound is required to be “deep, vibrative, and penetrating”. Exhalation & vocalization is characterized in that: The sound is created by vibration in the chest and the breath is blocked in the diaphragm. Below are its purposes: First, it is used to standardize the mouth shape. Second, if no sound is created during exhalation in this stage, the breath will be retarded by the chest cavity and the diaphragm and easily cause chokes. Vocalization during exhalation can vibrate the chest cavity and the diaphragm and distribute the air currents in all parts of the chest viscera. This will both promote the movements if the internal viscera and prevent the suffocating feeling by dispersing the breath. Third, the VF oscillation of vocalization will enhance the depth of respiration and raise the vital capacity.

Health Qigong•Liu Zi Jue requires nose-in and nose-out natural respiration in addition to the noise-in and mouth-out reverse abdominal respiration. During the inhalation of reverse abdominal respiration, the abdominal muscles will extract and the abdominal wall will slightly indent to reduce the volume of the abdominal cavity. Qi inside Dantian will be lifted from the lower abdomen to the chest cavity and the clean air from the outside will be drawn in by the noise. The internal and external Qi will be interchanged and merged in the chest. During the exhalation, the abdominal muscles are relaxed and the abdominal walls are lumped to increase the volume of the abdominal cavity. The exchanged turbid air is exhaled through the mouth and the nourished internal Qi is returned to Dantian. The beginner does not have to make a choice on purpose during the vocalization and exhalation and will unconsciously take reverse abdominal respiration. This is because: The sounding force created by vibration in the chest cavity and the natural force that lumps the abdominal wall during exhalation are both outbound. Therefore reverse abdominal respiration will naturally be more comfortable. If obverse respiration is used, the sounding force created by vibration in the chest cavity is outbound and the contracting force of the abdominal muscles is inbound. The practicer will feel uncomfortable. Whenever we feel mentally nervous, get depressed, or use force suddenly, we will usually take deep breaths, which are exactly reverse abdominal respiration. While the beginner is practicing, the natural respiration is basically in the wind phase which is characterized by: The breast will rise and fall. The wings of the nose will close and open with small amplitude. The breath is a little short, shallow, and rapid. Therefore the respiration will cause ventilation which makes the trachea and nostrils feel blocked, and the breath will be heavy and uneven, giving out sound from time to time.

By using various mouth shapes during exhalation, the beginner can create various shapes and positions of the lips, tongue, teeth, and throat, which result in various levels of internal pressure on the chest cavity and promote the blood and Qi circulation in local parts of the human viscera. Since the breath is retarded in the chest diaphragm and has little influence on the abdominal cavity, it cannot regulate the circulation of Qi in the corresponding viscera in an orderly way or systematically participate in the dredging of channels in the viscera. But it still provides the following effects. First, the six mouth shapes for vocalizing exhalation will from different routes and movement patterns for the breath and have different effects on the corresponding viscera. But since the sound is caused by vibration in the chest cavity, some of the effects of breath in the viscera will be hindered. Second, vocalization will result in different vibrations in the viscera in the chest cavity and thus stimulate Zang viscera such as the heart and lungs. Third, reverse abdominal respiration will not only facilitate the exchange between congenital Qi and postnatal Qi, but also kind of massage the internal organs. This will particularly improve the functions of the intestines and the stomach. Fourthly, the Daoyin of limb movements will lubricate the joints, relax the tendons, and promote blood circulation. Therefore by practicing vocalizing exhalation, the beginner can generally experience the rehabilitating and health-preserving effects of Liu Zi Jue.

Today, some schools of Liu Zi Jue believe that vocalization provides quicker effects in clinical application than non-vocalization probably because clinical test objects are mostly beginners of Liu Zi Jue exercise, among which vocalization will definitely have more significant efficacy than non-vocalization. In the experiments performed by Health Qigong•Liu Zi Jue research team, the effects of different states of “Hu” on the mean muscle strength of the practicing population were observed and results showed that the mean gripping strength of the vocalization group if greater than that of the non-vocalization group. This was also because the test objects were mostly Liu Zi Jue beginners. Such results were inevitable. It may take years to experience vocalizing exhalation. We need to carefully reflect on this exercise in order to gradually advance to the slightly-vocalizing exhalation stage.

Slightly-Vocalizing Exhalation

As you gradually make progress, you will understand the keys to the exercise and become slow, relaxed, smooth, and gentle with your movements. You will be able to lower your shoulders and elbows, shrink the chest, straighten the back, relax the waist, and hold back the buttocks. And you will feel as if your Baihui is being lifted. Your mind and thought will be relaxed and at ease while having the slightly-vocalizing exhalation. It is characterized in that: The exhaling sound involves little vibration of the chest cavity. The breath will be less impeded by the chest diaphragm and some of the breath will be able to penetrate the diaphragm and reach the abdomen. Six different breaths will create different levels of pressure on the chest and abdomen in order to regulate the blood and Qi in the corresponding viscera. Due to the attenuated vocalization, the vibration in the chest cavity is reduced and the effect of breath on the functions of these viscera is enhanced. Therefore

The respiration state of slightly-vocalizing exhalation belongs to the Qi phase: During respiration, the chest moves up and down with a small amplitude. The air receives little resistance from the trachea and the nostrils. The breathing sound can barely be heard. The breath is not retarded but it is neither silent nor soft. As you continue to make progress, both the body and mind will be completely relaxed during exercise. In particular, the chest will begin to feel loose and hollow and become free of constraint by anything. The internal Qi in Dantian in the lower abdomen will gradually become full and unblocked. The slightly-vocalizing exhalation will gradually change into non-vocalizing exhalation or, before you know it, enter an even, soft, gentle, and long breathing state.

Non-Vocalizing Exhalation

During the exercise, you will completely meet the requirements on interior and exterior relaxation of the entire body, such as lowering the shoulders and elbows, drawing in the chest, straightening the back, relaxing the neck muscles, and lifting the head. You will completely understand the true meaning of Liu Zi Jue and begin to practice automatically. The mind and spirit will be free from pre-occupation, serene, and at ease. The exhalation will be soundless. It is characterized in that: The chest cavity will be free of vibration. The breath will no longer be retarded by the diaphragm. “Exhale softly, inhale slowly, stay between consciousness and unconsciousness, and remain continuous and unbroken”. The six different breaths can regulate the blood and Qi circulation in corresponding viscera in an orderly manner, systematically participate in the dredging of channels in the viscera, and thus achieve the rehabilitating and health-preserving effects of Liu Zi Jue. And this is also the key to this exercise which “regulates and controls the ascending, descending, outgoing, and incoming breaths in the body through specific pronouncing mouth shapes during respiration and Tuna” and thus “regulates the balance of Qi activity between corresponding viscera”. Therefore, “breath rather than sound is the key to the exhalation of Liu Zi Jue”.

During the exercise, the brain is free of worries and the mind is free of anxiety. It feels as if something that has been pending and entangling in your heart for a long time is suddenly removed from your chest, relieving your mind as if relieving yourself of a heavy burden. Even, soft, gentle, and long breath runs throughout the entire exercise to help you enter a respiration state of the resting phase. During the respiration, the chest and the nose wings barely move and you will only feel the abdomen moving up and down. Therefore the breath will be deep, long, gentle, and slow. You will not feel any resistance in the trachea or the nostrils. The breath will naturally be soft, fine, even, and continuous. The mind and the breath will be interdependent and no breathing sound will be heard. At this point the breath will regulate itself even if you do not try to regulate it. Only the “resting phase” is the optimal state of well-regulated breath. And it is also the requirement and purpose of breath regulation exercise. Some breathing Qi can directly reach the lower abdomen and mix up with the internal Qi in Dantian. At the same time, you need to “assist the respiration with smooth and slow ascending, descending, opening, and closing movements around the navel. The opening and closing movements correspond to the opening and closing respiration of the internal Qi in Dantian and will further regulate the balance of internal Qi in the body.” In this way, the genuine Qi needed for the maintenance of the functions of the body will be partly transmitted through the lungs to every corner of the body and partly supplied by the internal Qi in Dantian. This will help us truly accomplish the objective of Liu Zi Jue to promote the communication and exchange between internal and external breaths through respiration and Tuna, and thus influence the internal Qi and functions of the corresponding viscera in the human body.

