Qigong Imagination

Song Tianbin; Beijing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Health-preserving imagination is one of the health-preserving methods of Health Qigong. This is because the mind concentration of Health Qigong not only involves quiescence but also involves rich imagination which is also know as “visualization”, “Deliberation”, or “Meditation”. In other words, different imaginations are used to regulate the mental balance and achieve both mental and physical comfort. Many Health Qigong exercises, such as Health Qigong•Yi Jin Jing, Wu Qin Xi, Liu Zi Jue, and Ba Duan Jin which are already widespread in the world, or newly created Health Qigong•Shi Er Duan Jin, 12 exercises of Daoyin Health Preservation, Mawangdui Daoyin, Taiji Yang Sheng Zhang, and Dawu which are about to be popularized all allow wide space for imagination.

Imaging the blue sky will make you open-minded, serene, bright, and clear; Imagining the blue sky and grassland will make you relaxed, happy, comfortable, and enthusiastic; Imagining the elegant white clouds will make your relaxed and at ease; Imagining the colorful sunglow will lead to warm, leisurely, serene, and beautiful associations; Imagining the bright moon in the sky will make you feel tranquil and pleasantly cool and love, friendship, and family bond will be naturally brewed; Imagining a red sun will make you feel warmth and brightness and enthusiasm and hope will be naturally generated; Imagining blue mountains and deep and secluded valleys will make you calm and refreshed; Imagining an eagle flying in the sky will inspire you to make achievements; Imagining the turbulent Yellow River will fill your hear with lofty sentiments; Imagining the impetuous Yangtze River will urge you to advance bravely; Imagining sweet spring water will make you feel moist all over the body and help you get lively and optimistic.

Remembering the past achievements will boost self-confidence and self-respect; Imagining the past joys will naturally give rise to a joyful mood; Remembering the past interesting news will create a humorous atmosphere, relax the body and mind, and remove the interpersonal barriers.

Imagining innocent and lively children will correct the over-caution of adults and create a sensation of rejuvenation. By imagining the vigor of the youngsters, old people will eliminate the apathy and depression; Imagining the gentleness, quiescence and tenderness of girls will help you correct the vulgar habits; By imagining the expectations of the family, travelers can often be spurred to advance bravely and strive not to lag behind.

Imagining delicious food or plums, oranges, and apricots will promote secretion of saliva, improve the appetite, and facilitate digestion. Tumor patients taking radiotherapy or chemotherapy can imagine rays and drugs killing cancer cells and discharging all of them from the body. While taking the imagination therapy, the exerciser is required to relax the body and eliminate all distracting thoughts. Imagining the smooth blood circulation over the body will help reduce the pains of any disease.

These a just a part of health-preserving imagination. They are called mind concentration on external scenes and internal scenes in Health Qigong.

External scenes can be either dynamic or static and either realistic or imaginary or virtual. For example, “Pulling Nine Cows by Their Tails” of Health Qigong•Yi Jin Jing and “Tiger Pouncing” of Health Qigong•Wu Qin Xi are “using mind instead of strength” according to the theory of Tai Ji Quan. Since different people have different life experiences, the results may be different even if the same thing is imagined. Therefore the exerciser may imagine mentally and physically pleasant things as much as possible according to his own experience, in order to facilitate the regulation of mental balance and relaxation of both the body and mind and thus to preserve health.

