This exercise is very good for healing your internal organs. Through the guidance of your mind and the movement of your hands, the heart energy and the kidney energy join during this exercise opening many blockages in the body.
Again, you may do this exercise standing, sitting, or lying down. Use the same body positions as in the Beginning of the Universe and remember to place your tongue gently against the roof of your mouth.
• Continue to breathe deeply and gently as you raise your right hand, the Yang male energy, to the upper
Three Basic Spring Forest Qigong Exercises chest while you raise your left hand, the Yin female energy, to the lower stomach.
• Your hands and fingers remain slightly open to receive energy, with your palms facing your body, without touching the body, to create a sensation of emptiness.
• As you raise your hands, visualize a transparent energy column in the middle of your torso shining with beautiful colors. This energy column runs from the top of your head to the bottom of your torso. The size of the energy column depends upon your visualization. (If you have difficulty holding this visualization, don’t force it. Simply say it once in your mind and then know that the energy column is there.)
• Hold this position for about 30 seconds, longer if you wish, then slowly start moving your hands. Your right hand moves out and down to the bottom of the torso while your left hand moves in and up to your face. Again, your hands do not touch your body. • Continue moving your hands slowly in this circular pattern. Your hands move at a rate of 3 to 5 circles each minute.
• While moving your hands, visualize the energy moving up and down the transparent column and visualize the channels in the torso opening completely. (If you have difficulty holding this visualization, just say it once in your mind. Then, feel confident the transparent energy column is there and focus on guiding the energy with your hands. Feel the energy moving. This is a relaxed focus. It shouldn’t feel forced.)
Do this exercise for 5 to 10 minutes or longer if you can. The more time you spend doing this exercise the deeper you will start to go into the emptiness.
Born A Healer: I was born a healer. You were born a healer, too!
by Chunyi Lin / Gary Rebstock
This exercise helps bring your focus back into your body and wake up your internal energy.
When doing this exercise while sitting, try to sit up and keep the spine straight.
When doing this exercise while lying down, lie on your back and keep your spine as straight as possible.
When doing this exercise while standing, stand straight with your toes pointing forward and bend your knees a little. (If you want to lose weight bend your knees a little more.)
Set your feet a little more than shoulder width apart for good balance while standing.
Eyes look forward. An Introduction To Qigong
Wear a smile on your face to relax every part of the body and stimulate your brain to produce endorphins.
Draw your chin back a little to straighten the entire spine. Energy travels up and down the spine in the governing channel more easily when the spine is straight.
Drop your shoulders and move your elbows outward a little.
Open your hands and gently spread your fingers. When you open your fingers you open many energy channels in the body. When you close your fingers you close these channels.
Slowly take a deep, silent, gentle breath through your nose. As you breathe in, draw the lower stomach in a little. As you breathe out, let your stomach out. This makes it easier for the Yin and Yang energies to communicate with each other and create balance.
Imagine using your whole body to breathe. Visualize the universal energy coming into every cell of your body and collecting in the lower Dantian. This is a primary energy center in your body. The lower Dantian is located in the area behind your navel.
When you exhale, visualize any pain or sickness changing into smoke and shooting out from every cell of your body to the end of the universe.
Gently close your eyes and lips.
Now say the password in your mind: “I am in the universe. The universe is in my body. The universe and I combine together.”
Continue breathing slowly, deeply and gently and feel the emptiness, the quietness, the stillness of the universe.
Do this exercise for 2 to 3 minutes or longer if you have the time.
Born A Healer: I was born a healer. You were born a healer, too!
by Chunyi Lin / Gary Rebstock
Li Jun Feng embodies the spirit of Sheng Zhen, Unconditional Love. As the leading teacher of the International Sheng Zhen Society, he is the moving force behind bringing Sheng Zhen Wuji Yuan Gong practices to the world.
Master Li perhaps is best known as having been the headcoach of the world-renowned Beijing Wushu (Martial Arts) Team and National WushuTeam of the People’s Republic of China for over 15 years. Under his leader ship,these teams consistently won first place in both national and international competitions for over 12 years, bringing unprecedented honor to the country and elevating the standards of excellence and quality worldwide.
During those years, Master Li also achieved international fame as a martial arts film actor and director.Today, Master Li serves as advisor to the World Academic Society of Medical Qigong and the Qigong Science Research Association of China. He is based in Austin, Texas USA and travels extensively sharing this wonderful practice throughout the world.