Reference: Three Episodes of the Exhalation and Vocalization of Health Qigong•Liu Zi Jue jsqg.sport.org.cn

Books:
Liu Zi Jue: Six Sounds Approach to Qigong Breathing Exercises (Chinese Health Qigong Associat)
by The Chinese Health Qigong Association
ISBN 1848190069

Liu Zi Jue in Regulating Emotions

Liu Zi Jue is a traditional fitness exercise with respiration and Tuna as the major approach. It is mostly characterized in that the mutual promoting, restraining, subjugating, and reverse-restricting effects of the Five Elements are used to enhance the functions of tissues inside the human body. Respiration and limb Daoyin are used to fully trigger and mobilize the potential of the viscera in order to resist the invasion by diseases, improve the immune functions of the organism, and prevent premature decline with the aging process.

Theory of the Five Elements and Its Application

The Theory of Five Elements refers to the motion of five substances namely Wood, Fire, Metal, Water, and Earth. The traditional philosophy of China holds that nothing is single or stationary and that all things maintain a balance in the never-ending mutual promoting and restraining movements between the five elements. This is the basic meaning of the Theory of Five Elements and a major embodiment of the ancient dialectical materialism of China.

The promotion between the Five Elements means that Wood promotes Fire, Fire promotes Earth, Earth promotes Metal, Metal promotes water, and water promotes Wood. The restraint between the Five Elements means that Wood restrains Earth, Earth restrains Water, Water restrains Fire, Fire restrains Metal, and Metal restrains Wood. Subjugation is forced submission to control. It means that one of the Five Elements is so suppressed by another element that a series of abnormal reactions are caused, such as Earth being subjugated by Wood. Reverse restriction is also known as reverse restraint. It means that one of the Five Elements is so strong that it restrains the element that originally restrains it, such as Metal being reverse-restricted by Wood.

According to the Theory of Five Elements, the five Zang viscera and the six Fu viscera of the human body respectively belong to these Five Elements. For example the liver belongs to Wood, the heart belongs to Fire, the spleen belongs to Earth, the lungs belong to Metal, and the kidneys belong to Water. The promotion, restraint, restriction, and conversion between the Five Elements are used to analyze the physiological functions of the viscera and channels of the organism and their mutual relations. The subjugating and reverse-restricting effects between the Five Elements are used to explain their mutual effects from a pathological point of view. Therefore, the Theory of Five Elements is not only considered as a theoretical basis for traditional Chinese medicine, but also used to direct the control and prevention of diseases in clinical practice.

How to Use Liu Zi Jue to Regulate Changes in Emotions

Emotions originate from the five Zang viscera. Just as there are physiological promoting and restraining relations and pathological subjugating and reverse-restricting relations between the five Zang viscera, these relations also exist between the emotions. Therefore the promotion, restraint, restriction, and conversion between emotions can be used to regulate the emotions and thus to control and prevent diseases.

Anger is the emotion of the liver which belongs to Wood; the corresponding word is “Xu”. In daily life we frequently see “silent fury” when people dare not express their anger. A depressed liver will give rise to pathogenic fire which, if not dissipated in time, will result in diseases. Hyperactivity of liver Yang will subjugate Earth, i.e. the spleen and stomach. In this case we have to calm the liver and the stomach. Therefore we can use “Xu” of Liu Zi Jue to purge the liver fire in order to calm the liver. If a “great rage” causes the liver Qi to ascend and agitate heart fire, we can vocalize “Xu” and “He” to quench the fire in the liver and the heart. This is called cause-effect simultaneous therapy.

Joy is the emotion of the heart which belongs to Fire; the corresponding word is “He”. Over-joy will impair the heart. I once encountered a patient whose came from Indonesia to China for the first time after 30 years of separation from his family. His daughter went to welcome him at a train station. As they met each other, the father came out due to over-joy and was immediately sent to our hospital for emergency rescue. The patient was diagnosed as having an acute myocardial infarction and after the emergency treatment, his conditions gradually became stable. This was a typical example of the heart being impaired by overwhelming joy. Therefore it is important that we do not get too excited by over-joy whatever happens. And once you find yourself having tachycardia or discomfort in the precordial region, you should stabilize your emotions and spell “He” to calm the overexcited mind.

Anxiety is the emotion of the spleen which belongs to Earth; the corresponding word is “Hu”. After the Butterfly Lovers Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai separated at the pavilion, Zhu Yingtai knew that a beautiful and satisfactory matrimonial connection was gone and missed Liang Shanbo day and night, and thus “lost all desire for food and drink”. This was a typical example of the spleen impaired by overwhelming anxiety. In our daily lives and a society filled with heated competition, we may lose appetite and have bad sleeps due to our overstrained nerves. This is also an example of the spleen impaired by anxiety which causes diseases in the long run. Under such circumstances, we can put more emphasis on the word “Hu” while practicing Liu Zi Jue. This is because “Hu” acts on the spleen. It regulates the spleen and stomach and improves the digestive function. In addition, restless sleep at night is caused by mother (spleen) diseases and the daughter (heart). Therefore we can also add some efforts to “He” and adopt the cause-effect simultaneous therapy.

Sorrow is the emotion of the lungs which belong to Metal; the corresponding word is “Si”. In A Dream of Red Mansions Lin Daiyu and Jia Baoyu failed to get married to each other and Lin Daiyu finally died of a lung disease and the resulting hemoptysis. This was a typical example of the liver being tortured by Metal. As an orphan girl, Li Daiyu loved Jia Baoyu but could not fight for their love. Therefore she was unhappy all day long. The depression and gloominess impaired her liver and caused liver stagnation. And the hyperactivity of fire in the liver impaired the lungs. The long-term stasis damaged her lungs and as a result she finally died of hemoptysis. Therefore when we encounter great grief and depression in daily life, we must stabilize our emotion and must not let it continue for a long time. In the practice of Liu Zi Jue, we should frequently spell “Si” in order to release the pathogenic Qi from the lungs and relieve the grief. If the grief is accompanied by silent fury, we can do extra “Xu” exercise in order to dispel the “reverse restriction” phenomenon and reduce the pressure caused by liver stagnation.

Terror is the emotion of the kidneys which belong to Water; the corresponding word is “Chui”. Terror impairs the kidneys. 20 years ago I knew a patient who lived on Floor 2 of a building. One day a fire broke out on the first floor. He jumped off Floor 2 to escape the fire emergency and broke his calcaneus. Later he developed urination disorder which led to uroschesis. Therefore we used indwelling catheter for urine drainage treatment. After combined traditional Chinese and western therapies and psychological counseling, we gradually relieved him of the terror and after a month’s treatment, the catheter was withdrawn and he gradually recuperated himself. This was a typical example of the kidneys being impaired by terror. The saying “he is terrified to urine” is an example of urinary incontinence caused by terror. Therefore if we encounter great terror in life, we should first stabilize our emotion and then spell “Chui” to gradually calm the terrified mind.

The above-mentioned five emotions frequently occur in daily life. In order to alleviate these symptoms and reduce the pressure caused by changes in these emotions, we can spell the Liu Zi Jue words corresponding to the target viscera for self-regulation. For example we can spell “Xu” for a liver disease or “He” for a heart disease in order to balance the unbalanced viscus. If your spleen is impaired by anxiety and your bad appetite causes heart fire to flare up, you can treat both viscera by spelling “Hu” (for the spleen) and “He” (for the heart) at the same time. This is also an application of the cause-and-effect simultaneous therapy. Once you have violent emotional changes, you should first calm your own emotions and spell Liu Zi Jue words. At the same time you should actively take psychological counseling and corresponding medications.

Matters to Be Noted about Using Liu Zi Jue to Regulate Emotional Changes

Liu Zi Jue is an exercise focused on purging. Therefore it should be used with caution on asthenic symptoms. But no all asthenic symptoms are unsuitable for this exercise. We can use the subjugation or reverse restriction mechanism to treat some symptoms. For example, if the deficient spleen and stomach are caused by hyperactivity of liver fire, we can use the liver-purging method by spelling “Xu” (for the liver) to restore the normal state of the spleen and stomach. In this case the subjugation method is used for treatment. If the liver affects the lungs and lungs become weak, we can also purge liver fire by spelling “Xu” (for the liver) in order to eliminate the root cause, regain balance, remove the pulmonary symptoms, and restore the normal functions.

While using Liu Zi Jue to control and prevent some diseases, we can use long exhalation and short inhalation to purge the excess. But we should put some limits on both the number of breaths and the amount of each breath and should not take excessive breaths. Therefore we need to gradually increase the number of breaths; otherwise the vital energy will be impaired.

During the regulation of emotional changes, Liu Zi Jue does have some effect on self-regulation. But it is not the only approach. Psychological counseling and necessary medication should also be used.