This is also true with internal scenes, which may be the circulation of blood and Qi in the channels, the activities of viscera, the movements of limbs, or the relative quiescent mind concentration on internal organs, acupoints, channels, skin, hair, tendons, muscles, and bones. For example, in “Moving the Hands down the Back and Legs, and Touching the Feet to Strengthen the Kidneys” of Health Qigong•Ba Duan Jin, the mind is stationed at the kidneys in the waist. Mind concentration on blood and Qi in channels is mostly dynamic imagination of unobstructed channels and well-circulating blood and Qi. For example, the eight extra channels and all twelve channels are available for mind concentration, but Ren and Du channels are most frequently used. During acupoint pressing and self-massage, we have to concentrate the mind on the “Qi acquisition” sensation and assist it with imagination. This will help us enter quiescence and provide better results. Mind concentration on the internal organs is also called “return aura” or “inward-looking”, which is also an imagination. For example, General Treatise on the Cause and Symptoms of Diseases says: “imagine that the red Qi of the heart, green Qi of the liver, white Qi of the lungs, yellow Qi of the spleen, and black Qi of the kidneys are running all over the body.” Thousand Golden Prescriptions for Emergency says: imagine that the great harmonious primordial Qi is shaped like a purple pavilion of clouds hovering in the sky with clear colors, and that this Qi infiltrates the skin and muscles like water penetrating the earth, and directly flows from the head top to Yongquan Acupoints in the soles, moistening all limbs and viscera on the way. Practicing these steps fro 3~5 rounds from time to time, and you will have moist skin and hair, keen eyes and ears, a good appetite, good health, and strong resistance to all diseases. Although the statement is a bit exaggerating, this beneficial psychological suggestion will help remove nervousness and reduce blood pressure from the modern point of view.

To sum up, it involves the full utilization of attention and imagination from the psychological point of view, which are exactly the two most important psychological characteristics of man. Therefore we should make full use of them to accomplish our health-preserving goals.

Reference:
Health Qigong and Health-Preserving Imagination jsqg.sport.org.cn

The Inner Entreprise

Section 1: The essential qi

It is the essence of things that gives life to them. Below, it gives birth to the five grains;
above, it is the ranks of stars. Flowing between heaven and earth:
we call these ghosts and spirits. Stored within the breast:
we call these sages.
This qi is So bright! As though climbing to heaven. So dark! As though entering the abyss. So broad! As though permeating the sea. So compact! As though residing within oneself.
This qi
Cannot be detained through physical force, but may be brought to rest by force of virtue.
It may not be summoned by means of sound, but may be received through one’s thoughts.
To guard it alertly without fail, this is called perfect virtue.
When virtue is perfected wisdom emerges and all the things of the world are grasped.

Section 2: The nature of the heart

The form of the heart is Spontaneously full and replete, Spontaneously born and complete.
It loses this form through care and joy, pleasure and anger, desire and profit-seeking.
If are able to rid itself of care and joy, pleasure and anger, desire and profit-seeking, the heart returns to completion.
The natural feelings of the heart cleave to rest and calm;
Don’t trouble them, don’t derange them, and harmony will spontaneously be perfect.
So gleaming! As though just beside. So dim! As though ungraspable. So remote! As though exhausting the far limit.
Its basis is near at hand; daily we draw its force of virtue.

Section 3: The Dao

By means of the Dao forms are made full,
yet men are not able to cleave firmly to it.
Once gone it may not return, Once come it may not remain. So silent! None hears its sound. So compact! It resides in the heart. So dark! Invisible of form.
So overflowing! It is born along with me. Its form unseen,
Its sound unheard,
Yet its doings perfectly ordered. Such we call: the Dao.
The Dao has no fixed place; it dwells at peace in a good heart.
When the heart is tranquil and the qi aligned, the Dao may be made to stay.
The Dao is not distant, people gain it in being born.
The Dao never departs, people rely on it for awareness. How compact! As though it could be bound up. How remote! As though exhausting all nothingness.

The natural being of the Dao abhors thought and voice.
Refine the heart and calm thoughts, and the Dao may be grasped.
The Dao Is what the mouth cannot speak, Is what the eye cannot see, Is what the ear cannot hear.
It is the means to refine the heart and rectify the form.
Men die when they lose it. Men live when they gain it. Affairs fail when they lose it. Affairs succeed when they gain it.
The Dao has neither root not stalk, nor leaves, nor blossoms.
Yet the things of the world gain it and are born; the things of the world gain it and mature.
This is termed: the Dao.

Section 4: The sage

The pivot of heaven is uprightness. The pivot of earth is flatness. The pivot of man is quiescence.
Spring, autumn, winter, and summer are the season times of heaven.
Mountains ridges and river valleys are the limbs of earth.
Showing pleasure or anger, taking or giving, there are the schemes of man.
The sage adapts with the times but is not transformed, follows along with things but is not moved by them.
He is able to be balanced and tranquil and so he is settled.
With a settled heart within,
the eyes and ears are keen and clear,
the four limbs are strong and firm. He is fit to be the dwelling of the essence.
By essence is meant the essence of qi. When qi follows the Dao there is birth.
With birth there is awareness. From awareness comes knowing. With knowing the limit is reached.