Author: Master Yao ChengRong
Translator: J. P. Lau
Translator’s Note: In English, “Yi” means mind or intent, “Quan” means fist or martial art, “Ru” means enter or cross and “Men” means door or threshold. The literal meaning of the phrase “Yiquan Rumen” is “the learning of the rudiments of Yiquan”.
A lot of Yiquan enthusiasts know that Yiquan training involves several categories including Relaxed Standing (Zhan Zhuang), Trial & Feel (Shi Li), Footwork (Jou Bu), Release of Power (Fa Li), Push Hands (Tui Shou), Sparring (San Shou) and Breath Control (Shi Sheng).
However, some are still “wandering outside looking for the door”.
What are the theory and basic principles of Yiquan?
In the mid 1920s, with Xing Yi Quan as foundation and incorporating the essence of numerous other styles into the grand synthesis, martial arts expert Master Wang XiangZhai created Yiquan (a.k.a. Da Cheng Quan).
He rejected the traditional obsessions with intricate forms of pattern and sequences of movement as training method and emphasized the simplicity of essence.
By elevating “Yi” to a central position in martial arts training, he emphasized the supreme importance of the intentional component of the mind.
Master Yao ZhongXun, designated successor of Master Wang XiangZhai, further explained that training of the mind alone is not Yiquan as is not physical practice alone.
The two must be combined.
The essence can only be cultivated by integration of the mind and body.
Visualization or mental imagery must be employed in relaxed standing (Zhan Zhuang) to direct an integrated neuromuscular coordination that results in a whole-body response.
Kinesthetic perception of the internal/external opposing force pairs (Zheng Li) and internal isometrics is developed to seek, sense, experience, cultivate, understand and master the whole-body balanced force (Hun Yuan Li).
This balanced force is always in perfect harmony, having no absolute direction but having the potential to release power explosively in any direction.
It can be cultivated by using mental imagery to direct your neuromuscular coordination practice, seeking movement in stillness and power from not using brute force.
With proper mental visualization, relaxed standing exercises integrates your mind and body into a well-coordinated springy whole-body and allows you to rediscover your innate ability for natural movement.
In any athletic event, speed and force are primary qualities.
These are controlled by your muscular relaxation/tension exchange.
Since muscular activity is controlled by the mind, Yiquan emphasizes that the proper use of relaxation (Song) and tension (Jin) must be both physical and mental.
Only a well-coordinated whole-body can enhance your capacity to react spontaneously and appropriately to any situation.
2. How to use directed mental imagery (visualization) to guide training?
Prior to Zhan Zhuang, relax mentally and physically; enter into a tranquil state with the conscious mind holding no deliberate thought.
Stand erect; feet shoulder width apart; outside edges of feet approximately parallel.
Keep your spine erect and imagine a string pulling the top of your head upwards, tuck-in the chin slightly as if holding a small balloon between it and the neck.
The head and neck should be held erect.
Relax the facial muscles; almost smile.
Direct your eyes to a distant object; imagine looking through a light fog. Lightly touch the teeth together.
Part the mouth slightly.
Allow the tongue to lie naturally; do not be concerned with it touching any particular place in the mouth.
Bend the knees slightly; visualize holding a balloon between your knees.
Imagine applying inward pressure below your knees and outward pressure above your knees.
Relax the lower back filling out the small of the back as if you are sitting on a high stool.
Lift hands up to shoulder level with your hands separated by a distance of two to three fists and about a foot from your chest.
Form a circle with your arms; hands higher than your elbows; palms facing your face.
Prop your elbows out to your sides slightly below the level of the shoulders as if holding balloons in your armpits.
Keep your fingers slightly bent and separated; imagine holding cotton balls between your fingers.
It is important to keep the shoulders down and relaxed.
Imagine holding small fragile balloons in the armpits; lowering your upper arms will crush them; lifting your upper arms will drop them.
This is the basic health posture; adjust your posture whenever necessary until you are absolutely comfortable.
Next, use directed mental imagery to guide your training to “feel for the balanced force” (Mo Jin) while maintaining this posture.
Visualize imaginary springs connecting your fingers from one hand to the other and connecting your wrists to your neck.
Imagine holding a lightweight fragile paper balloon between your arms and chest.
Applying too much force will crush this balloon; not enough force will result in dropping it.
Direct your primary intent to hugging (slightly more closing intent, 70% than spreading open intent, 30%).
Direct these actions with your mind-intent; do not use any brute strength.