Reference: The Important Role of Health Qigong – Liu Zi Jue in Regulating Emotions jsqg.sport.org.cn

Books:
Liu Zi Jue: Six Sounds Approach to Qigong Breathing Exercises (Chinese Health Qigong Associat)
by The Chinese Health Qigong Association
ISBN 1848190069

Medical Qigong Bibliography

Here is a short list of 10 good medical qigong books:

  1. Chinese Qigong Outgoing-Qi Therapy” by Pengjun Zhong
  2. Chinese Qigong Therapy” by Zhang Mingwu
  3. Chinese Qigong” by Zhang Enqin
  4. Medical Qigong Exercise Prescriptions” by Suzanne B, L.Ac., Dmq (China) Friedman
  5. Practical Chinese Qigong for Home Health Care” by Ce Jin
  6. Qigong Essentials for Health Promotion
  7. Qigong for Treating Common Ailments: The Essential Guide to Self Healing” by Xu Xiangcai
  8. Self – Therapies for Common Diseases” by Li Hesheng
  9. Transmitting Qi Along the Meridian: Meridian Qigong” by Li Ding
  10. Treasured Qigong of Tradtional Medical School” by Huang Runtian

Qigong can cure almost every disease on earth if applied in the correct manner. Please remember to consult a physician in case of serious illness. I wish you good health, happiness and peace.

Invigorating the Kidney and Adjusting the Qi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ancient Poem of Universal Post

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

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

Essentials of Body Regulation of Health Qigong Exercise

Body regulation is a component of the Tree Regulations of Health Qigong and the foundation for the Three Regulations. 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, Qi will be scattered.”This indicates the importance of body regulation. Therefore, in Health Qigong exercise we should master the correct techniques and methods for body regulation. Below are the essentials of “body regulation” that I have learned from my exercising and teaching experience in Health Qigong.

1. Lifting and straightening the head and neck as if propping up something

The head is the controller of the entire body, as the saying goes: “man cannot walk without the head; birds cannot fly without wings” and “the coccygeal end should be straight and upright so that spirit can reach the top; the head should be suspended so that the entire body can be light.” Lifting and straightening the head is very important in body regulation. Different people have different methods for practicing this movement. As far as I am concerned, the circulation of genuine Qi will be facilitated as long as we slightly withdraw the chin and gently push up Baihui. Certainly, this should be done with a naturally relaxed neck and a naturally upright head. The up-pushing imagination of Baihui should be moderate. An excessive imagination will result in rigidity and an insufficient imagination will result in laxity.

2. Stretching Meixin

Meixin refers to the midpoint of the line connecting centers of both eyebrows. In the theory of traditional Chinese acupuncture, this place is called Yintang Acupoint which is mainly used to clear the brain, promote eyesight, dredge the nose, unblock the orifices, calm the spirit, and promote intelligence. In the theory of Qigong, Meixin belongs to the upper Dantian, as the ancient saying goes: “the upper Dantian is a vessel for the spirit”, and “the brain is the container of marrow and is referred to as the upper Dantian”. Therefore stretching Meixin is a very important warm-up step for us to enter the exercising state as quickly as possible.

3. Lowering the curtains to look inward

Lowering the curtains means keep the eyes half-open. Looking inward means to focus the attention on a certain place inside the body during the exercise. Looking inward helps eliminate distracting thoughts, purge the brain, achieve serenity, and maintain the spirit during Qigong exercise. It was believed by ancient people that eyes are passages for man’s spirit and all essences of the five Zang viscera are focused in eyes. By looking inward with both eyes during mind concentration, we can prevent the exuding of the spirit and concentrate our mind to facilitate serenity.

4. Butting the tongue against the palate

Butting the tongue against the palate can promote the secretion of saliva. Saliva is a treasure of the human body, as the saying goes “Qi is a life-prolonging drug and saliva is a health-promoting ganoderma”. Modern medical research has revealed that saliva secreted in the mouth contains oxidases and hormones needed by the human body and helps regulate the organism, promote digestion, and prevent cancer. Secondly, by slightly folding the tongue and gently butting it against the palate, we can form a so-called “Magpie Bridge” which connects Ren and Du Channels and facilitates the circulation of blood and Qi.

5. Wearing a smile on the face

Smiling is the best relaxing method. When a person smiles, the brain will enter an almost blank state free of distracting thoughts, which can release the person from a nervous state. Scientific experiments have proved that “smiling is the most effective method to relieve nervous emotions.” By removing the stress on the nerves, we can relax the muscles.

6. Lowering the shoulders and elbows

Lowering the shoulders and elbows means the practicer should relax and lower both shoulder joints and elbow joints in order to prevent nervousness of the shoulder joints, elbow joints, and surrounding muscles. By relaxing both shoulders and naturally lowering both elbows, we can promote the circulation of Qi in the three Yin and three Yang channels of hands.

7. Slumping the chest and straightening the back

This means relaxing and slightly slumping the chest without pushing it outward, and straightening the spinal column without tensioning it. This posture promotes the smooth circulation of blood and Qi in Ren and Du Channels. The chest should be naturally slumped so that the back is straight and upright. The body should be kept steady in order to facilitate the circulation of genuine Qi.

8. Relaxing the waist and abdomen

As the ancient saying goes: “the waist is the vessel for the kidney and the home for Mingmen. The abdomen is an oven for the smelting of Qi”. The waist and abdomen are critical gates for dredging channels and circulating Qi. Relaxing the waist and abdomen will facilitate the smelting and circulation of Qi, help us maintain an upright and straight coccygeal end, and keep unblocked Ren and Du Channels.

9. Withdrawing buttocks and relaxing knees

Withdrawing the buttocks can keep the spinal column straight and upright and facilitate the circulation of genuine Qi over the body; relaxing the knees can promote the circulation of Qi in the three Yin and three Yang channels of feet.

10. Gripping the ground with ten toes

Toes are where the three Yin and three Yang channels of feet meet each other. By gripping the ground with the ten toes, we can stimulate the related channels in the feet and regulate the functions of viscera to which they correspond. While practicing the stance, we should lay flat our feet and grip the ground with toes in order to stabilize the body and facilitate the ascent of genuine Qi.

11. Filling up the aperture and secluding the hearing

Filling up the aperture means gently closing the mouth rather than gritting your teeth and retracting the mouth. Secluding the hearing means keeping your hearing inside the body and isolating it from the outside world. Lao Zi says: “Fill up your apertures. Close your doors.”By slightly closing the mouth, we can return the hearing to our body to block out the external distractions and facilitate our serenity in exercise.

To sum up, the most fundamental keys to Health Qigong exercise are relaxation, serenity, and a natural way. And relaxation is the precondition and foundation for serenity and natural way. Here relaxation means both physical and mental relaxation. Body regulation facilitates serenity, spirit cultivation, and mind concentration. Following the abovementioned instructions on body regulation will be quite helpful for us to achieve serenity and enter the Qigong state as quickly as possible.

Reference: Essentials of Body Regulation of Health Qigong Exercise by Xia Xuewei Chinese Health QiGong Association jsqg.sport.org.cn

Trilogy of Health Qigong Exercise

In daily exercise, it’s easy to be found that a Health Qigong lover was still difficult tograsp the essentials of exercise even though he spent a lot of time in practicing and themain cause was due to his improper practice. I’ve often wondered how we can help theseimproper practicing lovers to grasp a kind of practicing technique, so that they can betterenjoy the pleasure brought by Health Qigong. I hereby recommend an approach for“trilogy” of Health Qigong exercise to everybody from the essential characteristics ofHealth Qigong and combined with years of teaching and practice experiment, hope that itcould enlighten the beginners and instructors.

I. Interpretation of “Trilogy” Exercise

What are the essential characteristics of Health Qigong? The definition of HealthQigong has given us a definite answer, namely Health Qigong is a traditional exercise ofour nation with body movements, respiratory Tuna (breathing in and out) and mentalregulation as the major forms of exercise. In accordance with the commonly used terms ofHealth Qigong, “body regulation” means “body movements”, “breath regulation” means“respiratory Tuna (breathing in and out)”, “mind regulation” means “mental regulation”, andthe essential characteristics of Health Qigong can be expressed as a heath preserving exercise with combination of “body regulation, breath regulation and mind regulation”, namely the unity and collaboration of “three regulations”. Further simplified, if used “form,breath, mind” to replace “body regulation, breath regulation and mind regulation”, theessential characteristics of Health Qigong can be further expressed as an exercise withcombination of “form, breath and mind” of the human. Accordingly, I proposed “trilogy” ofHealth Qigong exercise, namely practicing Health Qigong based on the sequence of“form-breath-mind”. The specific practicing contents and steps are shown in the following diagram:

  1. Form
  2. Form +breath
  3. Form +breath + mind

Schematic Diagram of “Trilogy” of Health Qigong Exercise (see original diagram in pdf file)

II. Sequence Analysis of “Trilogy” Exercise

(I) The first step exercise – form

As for the Health Qigong beginners, the first step of Health Qigong exercise is to master the practicing methods and essentials of the “form”. The “form” herein refers to body movements and adjustment of body posture, namely “body regulation”, which is the external manifestation of the movements.