Section 5: The One

If the form of the heart acquires excessive knowledge, life is lost.
Unifying with things and able to transform them– this is called spirit-like.
Unifying with affairs and able to adapt– this is called wisdom.
To transform without altering one’s qi, and adapt without altering one’s wisdom–
only a junzi who grips the One can do this. Gripping the One without fail,
he is able to be ruler to the world of things.
The junzi manipulates things; he is not manipulated by things. He grasps the principle of the One,
a regulated heart at his center, regulated words come forth from his mouth, he engages others in regulated affairs,
and thus the world is regulated. In one phrase he grasps it and the world submits;
in one phrase he sets it and the world obeys– this is called impartiality.

Section 6: The inner grasp

If the form is not balanced, the force of virtue will not come.
If the center is not tranquil, the heart will not be regulated.
When a balanced form controls the force of virtue then the ren of heaven and the righteousness of earth
will come spontaneously as a torrent. The polar limit of spirit-like brilliance shines in the understanding. The central rightness of the world of things is flawlessly preserved.
Not letting things disrupt the senses;
not letting the senses disrupt the heart– such is called inner grasping.

Section 7: Controlling the essence

There is a spirit that spontaneously resides within the person: it comes and goes, none can anticipate it.
Lose it and one is certain to become disrupted; grasp it and one is certain to become regulated.
Reverently sweep its abode and the essence will spontaneously come.
Ponder it with tranquil thinking, calm your recollections to regulate it.
Maintain a dignified appearance and a manner of awe, and the essence will spontaneously become stable.
Grasp it and never release it, and your ears and eyes will not go astray, your mind will have no other plans.
When a balanced heart lies at the center, the things of the world obtain their proper measures.

Section 8: The core of the heart

The Dao fills the world and spreads through everywhere that people dwell, yet the people cannot understand it.
Through the explanation of a single phrase one may penetrate to heaven, reach the limits of the earth,
and coil through all the nine regions. What is this explanation?
It lies in setting the heart at rest.
When our hearts are regulated, the senses are regulated as well. When our hearts are at rest, the senses are at rest as well. What regulates the senses is the heart;
what places the senses at rest is the heart.
By means of the heart, a heart is enclosed– within the heart there is yet another heart.
Within that heart’s core the sound of a thought is first to speak: after the sound of thought, it takes shape, taking shape, there is speech, with speech, there is action, with action, there is order.
Without order, there must be disruption, and with disruption, there is death.

Section 9: The flood-like essence

Where essence is stored there is spontaneous life: externally it blooms in contentment, internally it is stored as a wellspring.
Flood-like, it is harmonious and even, the fountainhead of the qi.
When the fountainhead never runs dry, the limbs are firm.
When the wellspring is never exhausted, the nine bodily orifices are penetrating.*
Thereupon one may exhaust heaven and earth and cover the four seas.
Within, there are no confused thoughts, without, there are no irregular disasters.
The heart complete within, the form is complete without:
*The nine orifices include mouth, eyes, nostrils, ears, anus, and urethra.
encountering neither disasters from Tian,
nor harm from man. This is called: the sage.

Section 10: Physical perfection

When a man is able to attain balanced tranquility, his skin is sleek, his flesh full, his eyes sharp, his ears keen, his muscles taut, his bones sturdy.
And so he is able to carry the great circle of heaven on his head and tread upon the great square of earth.
He finds his reflection in the great purity and sees by the great light.
Attentive and cautious, he never errs, and every day renews the force of his virtue.
Knowing everything in the world and exhausting the four poles of the earth, he attentively nurtures his plenitude:
this is called: grasping within. To be so and never to revert
is life without error.

Section 11: The nature of the Dao

The Dao is always abundant and dense, always broad and easy,
always hard and steady.
Guard the good and never release it, expel excess and let go of narrowness.
Once knowing the extremes, return to the force of the Dao.