Alternatively, you may visualize imaginary supports at your elbows; imagine transferring your weight to these supports without changing your posture.
Now, remove the imaginary supports but maintain your posture without using any unnecessary force.
Keep all joints in a state between total relaxation and tension that allows for gentle and supple movement.
It is a state with alertness and readiness for action without being physically lax, physically collapse or diminished in consciousness.
Visualize standing in waist deep water; imagine the water flows towards you from the front, shift your weight forward to meet the resistance.
But imagine the water immediately pushes from your back; you must immediately shift your weight backwards to meet the resistance.
Alternatively, imagine trapping an ant under each foot.
As the ants attempts to escape towards your toes, gently shift your weight forward to trap them.
Then as they attempt to escape towards your heels, gently shift your weight backwards to trap them.
Thus, you repeat this forward/backward shift to meet resistance and seek movement in stillness to cultivate whole-body force.
Always maintain perfect balance.
Use visualization to induce whole-body movement.
Next, use inherent opposites (Mao Dun) to cultivate opposite force pairs (Zheng Li).
Visualize holding a balloon between your knees, apply inward pressure below your knees and outward pressure above your knees.
Visualize imaginary springs connecting your fingers from one hand to the other and connecting your wrists to your neck.
As you shift your weight backwards, simultaneously pull your knees apart slightly, pull your hands backwards, outwards and upwards slightly; as you shift your weight forwards, simultaneously squeeze your knees together slightly, press your hands forward, downwards and inwards slightly.
Remember always to maintain the vertical opposing force pair between your head and your feet mildly stretching your spine.
Do this “motionless movement” with mental intent with small or no physical movement.
Use directed mental imagery to guide your whole-body neuromuscular coordination, as one part of your body moves, your whole-body must move in unison.
3. Some frequently asked questions?
How to relax in Zhan Zhuang?
Relaxation in Zhan Zhuang is not total and/or pure relaxation.
Strength/force is used to maintain your posture and to cultivate your balanced force through mental visualization induced motionless movement.
Relaxation is emphasized to avoid stiffness in using strength, to achieve a relaxation/tension state that allows for gentle and supple movement with alertness and readiness for action.
Pure relaxation leading to physical laxness and diminished consciousness is to be avoided.
How big or small should the motionless movement be?
During Zhan Zhuang, the magnitude of your body movement must be small enough for you to maintain perfect balance. Absolute stillness will induce stiffness and tenseness; big motion will disturb your balance.
Feel free to adjust your posture whenever necessary to be absolutely comfortable.
Visualization induced small whole-body motion keep your standing “alive”.
How long should I stand; is the longer the better?
There are two goals in Zhang Zhuang: improving health and cultivate the balanced force.
you turn Zhan Zhuang into an endurance practice by seeking only to lengthen your standing time, then you have missed the real meaning; you are doing “dead” standing.
You must use visualization to direct your whole-body neuromuscular coordination to seek movement in stillness, to cultivate the internal opposing force pairs and to master your balanced force.
Always practice with focused concentration and comfortable natural ease.
Breathe naturally; specifically do not pay attention to breathing; do not hold your breath.
Match your physical and mental condition to the length of your training time; do not overstress your abilities.
How do I know if I have “crossed the threshold” (Rumen)?
When you can use visualization to:
direct your neuromuscular coordination practice,
use kinesthetic perception to seek/sense the balance
‘In the fully energized state, “every hair is fully alert.” The state of relaxed arousal is what is meant by the chinese term “sung.” This is not the drowsy torpor before sleep. It is the release of tension that saps our strength – so that we become alert, clearheaded and full of vigor. Your head is uplifted and your eyes open, while letting go of physical tension in your muscles and organs.’
The tricks for reaching a deep meditative mind are: do not resist, do not concentrate, do not persist, and most importantly of all, dot not be disturbed emotionally.
In meditation, the more you restrict your mind from wandering, the more it will try to escape your control. It is like trying to force your self to sleep – it just cannot be done. The mind is very stubborn and cannot be pushed. It can, however be led. Like water, the more you push, the more ways it will find to get around you. But if you led it correctly, it will flow smoothly even into the deepest places.
Moreover, when you meditate in this way, you should not concentrate. To much concentration will only generate greater resistance. Instead, simply pay attention. Concentration will make you tired and tense. This will worsen the situation. You should not allow your mind to dwell upon thoughts or problems occurring outside of your body. When you notice that your mind is constantly returning to the same thought patterns, bring it gently back to the center of your spirit. The center of your spirit is located at what is called the third eye, in the center of your forehead. Remember that deep, even breathing can help you achieve and maintain this metal centering.