The basic contents of the “form” mainly include three aspects. The first is the methods and the hand shape, such as the “tiger claw, deer horn and bird wings” in HealthQigong • Wu Qin Xi, the “dragon claw, tiger claw, lotus leaf palm, willow leaf palm” inHealth Qigong • Yi Jin Jing. As the saying goes, “clever in mind and skillful in hands”. Modern brain physiology research indicated that the hand reflex zone also accounted for alarge area in cerebral cortex reflex zone. The regular changes of the hand shape inexercise can effectively stimulate the hands’ different nerve muscles and enable thecerebral cortex to produce good adaptation variations. The second is the footwork and stances. The moving and transition of the gravity center of the body and the bodymovements are dependent on the changes of footwork and stances. The general requirement of the footwork is “walking with cat-like step” and changing agilely and flexibly.The third is the body methods, including “chest, back, waist, abdomen and hip”. The substance of the “emphasis on extension and rotation of spinal column” mentioned in the essentials of four Health Qigong exercises is the body methods.

Only when one has mastered the “form” methods and essentials can he “guide thewaist and body and exercise all the joints” to fight with aging. The Health Qigong beginneris sure to make great efforts to perform well at the first step, distinguish the movements’routines, directions, angles, vacancy and fullness, laxity and tightness, and achieve neatpostures and accurate methods, so as to lay a solid foundation for in-depth exercises inthe future.

(II) The second step exercise – form + breath

After being more fluent in essentials of the “form”, the practicers can start the secondstep and pay attention to the close coordination of body movements and breathing. If thefirst step is required to achieve “guiding the body into a soft state”, the second step shouldachieve “guiding Qi into a harmonious state”, to combine “body guidance” with “Qiguidance”, thus to achieve “coordination of form and breath”.

Generally speaking, the coordination between breathing and movements is based onrules of “ascending-inhalation and descending-exhalation, opening-inhalation andclosing-exhalation, accumulating-inhalation and releasing-exhalation, andtightening-inhalation and relaxing-exhalation”. For example, the “bird flying” movement inHealth Qigong • Wu Qin Xi, an inhalation is taken as the ascending of gravity center whenboth arms are lifted to complete the movement of “spread wings” and an exhalation istaken as the descending of gravity center when the knees are bended and both hands arefolded, that is the coordination of “ascending-inhalation and descending-exhalation”; the“showing claws and wings” movement in Health Qigong • Yi Jin Jing, an inhalation is taken when both hands are changed into willow leaf palms and erected in front of chest, thechest is expanded and the force is accumulated and an exhalation is taken when bothhands are changed into lotus leaf palms and reached forward and the force is released,that is the coordination of “accumulating-inhalation and releasing-exhalation”; the“Looking Backwards to Prevent Sickness and Strain” movement of Health Qigong • Ba Duan Jin, an inhalation is taken when “looking backwards” and the neck muscle is tightened and an exhalation is taken when “looking forward” and the neck muscle isrelaxed, that is the coordination of “tightening-inhalation and relaxing-exhalation”. In essence, the rules of coordination between breathing and movements are consistent, in general, it can be concluded as “opening-inhalation and closing-exhalation”,for example, for the “bird fly” movement, an inhalation is taken when the chest is expanded to complete the movement of “spread wings” and an exhalation is taken when the chest is folded to complete the movement of “folded wings”. Of course, the skillful coordination between breathing and movements requires a process, which cannot be achieved overnight. How can we achieve it? It shall start with the coordination between natural breathing and movements. Natural breathing is a way of breathing going on all the time around us. The practicers are required to slowly combine the movements withbreathing at the moment of natural breathing and breathe naturally with the changes inmovements. When the natural breathing and movements are coordinated skillfully, thebreathing will gradually become deep, slow, even and long, and then the effect of unifying state of mind is achieved to prepare for the third step exercise. If the natural rules ofcoordination between breathing and movements are violated to pursue unrealistic coordination, it may result in out-of-adjustment respiration, stubborn movements and even suffocation and fail to take effect.

(III) The third step exercise – form + breath + mind

If making distinction with overall exercise and decomposing exercise, the first andsecond steps can be considered as the decomposing exercises and the third step can beconsidered as the real overall exercise. The step-by-step principle is in line with the rulesand is also an important principle for performing well in Health Qigong exercise. Based onthis principle, the first and second steps are the precondition and foundation for the thirdstep and the third step is the goal and pursuit of the former two steps. Only when thecombination between body movements, respiratory Tuna (breathing in and out) andmental regulation was achieved can the essential characteristics of Health Qigong be trulyembodied, can the Health Qigong exercise enter the realm of integration of body and mindand the Health Qigong exercise obtain desired effect.

Whether it is the “form”, the “breath”, or the “form + breath”, both of them are “visibleand touchable”, and what’s going on about the invisible and formless “mental regulation”?How to fulfill the third step? We first need to figure out the essence and contents of thementality and the nature of consciousness. What’s the human’s mentality? Zhang Houcan, the vice chairman of International Union of Psychology, has explained it in plain languagein the article of “Current Situation and Development Prospects of Psychology in China”.She explained the psychological as “first, it is the function of the brain, it cannot workwithout the brain; second, it is the reflection of the real world, it can reflect the realities inthe outside world; third, the reflection of the human is not negative and reactive butpositive and proactive, which can be consciously carried out. The human being not onlyneeds to understand the realities but needs to reshape the realities, and we have to studythese issues if the psychology wants to achieve a high level of development”. The three notes of Zhang Houcan about the essence of mentality can be summarized as “mentalityis the subjective reflection of the human brain on the objective world.” The nature of consciousness theory of dialectical materialism pointed out that, “consciousness is the subjective reflection of objective existence, which is a reflection process of the human brain on the objective world and a process for continuous processing and production ofd ata input externally”. It is easy to see the consistency between the essence of mentalityand the nature of consciousness by linking them together.

According to the conclusion that “the consciousness contains the unity of knowledge,emotion and willpower”, it can be considered that the “mental regulation” contents of Health Qigong include “knowledge, emotion and willpower”. “Knowledge” refers to thetheoretical knowledge of “body movements and respiratory Tuna (breathing in and out)”and the theoretical knowledge of how to improve our health and the mechanism ofproducing healthy effects. For example, the joints, muscles, routines and methods in bodymovements, the respiratory Tuna (breathing in and out) methods and how to coordinaterespiration with body movements. “Emotion” refers to emotional feelings or sentiments. In Health Qigong exercise, the practicers are required to enter the healthy emotional stateand enter different emotional states according to different movements. For example, thepracticers are required to enter the state of mind of Health Qigong • Wu Qin Xi exercise toact like whatever role they act to achieve the unity of form and spirit. “Willpower” refers tothe mental state such as self-control, perseverance, confidence and indomitable spirit ofthe human being manifested in pursuit of certain goals and ideals. Understanding theessence of mentality and its contents before interpretation of the meaning of the third step6exercise is, after being more proficient in coordination between body movements andbreathing and combined with the requirements of different exercising methods andspecific movements, to give full play to the imagination based on functions of the brain toenter appropriate artistic conception requirements and gradually achieve the physical andmental state of the “unity of three regulations”.

III. Supplemental Instructions of “Trilogy” Exercise

There are two points need to supplement. First, the purpose of putting forward the“trilogy” exercise is to provide some theoretical guidance for beginners, and moreimportant is to tell the beginners that they must follow the principle of step-by-steppractices and always grasp the essential characteristics of combination of bodymovements, respiratory Tuna (breathing in and out) and mental regulation of HealthQigong. Never start to “imagine or absorb ideas” and even “random thinking” withoutbeing proficient in coordination between movements and breathing. This is “aggressivedoctrine” in exercise and is totally bad for the practicers; second, there is no absoluteboundary between the three steps and it does not mean that the practicing cognitiveprocess of Health Qigong exercise is ended up after three steps exercise. The principle ofepistemology of “practice, cognition, re-practice and re-cognition” is also applicable to thepracticing process of Health Qigong. As the saying goes, “art is endless”, Health Qigongexercise is always a continuous learning and continuous improvement process. Duringthe practice, only when we continuously improve the state of “form”, “form + breath” and“form + breath + mind” based on understanding and practicing levels at different stagescan we gradually improve the level of exercising methods and acquire maximum effectivehealth-preserving effects and more harmonious physical and mental skills.