Section 12: The charisma of the completed heart

When the heart completed lies within, it cannot be concealed. It may be known through the form and countenance,
seen through the skin and expression. When such a one encounters others with the qi of goodness,
he becomes closer to them than brothers. When such a one encounters others with the qi of hatred,
he is more dangerous then weapons of war.
The unspoken sound travels faster than a clap of thunder. The form of the heart’s qi
illuminates more brightly than the sun or moon,
and is more discerning than a father or mother. Rewards are insufficient to encourage goodness;
punishments are insufficient to discipline transgressions. But when the intent of the qi is in one’s grasp,
the world will submit. When the intent of the heart is fixed,
the world will obey.

Section 13: Concentration

Spirit-like, concentrate the qi, and the world of things is complete. Can you concentrate?
Can you become one? Can you know the outcomes of events without divining? Can you halt? Can you stop? Can you grasp in it yourself and not seek it in others?
Ponder it! Ponder it! Then ponder yet again! If you ponder and do not comprehend,
the spirits will make it comprehensible. Yet it is not by the power of the spirits:
it is the utmost of the essential qi.

Section 14: The limits of contemplation

When your four limbs are balanced and the qi of your blood tranquil, unify your thoughts and concentrate your mind.
Eyes and ears never astray, though distant, it will be as though near.
Contemplative thought gives birth to knowledge; careless laxity gives birth to cares; violent arrogance gives birth to resentments; cares and melancholy give birth to illness.
If you contemplate things and don’t let go, you will be harried within and haggard without.
If you don’t plan against this early on, your life will slip away from its abode.
When eating, it is best not to eat one’s fill. When contemplating, it is best not to carry it to the end. When there is regularity and equilibrium,
it will come of itself.

Section 15: Moderating emotions and desires

In the life of man, heaven produces his essence, earth produces his form.
These are combined and create a man.
With harmony there comes life, without harmony there is no life.
In discerning the dao of harmony, its essence is invisible,
its manifestations belong to no class.
When level balance controls the breast and sorted regularity lies within the heart,
long life is assured. If joy and anger lose their proper rule,
attend to this. Moderate the five desires,
eliminate the two evils– neither joyous nor angered–
and level balance will control your breast. The life of man must rely on level balance,
and these are lost through the heart’s joy and anger, cares and dismay.
To quell anger nothing is better than the Poetry. To dismiss cares, nothing is better than music. To moderate joy, nothing is better than li. To observe li, nothing is better than attentiveness.
To maintain attentiveness, nothing is better than tranquility.
Inwardly tranquil, outwardly attentive,
able to return to your nature: thus will your nature be well stabilized.

Section 16: The dao of eating

The dao of eating: gorging is harmful, the form will not be fine; fasts of abstinence make the bones brittle and the blood run dry.
The mean between gorging and abstinence is the harmonious perfection: the place where the essence dwells and wisdom is born.
If hunger or satiety lose their proper measures, attend to this.
If you have eaten too much, move about rapidly. If you are famished, make broader plans. If you are old, plan in advance.
If you have eaten too much and do not move about rapidly, your qi will not flow through your limbs.
If you are famished and do not make broader plans, your hunger will not be alleviated.
If you are old and do not plan in advance, then when you are in straits you will be quickly exhausted.

Section 17: The magnanimous qi

Enlarge your heart and be daring; make your qi magnanimous and broad.
With form at rest and unmoving, you will be able to guard your oneness and discard a myriad burdens.
On seeing profit, you will not be enticed. On seeing danger, you will not be frightened. With easy magnanimity you will be jen,
and alone, you will delight in your person. This is called cloud-like qi,
for thoughts float in it as clouds in heaven.

Section 18: Moderation

All human life must rest upon contentment. Through cares its guiding lines are lost. Through anger its source is lost. When there is care or sadness, joy or sorrow,
the Dao finds no place.
Loves and desires–quiet them! If you encounter disorder, put it right. Draw nothing near, push nothing away;
blessings will spontaneously come to stay. The Dao comes spontaneously,
you may rely upon it to shape your plans. If you are tranquil you will grasp it;
agitated, you will lose it.
The magical qi within the heart, now it comes, now departs.
It is so small that there can be nothing within it. It is so great that there can be nothing outside it. It is lost through the harm of agitation. If the heart can grip tranquility,
the Dao will spontaneously fix itself therein.
In he who grasps the Dao it steams through the lines of his face and seeps from his hair.
There is no failing within his breast. With the Dao of moderating desires,
the things of the world cannot harm him.