Above all, never become upset with your self if you have difficulty leading your mind into a deep meditative state. Emotional disturbance will only create more tension in your mind, and further hamper your efforts.
Shaolin White Crane Martial Power and Qigong by Dr. Yang, Jwing Ming
One must always maintain a calm heart even when influenced by the seven emotions; joy, anger, happiness, worry, sadness, fear and surprise. The heart must remain as calm as still water, never allowing any personal desires to stir up a ripple of disturbance. My thoughts are pure, in spirit I seek to forget myself and transcend the common affairs of the world, keeping my life simple and my desires few. With a clear heart, I do not contend with others or make demands upon the world, but rather seek to contribute what I can for the benefit of all, aiding those in need and protecting those in danger.
Without desire one is strong, without desire one is quiet, without desire one may return to what is natural, without desire one returns to the original state. With a heart still like water, from the extreme stillness will spring action, from the void comes that which is alive, yin and yang are in harmony and the qi flows unimpeded. With a heart still like water qi is sufficient and the spirit full. When the qi is sufficient and the spirit is full, the organs functions normally, the blood is nourished, the meridians, nerves, digestion, and circulation are all healthy and the metabolism stimulated. When the factors which prevent aging all are strong, one may prevent illness and live a long healthy life.
Humans are holistic beings which are possessed by of a certain vitality. The spirit and flesh are inseparable and form a complicated entity. The human vitality supports, influences, and is responsive to the person as a whole, while the spirit is the leader and controller, the “commander-in-cheif” of the being as a whole. Under certain circumstances, it can be said that the spirit “pulls at one hair and the whole body follows” or at the slightest stirring of the spirit the whole being responds, and each movement of the spirit has a real effect on the individual. Therefore I put special emphasis on the spirit as the leader, ever strengthening my resolve to cultivate my spirit, maintain calmness of the heart and become as pure as light without a speck of dust. This is akin to the meaning of a Song Dynasty poet who wrote “to understand the highest virtue,” applied to the present time. Better yet, this cultivation of the spirit and the heart will improve the physical constitution of the people, protect their health, and contribute to a long and healthy life.
NOTE: The following article is based on teachings at a recent Push-hands Seminar conducted by Zhang Yun in Philadelphia. It was edited by Dr. Susan Darley, a student of Zhang Yun for the past five years.
Zhan Zhuang – Pile standing is the most common training method in traditional Chinese martial arts. Almost every style and group has its own version of this useful practice. Whatever the variation, pile standing involves holding a fixed posture for a period of time. Occasionally, the posture may include a few uncomplicated shifts of position, but usually it requires that the practitioner stand still, like a piling or pole. Because the movements of pile standing are easy and simple compared to many other training methods, pile standing allows practitioners to concentrate more fully on the details of internal training.
Taiji Quan is an internal martial art and one of its primary goals is internal training. The first step in such training is to increase one’s control of the internal components Shen (spirit), Yi (mind) and Qi. Pile standing is a particularly effective way to accomplish this control. Increase in control of the internal components gradually creates feelings that cause subtle adjustments in the body. These internal alterations, in turn, increase one’s energy and abilities.
The process of increasing internal control happens slowly, so much time must be allowed for this practice and the training must be careful and regular. For beginners, practice should occur daily and for a period of at least one hundred days. A given pile stance should be held for as many minutes as the correct flow of mind and Qi can be maintained. Holding a pile stance in this way for 15 to 20 minutes will produce significant gains in the development of basic skills.
In traditional Taiji Quan practice, pile standing is a commonly used training method, especially for beginners, and “Qixing Zhuang” or Seven-Star Pile Standing is the most frequently practiced Wu style Taiji Quan training stance. Careful practice of seven-star pile standing can significantly enhance the development of rooting, internal energy, relaxation, sensitivity, body integration, and control of the internal components.
Seven-Star Pile Standing
Although the original meaning of seven-star is “plough,” the phase in traditional Chinese martial arts usually refers to the seven key acupoints on the body. These points are very important for martial arts practice. They are: the “head star” at Baihui point (on the top of the head); the “shoulder star” at Jianjing point (on the Yang-side shoulder); the “elbow star” at Quchi point (on the elbow of the Yang-side arm); the “hand star” at Laogong point (on the Yang-side palm); the “hip star” at Huantiao point (on the Yang-side hip); the “knee star” at Yanglingquan point (on the knee of the Yang-side leg); and the “foot star” at Yongquan point (on the ball of the Yang-side foot).