Reference: “Trilogy” of Health Qigong Exercise (pdf) by Wang Yanqun Chinese Health QiGong Association jsqg.sport.org.cn

How to Successfully Lower Qi to Dantian

Lowering Qi to Dantian can dredge the channels of the entire body, harmonize blood and Qi, prolong life, eliminate worries and fatigue, calm the bad emotions like anger, fear, and worry, open the mind, and boost wisdom. As far as I am concerted, lowering Qi to Dantian means: the exerciser has made a certain progress and entered the deep relaxation and serenity in the exercise, as mentioned in Lao Zi “empty the heart and fill the abdomen”. Lowering Qi to Dantian means to meet the requirements of “keep the head and neck straight and lift the head as if propping up something”, lowering the shoulders and elbows, drawing in the chest, straightening the back, relaxing the waist, and keeping the coccygeal end in the middle after long-term persistent practice, so that the entire body is completed relaxed inside out and a serene, calm, and worriless state is naturally achieved. With the “Bird Exercise” of Health Qigong•Wu Qin Xi as an example, this paper dwells on how to relax the body and mind and lower Qi to Dantian to achieve serenity during practice.

Initial Stage

After the exerciser has got familiar with the movements of the exercise and has begun to comprehend the key points to the exercise, relaxation exercises such as lowering shoulders and elbows can be introduced. In the first movement of “Bird Flying”, both legs are slightly bent, both palms are closed in front of the abdomen, the centers of palms are obliquely directed toward each other, the eyes are directed at the lower front. After the posture is established, attention is first drawing to the lowering of shoulders and the mind is concentrated on the tips of elbows to feel them lowering. This feeling is brought by the relaxation of the elbows. As both palms are pushing upward on the lateral sides of the body, both shoulders will be lowered and kept from rising. The elbows should not be raised. And the back is straight and eminent. Then the head slowly moves into the straight position and the chin is slightly withdrawn. The neck is relaxed and the small ligaments of the C-spine joints are loosened so that the suspended top is not stubborn. At the moment when both palms move laterally like spread wings, the shoulders are lowered and the mind is concentrated on the thumbs and index fingers of both hands. Lift the wrists to move the palms like waves and you will feel an indistinct force transmitted from the wrists to the ends of the thumbs and index fingers. As both arms are lowered and the shoulder joints are opened, the shoulder blades will be loosened horizontally with the tend so that both shoulders will be slightly withdrawn, both flanks are slightly contracted, and the thoracic skeleton is slightly withdrawn. Therefore there will be a slight tensioning sensation towards the left and right on the shoulders and back. This relaxation will be naturally transmitted to the elbows, wrists, and fingers and the process will be too quick for the mind to stay. In this way the shoulders will be lowered and the shoulder blades will be opened horizontally. The shrinking bosom and straightening back results will be naturally produced. Shrinking bosom and straightening back shall be completely compliant with the natural form of the human body and shall not be arched back and shrunk chest. Do not deliberately produce it. On the basis of shrinking bosom and straightening back, slightly draw in the buttocks. While doing this, relax the muscles in the buttocks and waist as much as possible so that the muscles of the buttocks are spread downwards. Then gently retract them forward and inward as if propping up the lower abdomen with the buttocks. This will restrict the projection of the buttocks and ensure the straightness of the lumbar vertebrae and the coccygeal end. By combining lowering shoulders and elbows, shrinking bosom and straightening back, and loosening waist and contracting buttocks, we can help lower Qi to Dantian. In this way the reversely ascending pathogenic Qi caused by bad emotions will be gradually lowered and eliminated and the harmonious Qi will be gradually distributed throughout the body. During the breath regulation of Bird Exercise, the body and mind will have an other experience: The body will be light and delightful. The respiration will be smooth and stable. The exerciser will temporarily forget all worries and sorrow and become carefree and cozy. This is the initial stage of lowering Qi to Dantian.

Intermediate Stage

After the key points to the practice are comprehended, the movements can be further refined. During practice, the exerciser will be able to actively eliminate the distracting thoughts, focus the mind on the practice of the exercise, and maintain a peaceful and serene mind, and achieve a leisurely and calm look. In the first movement of “Bird Flying”, the palms are obliquely directed towards each other and the eyes are directed towards the lower front. No mind guidance is required and the exerciser should naturally meet the relaxation requirements such as lowering shoulders and elbows and shrinking bosom and straightening back. When both palms are moved up laterally, the shoulder blades will be opened horizontally towards both sides to drive the shoulder to move down. At the moment when both palms move laterally like spread wings, the shoulders are lowered and the mind is concentrated on the thumbs and index fingers of both hands. Lift the wrists to move the palms like waves and you will feel an indistinct force transmitted from the wrists to the tips of the ten fingers. This sensation is especially obvious with the thumbs and index fingers. As the palms move downward, the brain is between mindful and mindless. And the brain knows where the mind goes. Before the brain realizes the concept of “relaxation”, the body movement will suddenly relax the muscles in the shoulder blades. All of a sudden the entire body will receive the transmitted relaxation. A slightly numb sensation comes across the entire back. These are the results of the force of Qigong. The force is the force produced suddenly when the mind guides the circulation of the clear and harmonious Qi in the body when both the body and mind are relaxed and serene. It is the result of appropriate mind, appropriate Qi, and appropriate strength. Therefore it is also known as internal force. This practicing experience does not occur during every practice. As the shoulder blades are loosened to drive both shoulders to lower, the horizontal relaxation caused by the internal force will promote the natural extension and slight upheaval of muscles in the back. The sensation of straightening back will come along. Once this sensation occurs, the chest will be naturally relaxed and contained. The criterion for shrinking bosom is: At the moment the shoulder joints are opened and the shoulder blades are loosened horizontally, you will feel as if a round door is opened in the chest and the long-standing worries in the heart are discharged. The chest is slightly empty and the heart will suddenly feel relaxed and easy. The internal Qi that sways between both arms when they are moved upward and downward seems to be blocking the arms. And driven by the internal force of Dantian and Mingmen, the softened arms will be like the wings of the light crane that are spread in the air. When both arms are moved upward and downward, the entire body is relaxed and kept down. At the same time Baihui Acupoint on the top of the head will always feel a slight propping sensation instead of an imagined up-propping force. Baihui is suspended on the top, the coccygeal end is in the middle of the lower body, the shoulders and elbows are lowered, the chest is shrunk, the back is straightened, the waist is relaxed, the bottoms will be contracted, and the spinal column will e naturally relaxed segment by segment to form an up-down pulling posture. The state of “keeping the head and neck straight and lifting the head as if propping up something” will be naturally achieved and the heart will be suddenly enlightened. At this moment, the turbine Qi in the body will be lowered and eliminated. The clear Qi will be raised and infused into all parts of the body. The external form and the internal Qi will be gradually merged. Although we cannot clearly feel the incoming and outgoing movements of genuine Qi during this stage, the lower abdomen will feel the numbness, heat, and swelling caused by the swarming internal Qi. This sensation is generated because after entering serenity, the interoception is improved and the proprioceptive sensitivity is increased. The experience varies from person to person and should not be deliberately pursued. Otherwise deviations like “abnormal sensory perception” will be easily caused. After breath regulation of Bird Exercise is completed, the exerciser will unconsciously enter the intermediate stage of lowering Qi to Dantian: The body is soft and comfortable, the breath is even, gentle, and long, the brain is clear, and the chest is relaxed and empty. The gloom accumulated in the chest will be eliminated. All constraints of material desire are suddenly removed. The mind is suddenly opened. Dantian is filled with internal Qi and begins to communicate with the Qi of Mingmen. The facial appearance is calm and stable. The exerciser will look both mighty and easy.