Reference:
GUANZI 管子 : THE INNER ENTERPRISE (Neiye 內業)
R. Eno, Indiana University, 2005
www.indiana.edu/~p374/Neiye.pdf

Original Tao: Inward Training (Nei-yeh) and the Foundations of Taoist Mysticism (Translations from the Asian Classics) by Harold Roth
ISBN 0231115652

Further indications concerning Zhan zhuang

1.Before starting post standing you should have already empty your bowels, avoiding from interrupting your post standing,

2.Before post standing you should loose your tie and belt, take off your watch, open shoelaces so that all limbs feel free to move.

3.For beginner in post standing and convalescent practitioner with weaker body, during your post standing exercise you should not close your eyes. Later when you can reach during each training session at least 20 minutes of standing and feel relaxed and happy, than you can naturally close your eyes. But if when you are closing your eyes you feel dizzy or lack of balance, do not hesitate to reopen them and continue your training with eyes opened and looking to a fixed direction.

4.When post standing do not contract your lips but also do not leave your mouth open. Just keep it naturally closed. Upper lip and lower lip should keep a slight space with your teeth.

5.The therapeutical effects of post standing come mainly from the characteristics of the posture itself and your aptitude to maintain it. During this exercise you will progressively taste all different changes happening in your internal body. If you have difficulties to calm your mind you can for example count your breath cycles, a complete cycle including inhale/exhale. But in any case avoid from holding your breath or accelerate/prolong consciously your breath rate. Let your body install by itself breath rate instead of trying to control it.

6.The best time to practice post standing is during set sunrise/sunset where you are not exposed to the dazzling effect of sunshine. In winter and in autumn post standing becomes a very comfortable exercise at these periods of the day.

7.When you are practicing post standing indoor, make sure to refresh regularly the air, temperature should be suitable to the season and try your best to select a place with very quiet surroundings.

8. When leg’s muscles are initiating vibrations and your body is starting to sway forward and backward, at this time you should pay attention to control the swaying amplitude: not too large and rather slow. You can use swaying leftward/rightward to control swaying forward/backward. Your swaying movements should be rather reduced in amplitude and low in frequency.

9.At the end of your post standing, you should reduce gradually the amount of physical effort you are enduring: slowly straighten up your both legs, slightly lower your both hands, place back of both hands on your lower back (in front of kidneys) and rest 2-3 minutes. Wait that any sensation of tingling, souring, swelling and aching in four limbs has completely disappear before changing posture.

10.Concerning people suffering from insomnia and more generally practitioner planning their post standing exercise before sleeping, there are two categories of possible scenarios: a.Just after ending the post standing session, If one will rapidly fall asleep: one belongs to the “apathetic” type. In this case one can practice post standing just before going to bed. b.After post standing one will be rather excited: one belongs to the “nervous” type. In this case the best option is to practice 2-3 hours before sleeping, so that one will have around 1-2 hours to rest, slow down one’s excitement and prepare to a normal sleeping process.

11. Below half hour before or after meal, post standing is not suitable as it is preferable to avoid interference with the normal course of your appetite and digestion.

12. For women in period of menstruation, in the case that there is no perception of discomfort, they can continue post standing exercise but it is recommended to reduce the global amount of physical effort involved in training. If there is any undesirable reaction, they should immediately rest and wait to pass their period of menstruation to restart again post standing.

Reference: Zhan zhuang and the Search of Wu by Yu Yong Nian p. 42 – 44

Zhineng Qigong How to Feel Chi

r. Ming Pang – The founder of Zhineng Qigong showed his students how to feel chi through La Chi.

La Chi is a method to gather chi (life energy) between the palms through pulling open and pushing close the hands. Chi collected can be used for healing.

Reference: http://www.youtube.com/user/Yuanjue

Literature:
Life More Abundant: The Science of Zhineng Quigong – Principles & Practice by Xiaoguang Jin, Joseph Marcello, Ming Pang

Guarding the One

Attainment of the Prime of the One
Is not a gift from Heaven.
Realization of Great Nonbeing
Is the state of highest immortality.