In Taiji Quan practice, each side of the body is considered separately. The Yang side is the active and insubstantial (unweighted or empty) side; the Yin side is the quiet and substantial (weighted) side. Each side includes one leg and the opposing arm. The Yin and Yang qualities are exchanged whenever movements involve weight shifts. This changing of Yin and Yang sides is the source of all Taiji skills.
The Yin-side leg is the leg that holds most or all of the body’s weight, while the Yang-side or empty leg bears none or only a relatively small amount of weight. The arm on the side of the body opposite from the Yin leg is considered to be the Yin-side arm and, likewise, the Yang-side arm is on the opposite side of the body from the Yang leg. When, for example, the right leg is weighted, this leg is the Yin or Yin-side leg, and the left leg is the Yang leg. The right arm is the Yang arm, and the left arm is the Yin arm.
Because the Yang side is the active side, the focus of the mind during a stationary posture such as seven-star pile standing is always on this side. In seven-star pile standing, six of the seven stars on which the mind will focus are on the Yang side arm and leg. Baihui, the head star, is also called Ding Pan Xin or “criterion” star. It is of primary importance for maintaining Zhong Ding or central equilibrium. Because it never changes, it is not associated with either side of the body. One of the foremost goals of seven-star pile standing is to increase the smooth, free-flowing movement of the internal components along the seven key points.
Seven-Star Pile Standing Movement Description
The basic movement of seven-star pile standing is the same as the Hold Seven-Star posture in the empty-hand form. This posture is one of the most important in the form. In this posture, a sitting stance is used, which keeps one hundred percent of the weight on one leg. When you hold this posture, if your weight is on the right leg and your left arm is extended in front of your body, you are in a “left posture”; otherwise, you are in a “right posture.” Here, we will just describe the left posture. For the right posture, everything is same except the designation of sides, which should be reversed.
Stand facing forward with your feet parallel. There should be a distance of about the width of one fist (about 4 inches) between your feet. Relax your mind and body. Make your breathing slow, deep and smooth.
Slowly rock from side-to-side letting your feet move as necessary to achieve a comfortable stance. The distance between your feet at this point should be wider than one fist, but the maximum distance should not exceed the distance between the left and right shoulders.
Think about a vertical line connecting the Jianjing point on each shoulder to the Yongquan point on the corresponding foot. Keep your breathing smooth and your body relaxed. Feel as though your body is sinking slightly down. This will create a sense of stability and heaviness. Soon you will feel as though you are starting to become sleepy. From this point on, you should not try to control your breathing in any way; just forget about it and let it occur naturally.
As soon as you notice the sleepiness, focus your mind on the Baihui point at the top of your head to bring your Shen (spirit) up. This will create a sense of alertness. Ideally, you can become so alert that it is possible to feel the air moving along your body. Although you are standing still with your eyes looking forward, this alertness will allow you to be aware of whatever may be going on around you. Do not let your gaze fasten on any particular object but remain relaxed and attentive.
(1) Sinking Down of the Body
From Baihui, bring your mind to the left Jianjing point and let your left shoulder fully relax so that your left arm feels as though it could effortlessly be detached from your body.
Next, focus your mind on the left Quchi point on your left elbow and then move it down to the left Laogong point on your left hand. As your mind moves down to your left hand, you will feel like bending your legs. Follow this feeling and let your body sink down. Your body will feel heavy and your stance will become very stable. In spite of the sensation of heaviness, you should feel as though there is a spring inside your leg that balances the downward push of your body. Your left hand should also feel heavy and as though the palm is reaching downward to touch the floor. At this point, the fingers of both hands should point forward and both palms should face down.
(2) Extension of the Left Arm and Weight-Shift to the Right Leg
Keep your mind on your left hand until you feel as though your left arm wants to move up. Then let the arm move forward and up follow this feeling. Remember that it is always important in Taiji Quan practice to concentrate the mind and then wait until the feeling for a movement exists before you actually execute the movement. As expressed in a classic tenet of Taiji practice, movement always occurs: “First in mind, then in body.”