Advanced Stage

With the refining of movements, the exercise enters the automation stage. All distracting thoughts are eliminated during the exercise and even the movements as well as the ego are forgotten. But all movements are still in line with the standard requirements and will still represent the verves of the five animals. After the last movement of “Bird Stretching” is completed, both hands will be naturally lowered at the lateral sides of the body, the eyes will be directed at the front, the entire body will be completely relaxed inside out, the mind will be free of worries, and Yang Qi will be calm and harmonious. Linked with the previous posture, both legs are slightly bent, both palms are closed in front of the abdomen, centers of the palms are obliquely directed at each other, and the eyes are directed at the lower front. The exerciser is still in a relaxed, serene, and gentle practicing state. When both palms are moved up laterally, the shoulder blades will be opened horizontally towards both sides to drive the shoulder to move down. Lowering means the lowering sensation of muscles in the relaxed and gentle state and is the criterion for relaxation. The relaxation in this stage has transcended lowering and is mainly represented by looseness. Genuine Qi flows throughout the body. The entire body is relaxed and loosened. Relaxation is driven by the internal force from the muscles to the tendons and bones and from the exterior to the interior to penetrate the body bit by bit and segment by segment. When both palms are lowered, the relaxation and looseness produced by the internal force will be even stronger. The mind already knows everything before the thought is moved. The interior of the shoulders will be automatically relaxed and loosened. The relaxation and looseness will be suddenly transmitted to every part of the body. The chest will be vacant. The back will be filled up with internal Qi. It seems that the muscles and bones are missing. Shrinking bosom and straightening back has exceeded the body form requirements. Baihui Acupoint on the top of the head will be vacant and unobstructed. And almost no up-propping force is felt because the channels around Baihui are smooth. The exerciser will begin to comprehend the true meanings of “Achieving the ultimate vacancy and adhering to the true serenity”, “coordinating the mind with Tao”, and “clearing the mind to gain insight into nature”. At this moment, the Qi activity will be smooth. “Man resides in Qi and Qi resides in man”. As the internal Qi is unsettled and breaks through the body surfaces, the body will be merged into Qi between heaven and earth and the feeling of boundaries of the body will be lost. This state does not run through the entire practicing process as Qi activity is transient. It shows up at different moments for different people. And it differs even in the same person with the different serenity states during exercise. After breath regulation of Bird Exercise is completed, the exerciser will unconsciously enter the advanced stage of lowering Qi to Dantian: The body will be naturally relaxed and gentle and the respiratory Qi will directly reach Dantian. The targets of “Exhale softly, inhale slowly, stay between consciousness and unconsciousness, and remain continuous and unbroken” will be truly reached. The brain will be clear and free of thoughts. The mind will be vacant and ready for everything. Wisdom will appear in the vacant mind and shine the interior and exterior of the body like bright sunshine (deficiency of the upper portion of the body). Qi circulates smoothly in Dantian and merges with the Qi of Mingmen. The facial expression will be calm and imbued with supreme heroism and mightiness (excess in the lower portion of the body).

Reference: How to Successfully Lower Qi to Dantian by Zhang Caiqin, Inner Mongolia Normal University Chinese Health QiGong Association

Exploring Analysis on Sinking Qi to Cinnabar Field

No matter you are a Health Qigong beginner or an experienced exerciser for years, you might not feel unfamiliar the term “Sinking Qi to Cinnabar Field(qì chén dān tián)”, because nearly every stance emphases that “Sinking Qi to Cinnabar Field” is essential for exercising Health Qigong. However, few of exercisers can clearly explain how it is when asked how is ” Sinking Qi to Cinnabar Field”. Analysis finds that it is influenced mainly by conventional way of thinking, which results in a tendancy of ambiguous perceptual mastering of many terms of Health Qigong, and just making use of it rather than discussing it in depth. In fact, with the change in the context of modern people, if some classic terms originated from tradition can be illustrated with modern language, it can not only enrich the basic theoretical knowledge of Health Qigong so as to promote discipline building and scientific development of Health Qigong, but also help people correctly understand Health Qigong and scientifically exercise Health Qigong. In order to arouse people’s serious attention to this issue, I hereby attempt to make a brief analysis of ”Sinking Qi to Cinnabar Field”, hopefully it could serve as a modest spur.

I. Location and Functions of Cinnabar Field

According to the origin of history, Cinnabar Field is an important position for Taoist practitioners to regulate mind and build up will. In A Brief Talk on Diantian Theory by Chinese Taoists, Xiao Zhicai expatiated the records in various ancient literatures about the location of Cinnabar Field and its important functions. Cai Mingzong also made meticulous discussion on Diantian in his doctoral dissertation “Discussion on Cinnabar Field Mystery and Research on the Function of Delaying Aging of Female Ovariectomized Rats by Catgut Embedment in Cinnabar Field Area. In their opinions, Cinnabar Field is a very special and important position in one’s body. It is called “Mingmen (Life Gate)” in Neijing, located between the eyes and joining in encephalon, which is the vital position. It is called ”Dynamic Qi between Kidneys”, located between the two kidneys, for men to store essence and women to tie ovicell, which is the origin of vitality. One is the Upper Cinnabar Field, and the other is the Lower Cinnabar Field; between the two there is the Middle Cinnabar Field, which is in charge of human being’s Qi, blood and water and food, covering heart, lungs, liver, spleen and stomach, etc. These three need and work mutually, containing human being’s essence, Qi and spirit. The three Cinnabar Fields are not a point but an area. The Upper Cinnabar Field is located in Yintang Area, the Middle Cinnabar Field is located in the Area below Heart and the Lower Cinnabar Field is located in the Area below Umbilicus. The ancient literatures gave the most detailed description of the Lower Cinnabar Field Area, pointing out that that the Lower Cinnabar Field is located three cun (Chinese inch) below Umbilicus, between the two kidneys and back, and in the middle of human body, covering an area of four cun.

The Taoist cognition of Cinnabar Field is somewhat different from Medicine’s cognition thereof. Specifically, the common standpoint of both lies in that Cinnabar Field is the residence of original essence, original qi and original spirit. According to this standpoint, Taoism regards Cinnabar Field as the position for keeping qi with ideation, as well as a main site and fundamental place for condensation of essence, qi and spirit. This kind of cognition produced profound influence on the Qigong Science and even Neijiaquan (internal boxing) of later generations. Medicine regards Cinnabar Field as the origin of life, which dominates all activities of life. In terms of physiological structure, it is “the foundation of five viscera and six bowels, the root of twelve meridians, the gate of breathing and the source of triple energizers”, and it is the physical basis for the formation of human body. In terms of functions, it is the innate level higher than the acquired level of five viscera and six bowels, and it dominates the growth, development and functions of five viscera, six bowels, limbs and skeleton, and plays decisive roles on short or long lifespan, disease and death of human beings.

II. Sinking Qi to Cinnabar Field in the Eyes of Researchers

What does “Sinking Qi to Cinnabar Field” refer to specifically? How can we “Sink Qi to Cinnabar Field”? Through consulting literatures, we find that, different researchers have somewhat different views. In the article “Can Air be Inhaled into Cinnabar Field?”, Lin Yongjiang believes that, air breathing can be conducted only in lungs, while Cinnabar Field is located in lower abdomen, and air cannot enter lower abdomen directly. Breathing not only functions exchange of air, but also results in a series of phenomena of physiological changes. He further points out that, so called “internal work” means that, under the domination of “ideas” “which use ideation but no force”, taking actions as the guidance and breathing as the driving force, so as to enable internal qi to run in the whole body at will, which is the mechanism of running of internal qi.

In the article New Comprehension of Sinking Qi to Cinnabar Field, Zang Baodong believes that, the qi in “Sinking Qi to Cinnabar Field” is not the air breathed, but a reflection of a kind of biological pulse which is transmitted into nerves and to cerebral cortex after various receptors of nerve endings receive external and internal stimulations of human body; qi can also be regarded as a kind of special reflection of nervous function under certain condition. When human body is exercising under a relaxing and quieting state, capillaries open under such impacts as innervation, muscle flexing and biochemical and bioelectrical changes, these perivascular nerve receptors are stimulated and then transmit nerve impulses to the brain’s sensory center, causing such feelings as “numb, hot and distending“, which is “qi” or so called “internal qi”. The running of qi is closely related to the running of blood, which coincides with the views of traditional Chinese medicine that “Blood runs if qi runs, and blood stagnates if qi stagnates”, and “Blood is the mother of qi”. He also emphasizes that both air inhalation and air exhalation can “sink Qi to Cinnabar Field”. Upon air inhalation, due to that rhythmic slow actions cause breathing to gradually become natural, deep and long, inspiratory diaphragm moves down more, and will give a kind of beneficial gentle extrusion massage to abdominal organs, thus transforming the stimulations of intra-abdominal receptors into bioelectrical impulses, which are transmitted via sensory nerves to the sensory center in brain, hence causing the feeling of “qi” rushing to the lower abdomen, which is the so called “Sinking Qi to Cinnabar Field”. Upon air exhalation, due to that diaphragm moves up, sphincter ani relaxes, lower abdominal pressure reduces, and the closed capillaries in abdomen suddenly open, there will be a kind of warm nerve feeling in abdomen, which means a success in “Sinking Qi to Cinnabar Field”.