Light restrained, a hidden brilliance,
The body one with nature:
There is true peace, won but not pursued.
Script kept forever at rest.

In serenity and beauty: this is perfection!
Body and inner nature, hard and soft,
All is but cinnabar vapor, azure barrens.
One of the highest sages-

Only after a hundred years
The tomb is discovered empty.

Reference:
The Taoist Experience: An Anthology
by Liva Kohn
ISBN 0791415805

p. 215 Xuanzhu xinjing zhu (Mysterious Pearly Mirror of the Mind)

Patting Methods

Patting is a simple massage therapy for keeping fit and is helpful for strengthening the tendons and bones, developing muscle tissue, lubricating the joints, improving blood circulation, reinforcing functions of internal viscera and metabolism.

Patting is performed by oneself with hands or fists. After patting, the body feels light, clear, comfortable and quickened. This method is more flexible, active, practical and effective than passive massage. Patting with a racket made of steel wire or a sand bag is also effective.

patting_fig_249-2541. Patting the Head

A walking or standing posture may be assumed. Stand still and relax the whole body. Drop shoulders and elbows; smile. Stand still while patting. For a walking posture, walk slowly and pat while walking. Pat left side of upper part of head with left palm, right side with right palm, from front to back of head, for fifty rounds. Then pat the right and left sides for another fifty rounds. Count silently, the mind calm, breathing naturally.

Persistent practise can prevent and threat dizziness, headache, insufficient blood supply, etc.

2. Patting Upper Extremities

Starting position same as before. Pat four sides of left arm from above downward, patting each side twenty-five rounds (divided into five times, each five rounds). Pat right arm for a total of one or two hundred rounds.

Prevents or relieves poor muscle growth of upper extremity, cyanosis of the end of limbs, numbness of upper extremity, hemilplegia, etc.

3. Patting Both Shoulders

Starting position same as before. First, pat left shoulder with right palm, then pat right shoulder with left palm. Pat alternatively for fifty to one hundred rounds.

Prevents and cures inflammation of perishoulder tissues, frozen shoulder, under development of muscles, atelectasis, etc.

patting_fig_255-2594. Patting Back

Starting position same as before. Pat left side of back with right fist, right side of back with left fist, each one to two hundred times.

Prevents and cures backache, chronic bronchitis, pulmonary emphysema, atelectasis, underdevelopment of muscles, coronary heart disease , arteriosclerotic heart disease, arteriosclerosis, etc.

5. Patting Chest

Alternatively pat chest with opposite fist or palm. Pat downward, the upward. Do one to two hundred rounds each side.

Prevents and cures coronary ateriosclerotic heart disease, hypertensive heart disease, rheumatic heart disease, pulmonary emphysema, cor pulmonale, underdevelopment of muscles, etc.

6. Patting Waist and Abdomen

Pat with palms or fists. Move upper extremities by rotating torso on waist axis and pat left abdomen with right hand, right side of small back with left hand; then switch side. Pat upper, middle and lower side of small of back. Do one to two hundred times each side.

Prevents and cures soreness of waist, lumbago, hyperplasia of bones, dyspepsia, abdominal distention, constipation, etc.

patting_fig_260-2637. Patting Buttocks

Pat left buttock with left palm or fist and right buttock with right hand or fist. Do fifty to a hundred times.

Prevents and cures sciatica, atrophy of hip muscles, hypoplasia, numbness, etc.

8. Patting Legs

Stand erect. Raise left leg so thigh and lower leg form right angle. Rest heel of left foot on support (such as a tree branch or fence) Slap leg from thigh towards foot on all four sides. Do five to ten times on each side, each time containing one to two hundred rounds, five beats for each round. Do the same to the opposite side.

Prevents and cures maldevelopment of leg muscles, hemiplegia, paraplegia, cyanosis of leg, numbness and myasthenia of leg, difficulty of lifting feet when walking.

Remarks: When patting, go from light to heavy and do it consistently.

Reference:
Keep Fit the Chinese Way: Traditional Chinese Therapeutic Exercises and Techniques
Compiled by Hu Bin and Translated by Cai Jingfeng
ISBN 9787119009087

p. 156 – 161