As your mind continues to focus on the left Laogong point of your left hand, your weight should start to shift to your right leg. Then, bring your mind to the left Quchi point on your left elbow and continue shifting your weight to the right leg as your left arm continues to move up and forward on a slight diagonal to the right.
As your mind moves to the Jianjing point on your left shoulder, your weight should shift completely to your right leg, and your left arm should be extended in front of you with the elbow slightly bent and the left thumb opposite your nose. Throughout the movement of your left arm, you should feel as though your shoulder has been chasing your elbow which, in turn, has been chasing your hand.
At the end of this movement, your right leg should be fully weighted and your right toes, right knee, and nose should be aligned in a vertical line. Your left leg should be completely empty.
(3) Extension of the Right Arm
Now, move your mind from the left to the right Jianjing point and feel your right arm become relaxed. Only when you feel as though your right arm wants to move up, should you let this movement occur.
As your mind moves down to the Quchi point on your right elbow and then to the Laogong point on your right hand, your right arm should continue to move up and forward on a slight diagonal toward the center of your body until your right middle finger touches the crook of your left elbow. Your right thumb should point to Tanzhong point (in the middle of your chest and at the level of your nipples).
(4) Extension of the Left Leg and Upward Turn of the Left Palm
Next, let your mind focus first on the Tangzhong point and then down to Dantian (inside the abdomen about three inches behind the navel). Let your mind remain briefly at Dantian before moving it to the Huiyin point (on the perineum midway between the sexual organs and the anus). Focus your mind next on the Huantiao point on your left hip.
When your mind is focused on your left hip, wait until your left leg seems ready to move of its own accord before letting it begin to extend outward in front of your body.
From the left hip, bring your mind respectively to the Yanglingquan point on your left knee and then to the Yongquan point on your left foot. Your left leg should continue to move forward and when it is fully extended, your body will have assumed a sitting stance with your left heel touching the floor and your toes pointing up.
While your left leg moves forward, your left palm, which had been facing to the right side, should turn up in a counterclockwise direction. It is important when you turn your palm that your left thumb does not move but instead remains opposite your nose, having acted as a pivot point for the upturning palm.
(5) Completion of the Opening Circle of the “Hold Seven-Star” Posture
When your mind is focused on the Yongquan point of your left foot, it will have moved through all of the seven “stars,” three of which – the shoulder, elbow and hand – are on the Yang arm and three of which – the hip, knee and foot – are on the Yang leg. The seventh or “criterion” star is Baihui at the top of the head. To complete the opening circle, you should bring your mind from the left foot star back to Baihui. This insures that your Shen will be up, thereby creating a sense of nimbleness along with the stability that has been achieved through taking the stance.
Having assumed the “seven-star” pile standing, you now begin to move your mind and Qi through as many circuits around the seven key points as possible. Typically, you should try to work your way up to holding the stance and maintaining the circling of mind and Qi for increasing periods of time.
(6) Circling of Mind during Seven-Star Pile Standing
Although pile standing is a stationary practice, all the internal components should be in continuous movement inside your body during the maintenance of the stance. It is in this sense that pile standing is an internal practice. The internal movement of Shen, Yi and Qi will always bring some feeling or tendency toward physical movement. It is said that to intend something will lead or direct the mind, that the mind can then be used to lead Qi and that Qi, in turn, can be used to create the urge to move.
To begin the first small circle of seven-star pile standing, bring your mind from the “head star” Baihui to the right “shoulder star” Jianjing and then to the right “elbow star” Quchi and on to the right “hand star” Laogong. From here, your mind should move, with Qi following, through your right thumb to Tanzhong.
To begin the first big circle, bring your mind from Tanzhong to Dantian and then to the left “hip star” Huantiao, onto left “knee star” Yanglingquan and then to the left “foot star” Yongquan. Your mind should then move immediately from the big toe of your left foot in a large imaginary circular path back to Baihui.
At this point, move your mind straight down from Bahui to the Yongquan point on the bottom of your right foot. Your body will feel heavy and there will be a strong sensation of compression in your right leg. Bring your mind to your extended left palm and imagine that your right foot is resting on that palm so that your left hand is holding up your whole body. This will lead you to feel that your body is sinking down more and more onto your right leg. As this occurs, imagine the force increasing on your left hand as it supports your sinking body.
Maintain this thought until you feel as though your right leg is very hot and as though you cannot hold your body up any longer. Then, let your mind return to Baihui. This will cause you feel more relax and your right leg to become more comfortable. Begin another circuit of your mind through the “head star” acupoints (Fig. 5).