In the article Cinnabar Field·Sinking Qi to Cinnabar Field·Ideation of Cinnabar Field, Jiang Shan points out that, the Cinnabar Field referred to in “Sinking Qi to Cinnabar Field” can be located in the lower abdomen and the entire pelvic cavity of human body, namely the area in abdominal cavity below umbilicus till the bottom of pelvic cavity. In the infra-umbilical abdominal cavity, there are mainly such organs as small intestine, large intestine, kidneys, nephric duct, etc. In the pelvic cavity, in addition to bladder and rectum, a male also has an ampulla of deferent duct and a seminal vesicle; the pelvic part of deferent duct ranges from sidewall of pelvic cavity, upper back part of bladder to the bottom of bladder; and there is prostate below bladder. In the pelvic cavity of a female, there are also ovaries and oviducts, and there are uterus and vagina between bladder and rectum. “Sinking Qi to Cinnabar Field” means that genuine qi sinks from thoracic cavity via adbominal cavity down to the bottom of pelvic cavity, and it sinks slowly among various organs in thoracic, adbominal and pelvic cavities. Ideation of Cinnabar Field means that using an idea to think of that genuine qi is filled among the aforesaid organs in infra-umbilical abdominal cavity and pelvic cavity, and genuine qi gently infiltrates these organs.

III. Sinking Qi to Cinnabar Field and Abdominal Breathing

The term “Sinking Qi to Cinnabar Field(qì chén dān tián)” sounds very abstruse at first, actually it means deep breathing in modern language. Generally normal breathing is thoracic breaghing, which is shallow breathing relative to abdominal breathing. Abdominal breathing not only makes thoracic cavity to expand and contract more fully, and improves the air-inflation rate of pulmonary bubbles, but also causes various viscera and bowels as well as various tissues and structures such as secreting glands, junctional membranes, membrane envelopes, nerves, meridians and muscle fibers in abdominal cavity and thoracic cavity to generate relative movement, and hence gently squeeze and massage each other, which is the so-called “surging of Cinnabar Field(dān tián gǔ dàng)”. The air inhaled into pulmonary alveolis by a person in breathing is impossible to enter adbominal cavity through the tissues in his body.A person has the feeling of sinking qi when he “sinks Qi to Cinnabar Field”, just because that the tissues in abdominal cavity relax and sink down. The aforesaid viewpoint was also proved when I interviewed experts, and it is found that, when a person sinks Qi to Cinnabar Field, his caudal vertebra sinks downward and contracts forward, which changes the backward bending radian of the waist, and is more advantageous to relaxing and sinking of abdominal organs.

Different breathing patterns produce different impacts on human body. “Sinking Qi to Cinnabar Field” is a manifestation of deep breathing, and it can help human body strengthen oxygen supply and discharge large amounts of carbon dioxide, so it plays very big roles in the metabolism exchange process. The reasons lie in that, on one hand, slow and conscious deep breathing can improve the alkali content in human body, accelerate heart beating and blood circulation, thus transmit more oxygen and nutrients to human body through blood; on the other hand, trash and toxins in body are discharged out of body through deep breathing and sweats, which can effectively reduce the acid content in body, and maintain a balance of chemical compositions in human body. In addition, deep breathing can also promote shock of blood and lymphatic fluid and hence free circulation thereof, restore the connections among various nervous systems, as a result, various nerve endings also cheer up, and directly or indirectly stimulate blood vessels, which enhances the nutrition of muscle due to improvement of metabolism. Furthermore, abdomen is the place where the yin meridians among twelve meridians of the conception vessel joint together, and where many important acupuncture points and autonomic nerve plexuses of human body are distributed; deep breathing makes abdominal muscles to generate regular ups and downs, which can not only effectively stimulate relevant acupuncture points and autonomic nerves, but also massage the liver, intestines and stomach. Thus it can be seen that, abdominal breathing is a kind of scientific method in life nurturing and health care through Health Qigong for promoting the running of blood and qi.

It can be found through the aforesaid discussion that, the feeling of sinking qi in “Sinking Qi to Cinnabar Field” does not mean that the air in breathing enters abdominal cavity, but mean that various tissues in abdominal cavity relax and sink downward, due to the change in intra-abdominal pressure caused by increase in the amplitude of up and down movement of diaphragm. For beginners, they can succeed in “Sinking Qi to Cinnabar Field” from two aspects, namely changing the external shape of spinal column and changing the breathing pattern. In aspect of shape of spinal column, it focuses on changing the radian of thoracic vertebra and lumbar vertebra; while in aspect of breathing pattern, it focuses on changing thoracic breathing to abdominal breathing.

When an exerciser succeeds in reaching the state of “Sinking Qi to Cinnabar Field” through efforts, he not only makes his thoracic cavity to expand and contract more fully, and improves the air-inflation rate of his pulmonary bubbles, but also causes various viscera and bowels as well as various secreting glands, junctional membranes, membrane envelopes, nerves, meridians and muscle fibers in abdominal cavity and thoracic cavity to squeeze and massage each other, which exerts active roles in life nurturing and health care.

Reference: Exploring Analysis on Sinking Qi to Cinnabar Field(pdf) by Lin Zhihua Chinese Health QiGong Association jsqg.sport.org.cn

Wondrous Scripture for Daily Internal Practice

Now, as for your daily practice, Keep your eating and drinking regulated; Restrain your speaking and meditate alone. Do not allow even a single thought to arise. The ten thousand affairs are all forgotten.

Then preserve your spirit and stabilize your intent. The mouth and lips are mutually locked up; The teeth should be lightly touching. Your eyes do not see a single thing;
Your ears do not hear a single sound. Unified, the heart-mind is guarded within.

Continually harmonize your breathing. Subtle, still more subtle, make a light exhale. It is as if the breath exists, as if it does not exist. Nothing is allowed to separate or interrupt.

Then the fire of the heart naturally descends; The water of the kidneys naturally ascends. Inside your mouth, the sweet dew arises of itself. The numinous Perfected support your body
And you spontaneously know the path to long life.

During the twelve double-hours of the day, Constantly seek clarity and stillness. The numinous tower of the heart emptied of all things: This is called clarity. Not allowing even a single thought to arise: This is called stillness.

The body is the dwelling place of qi. The heart is the residence of spirit. When intent moves, spirit is agitated; When spirit is agitated, qi is dispersed.

When intent is stable, spirit remains settled; When spirit remains settled, qi gathers. The perfect qi of the Five Phases Then gathers together and forms a pinch of elixir.

Then naturally in the body a sound can be heard. Walking and standing, sitting and lying down, One constantly practices awareness. In the body, it is as if there is the movement of wind. In the belly, it is as if there is the sound of thunder.

Infusing and harmonizing qi fully, A rich liquid pours into the top of the head. When you drink from this pinch of elixir, Your ears begin to hear the tunes of the immortals. These are the sounds of the stringless melodies Sounding spontaneously without any strumming, Reverberating naturally without any drumming.

Spirit and qi then combine together Like a child being cherished in the womb. If you can observe the inner regions, Spirit naturally begins to communicate. This is the residence of emptiness and nonbeing, The place where you can reside with the sages.

If you refine the combination through nine revolutions, You will bind and complete the great cinnabar elixir. Spirit then spontaneously enters and leaves.
Your years will match those of heaven and earth; Your radiance will join with that of the sun and moon. Then you will cast off arising and passing away.

Each day that you cease to practice this, Surely there will be injury and disease. So, during all the twelve double-hours of the day, Constantly seek clarity and stillness.

Qi is the mother of spirit; Spirit is the child of qi. Like a hen incubating an egg, Preserve spirit and nourish qi. Then, you will never be separated from the Wondrous.

Mysterious and again more mysterious; In the human body, there are Seven Treasures. Use them to support the country and pacify the people. Then your essence, qi, and blood will be abundant.

Essence is quicksilver; Blood is yellow gold; Qi is beautiful jade; Marrow is quartz;
The brain is numinous sand; The kidneys are jade rings; And the heart is a glittering gem.

These are the Seven Treasures— Keep them firmly in your body, never letting them disperse. Refine them into the great medicine of life. Then with all of the ten thousand spirits, You will ascend to the immortal realms.

Reference:
Wondrous Scripture for Daily Internal Practice of the Great High Lord Lao (pdf) pathofzero.com translation and commentary by Louis Komjathy.

Practise Qigong for one day

Practise Qigong for one day,
One Will receive a day’s benefit.

If one stops practicing Qigong for one day,
It will be equivalent to losing one hundred days’ benefits.

If one stops practicing for one hundred days,
One get no benefit through all his life.
Life Will become an empty dream.