Repeat the circling of your mind as many times as your skill and strength allow. Maintain a sense of physical relaxation and stability while at the same time experiencing internal excitement and springiness. Thus, you will be enhancing your capacity for nimbleness of movement as well as increasing your root.
(7) Closing form
When you feel that you can no longer maintain enough focus to move your mind smoothly through the seven-star circles, it is the time to close your pile standing practice.
As your mind returns to Baihui at the end of the last seven-star circuit, withdraw your left foot back toward your body and place it alongside your right foot with both legs bent. Be careful not to raise your body up as you bring your left leg in.
At the same time, bring your arms back toward your body, letting your hands cross in front of your chest, a little bit higher than your nipples. Your gaze will naturally lower (Fig. 6) and you will be ready for the last mind and Qi circle practice, called Xiao Zhoutian or microcosmic orbit.
Xiao Zhoutian – Microcosmic Orbit
Move your mind to Dantian and then to Huiyin. At the same time, separate your hands slightly so that the tips of your middle fingers touch each other and likewise your index fingers and thumbs. Your nose should be directly above your middle fingers. Slowly start to move your hands down along the centerline of your body and simultaneously begin to straighten your legs so that your body gradually rises up.
As your hands move down, bring your mind to the Mingmen point at the center of your lower back. This point is also known as the first of the “three back gates.” Separate your middle fingers as your hands pass Tanzhong and make sure that your nose is directly above your index fingers.
Continue to push your hands slowly down in front of your body and bring your mind to the Jiaji point at the center of your upper back. As your mind moves up through this second “back gate” and your hands move down in front of the Zhongwan point between Tanzhong and your navel, separate the tips of your index fingers. Your nose should now be directly above your thumbs.
Bring your mind up to the third “back gate”, the Yuzhen point on the back of the head where the head joins the neck. Separate the tips of your thumbs as your hands pass the Shenqie point on your navel. Look forward and let your mind move up and return to the head star Baihui.
Let your hands relax alongside your body with each thumb touching the corresponding thigh and your fingers fanned slightly outward. At this point, your legs should be complete straight and your posture should be comfortably erect.
When your movement has finished, you will feel Qi flowing from Baihui down the front of your face like a gentle waterfall. Move your mind, followed by Qi, down to Dantian and then bring your fingers to rest along the sides of your legs.
Check your breathing. It should be smooth and perfectly calm. You should feel very comfortable and relaxed as you complete seven-star pile standing.
Seven-star pile standing can improve your understanding of both Taiji Quan principle and also the internal sensations that underlie the proper execution of many basic skills. These feelings and understanding will then refine your form practice. Pile standing and form practice can supplement each other. A traditional saying in Taiji Quan is: “One step, one pile,” which means that every movement in the Taiji form can be used as a pile standing practice and also that every movement in the form should be practiced as though it were a pile standing. Although pile standing is very important, for advance study, it should be combined in form practice generally. So that form is usually called Dong Zhuang – “Moving Pile Standing”. In fact Taiji Quan is a dynamic rather than a static expression of skills.
This type of qigong has been passed on by a Taoist priest by the name of Wang Zhenyi. While practising this type of qigong you should concentrate your attention on making the upper, middle and lower dantians linear. When you have made your three dantians linear, you will attain a very special and comfortable feeling and will almost forget everything. Your small and large circulations will automatically be open to qi. This type of qigong can help you recover quickly from fatigue. No mater how tired you are, you can completely recover after practising this qigong for fifteen minutes. You can do this type of qigong while standing, sitting, lying down, or when practising taijiquan or riding a bicycle. This qigong does not require any preparation or special procedure before stopping.
1. Soon after concentrating your mind in your upper dantian, shift your attention to the lower dantian (huiyin acupoint).
2. After getting the feeling of qi in the lower dantian, shift your mind to the middle dantian and arrange it in line with the upper and lower dantians in order to make the three dantians linear. Then imagine the three dantians as three spheres. You should carefully put the sphere of the middle dantian between the two spheres of upper and lower dantians. The middle sphere will slide out if you do it carelessly.
3. When the three dantians have been made linear, you will get a very special feeling and comfortable feeling. You should hold this feeling as long as possible. It can help you return to the “original state”, to cure diseases and promote your health. You should maintain this feeling and eliminate any distractions.
Relax and calming qigong by Wang Peisheng & Chen Guanhua