Qi and Mind in Health Qigong

Shen Xiaodong, Shanghai Qigong Institute

  Health Qigong•Ba Duan Jin is a simply, refined, smooth, graceful, and effective health-preserving exercise which contains deep health-preserving philosophy and is deeply welcomed by the common people. This paper provides a detailed analysis of “Qi” and “Mind” in Health Qigong•Ba Duan Jin exercise according to the practicing process of Health Qigong •Ba Duan Jin.

  “Integrated Qi between Heaven and Earth” in Health Qigong•Ba Duan Jin Exercise

  The “integration of three regulations” is the core and feature of health Qigong exercise. The body regulation, breath regulation, and mind regulation are everything we can use for self-regulation of both body and mind. The three regulations are commonly seen and practiced in our daily activities but the “integration of three regulations” is difficult to achieve. Health Qigong is exactly aimed at achieving such a state. The “integration” of “integration of three regulations” should refer to “Qi”. Zhuangzi said “Qi runs throughout the entire world” (Zhuangzi: Zhi Bei You). Huang Di Nei Jing: Su Wen: Bao Ming Quan Xing Lun says: “when Qi between the heaven and earth was integrated, man was created” and “man was created with the Qi between heaven and earth and lives by the rules of the four seasons”. Man can actively and consciously realize the “concordance of Qi” of his body and mind and merges his own life into the tremendous steam of life in the cosmos. Man can actively maintain his own health and assist the circulation and development of life between heaven and earth.

  Qi is the source of life and motive power for vitality. Qi “cannot be seen, cannot be heard, and cannot be touched” (Lao Tzu). Qi is beyond our sensory organs. We cannot represent it, objectify it, or consolidate it. But we can learn it by establishing a concept with our mind.

  Qi has is intrinsic rules and principles of operation, which are exact “Dao”. There is only one way to master Qi: to merge ourselves into “Qi” and “Tao”. We should “get relaxed and natural”, lay down our preoccupation and sensory organs, empty our heart and mind, and then The forms of things all in it crouch; Eluding touch, eluding sight; There are their semblances, all right. Profound it is, dark and obscure; Things’ essences all there endure. Those essences the truth enfold” (Lao Tzu).

  The movements of Qi in the human body can be understood as “ascending, descending, incoming, outgoing” circular movements. “Extension Tao Outlook” is advocated by the Chinese culture. It is believed that all things in the world moves in circles like the universe. This is also the case with the operation of Qi in the body. Qi runs in the body through the Twelve Regular Meridians and the Eight Extra Meridians like rings. Qi of the human body also communicates with Qi of the heaven and earth through acupoints on the body surfaces. The human body is an open “macrosystem” (Qian Xuesen). On the one hand, our body performs material metabolism with the outside world. On the other hand, the functional activity systems (e.g. meridians, spirit, Qi, and essence) of our life also have energy and information transmissions and exchanges with the outside world. “Man is connected to heaven and earth” (Huang Di Nei Jing: Ling Shu: Xie Ke). Man is a small cosmos. The changes of things in the environment have certain connections with the physiological changes of man. This is called “Induction between Heaven and Man”.

  By carefully analyzing every movement of Health Qigong•Ba Duan Jin, we can find that all three movements embody the association and connection between the human body and Qi of heaven and earth. In “Holding the Hands High with Palms Up to Regulate the Internal Organs”, both arms are required to be rounded and pushed upward and both feed are required to be firmly pressed onto the ground as if taking roots in the ground. The exerciser will be like “standing upright on his two legs between heaven and earth”, connecting the upper and lower Qi of the human body and merging it with Qi of the heaven and earth. In “Posing as an Archer Shooting Both Left- and Right-Handed”, the exerciser is required to draw an imaginary bow as if shooting an arrow, pulling the arms, shoulders, and the back leftward and rightward and directing the thought towards the boundary between heaven and earth in the distance. And the legs are kept in a Horse Stance with five toes anchored onto the ground. This can be called “shooting the heaven and anchoring the earth”. In “Holding One Arm Aloft to Regulate the Functions of the Spleen and Stomach”, one arm is held up against the heaven and the other is held down towards the earth as if holding up a cauldron with great power. This is called “propping up heaven and pressing earth”. In “Looking Backwards to Prevent Sickness and Strain”, both arms rotate outward, the head and arms are turned, the chest is square and the abdomen is drawn back. Qi is concentrated in Baihui Acupoint. The entire body looks like a high tower which takes in Qi from heaven and earth. This is called “twisting heaven and bending earth”. In “Shaking Head and Tail to Dispel Heart Fire”, the head and hips are shaken while the waist is rotated and the body is turned. They respectively take circular movements which are corresponding to the rotating movement-one of the fundamental movements of the universe. This is called “turning heaven and rotating earth”. In “Both Hands Touching the Feet to Strengthen the Kidneys and Waist”, both hands move downward from the top, run along the body to the back, reach to the ground and stretch forward, and finally slowly move up from the front of the body, as if both hands are moving in a circle around the body to infuse Qi of heaven and earth into the body. This is called “receiving heaven and connecting earth”. In “Thrusting the Fists and Making the Eyes Glare to Enhance Strength”, both fists are clenched and thrust alternately into the air. Both legs are firmly kept in a Horse Stance. And the eyes glare at the same time to produce tremendous power and grandeur. It is called “thrusting heaven and clenching earth”. The last routine “Seven Movements of the Back to Eliminate all Diseases”, the heels are feet are lifted and then released. The head and neck are kept straight and lifted as if propping up something. The lower part of the body is held to the ground as if being pressed by a very heavy object. This is called “propping up heaven and bumping earth”.

  “Coordinated Form and Spirit” in Health Qigong•Ba Duan Jin Exercise

  Health Qigong exercise is a resting and growing process. In our daily life and work, all kinds of mental and physical damages are inevitable and consume the resources and energies of the body. And Health Qigong is exactly a “magic weapon” for restoring the resources and energy of the body. Our predecessors pointed out that the purpose of Qigong exercise is to “nourish the vital Qi”, “regulate the meridian Qi”, and “consolidate the defensive Qi” in order to help us achieve “sufficient essence, full Qi, and complete spirit”, keep us away from or eliminate diseases, and maintain the internal equilibrium and stability of both the body and mind.

  Health Qigong exercise involves thought, which is a great feature of Qigong. The thought has major influences on both our body and mind. Compared with animals, man is more susceptible to diseases, probably because our thoughts are too disorderly and frequent. It is believed in traditional Qigong theories that thoughts have to be “neither forgotten nor assisted” and have to be placed between adherence and non-adherence. Huang Di Nei Jing says: “To treat deficiency pathogens, we need to avoid wind with good timing. If we stay indifferent to fame or gain and keep a vacant heart, the genuine Qi will follow us, the essence spirit will be contained, and diseases will be prevented.” During health Qigong exercise, we should learn to maintain an indifferent mental state and draw back into our own body. We should neither eradicate thoughts nor become over-absorbed by the mind.

  Health Qigong•Ba Duan Jin is a moving exercise dominated by Daoyin of movements. As a Qigong exercise, however, it has its own requirements on thought. “Being relaxed, serene, and natural” is the threshold and orientation of Qigong. During the exercise of Health Qigong•Ba Duan Jin, we should always maintain a long and unhurried thought, keep our mind peaceful and delighted, naturally relaxed our body, and make our movements smooth, round, and continuous. In the preparative stance of Health Qigong•Ba Duan Jin, we should not only bring our body into an empty and relaxed state, but also quiet our mind, eliminate distracting thoughts, evil intentions, and stupor in order to keep our mind in “subtle and continuous” indifference and delight. As is described in Qigong tips, “when we keep our spirit in a serene state, the form will be naturally upright” (Zhuangzi: Zai You). While quieting, emptying, and relaxing our body and mind, our body will naturally become soft and comforted. In this way we can “maintain both body and spirit and live to the full length of our life” (Huang Di Nei Jing: Su Wen: Shang Gu Tian Zhen Lun).

  To sum up, Health Qigong•Ba Duan Jin is dignified and graceful. Its movements are internally smooth and externally straight and full and circular. Its process is like moving clouds and flowing water. Qi circulates throughout the body to straighten bones, soften tendons, and facilitate blood and Qi circulation. While practicing Health Qigong•Ba Duan Jin, we need to enter a good state of “integrated Qi of heaven and earth” and “coordinated form and spirit” through the “Three Regulations” in order to achieve the fundamental objectives of Health Qigong exercise.

Reference: “Qi” and “Mind” in Health Qigong•Ba Duan Jin Exercise Chinese Health Qigong Association