Philosophy principle qigong

Essences of Liu Zi Jue Health Preserving Formula

Zhang Mingliang, Ma Ling

We not only exercise zang fu-organs in Liu Zi Jue

As is known to all, in Liu Zi Jue the five elements, five voices and five zang-organs correspond with each other. For example, “he” (Chinese character“呵”)is a tongue voice corresponding with heart—fire, “hu” (Chinese character“呼”)is a larynx voice corresponding with spleen—earth, “chui” (Chinese character“吹”)is a lip voice corresponding with kidneys—water, “xu” (Chinese character“嘘”) (“xi” (Chinese character“嘻”)) is a teeth voice corresponding with liver (gallbladder)—wood and “xi” (Chinese character“呬”) is a dental voice corresponding with lungs—gold, “xi” (嘻) connects Shaoyang pulse which can unobstruct not only the gallbladder meridian but also the triple energizer pulse. As held in Chinese traditional medicine, “Shaoyang is the hub”. Qi of the whole body can be regulated by connecting Shaoyang, and the usage of triple energizer is just to unobstruct various Qi all over body. Therefore, there comes the correspondence with zang fu-organs in Liu Zi Jue, “xu- liver, he- heart, hu- spleen, xi- lungs, chui- kidneys and xi-triple energizer”. But from many years of teaching practices we have found that some people wrongly think that due to the correspondence of the above six characters with zang fu-organs, Health Qigong•Liu Zi Jue is to exercise zang fu-organs and has no connection with limb joints or mentality. But the fact is on the contrary. The key point resulting in this misunderstanding is mixture of differences between zang fu-organs in Chinese traditional medicine and western medicine.

As held in the doctrine of Viscera and Their Manifestations in traditional Chinese Medicine, human body is a unity with five zang-organs as the center. Every component of human body is its integral part no matter in respects of structure, performance or in physiopathology, while five zang-organs is the core of activities of human life. The six hollow organs together with other body parts as well as various spirits and emotions respectively belong to the five viscera, thus forming the five general systems of human body. The five general systems are mainly divided according to functions, which includes the whole body functions in the five viscera. In further detail, it can be divided into three levels, i.e. form, Qi and spirit. Form is body, Qi is the functions of body and spirit is spiritual awareness. Spiritual activities such as five minds of Shen (spirit), Hun (mind), Po (soul), Yi (willingness), Zhi (ambition)and seven emotions of Xi (joy), Nu (anger), You(worry), Si(anxiety), Bei(sadness), Kong(fear), Jing(panic) are closely connected with five viscera. It shows that in Liu Zi Jue we exercise the five systems and therefore the whole body. Exercise of the five systems equals exercise of the whole body internally and externally, thus overall regulating humans’ body and spirit.

Why is it Liu Zi Jue instead of Wu Zi Jue?

According to theories of traditional Chinese Medicine, human body is a unity consisting of five viscera, namely liver, heart, spleen, lungs and kidneys. Then someone might ask why it is Liu Zi Jue instead of Wu Zi Jue? This is related to the sixth Zi Jue—“xi” Zi Jue.

The “xi” Zi Jue corresponds with triple energizer. Triple energizer divides human body from the perspective of Qi, namely functions; it is a parallel concept with zang fu-organ. Triple energizers consist of upper energizer, middle energizer and lower energizer. Generally speaking, above diaphragm is upper energizer, which includes heart and lungs; between diaphragm and navel is middle energizer which includes spleen and stomach; below navel is lower energizer which includes liver and kidneys, large and small intestines and bladder. The upper energizer is like mist for its function is like rising mist. The middle energizer is like foam for its transport, decomposition and fermentation functions. The lower energizer is like ditch for it controls the water metabolism of human body, like a river flowing downwards.

The upper energizer, like mist, is upwards; the lower energizer, like ditch, is downwards and the middle energizer, like foam, is for transporting, it is from this perspective that triple energizers divide functions of human body. The upper energizer equals function of heart and lungs, middle energizer equals the function of spleen and stomach and lower energizer includes functions of liver and kidneys, regulating exercise of triple energizers is just regulating five viscera and further regulating the whole body. As said above, respective exercising of liver, heart, spleen, lungs and kidneys, together with exercise of triple energizers consist exercising of the entirety. To make it more impressive, in Liu Zi Jue every zang fu-organ is firstly exercised in linearity and then follows the whole body. So it was Liu Zi Jue instead of Wu Zi Jue that ancient people advocated. Besides, “the whole body” exercise is especially emphasized in theories of traditional Chinese medicine, so it is necessary to specially add an exercise aimed at triple energizers.

The sequence of practicing Liu Zi Jue

The sequence of practicing Health Qigong•Liu Zi Jue is arranged according to the mutual generation of five elements in the theory of five elements corresponding with zang fu-organs in traditional Chinese medicine. The liver corresponds with wood which flourishes in spring, the head of four seasons, so “xu” Zi Jue is firstly practices; heart corresponds with fire which can be generated from wood, so “he” Zi Jue is practiced second; spleen corresponds with earth which is generated from fire, so “hu” Zi Jue is practiced next; ”xi” Zi Jue is practiced after “hu” Zi Jue to regulate stomach, which corresponds with gold generated from spleen earth; kidneys corresponds with water, which is generated from gold, so followed nourish kidneys by practicing “chui” Zi Jue, finally the Qi of five organs are nourished. Triple energizers control Qi of the whole body. Finally practice “xi” Zi Jue to regulate triple energizers, which can make Qi and blood all over body flow smoothly to achieve the goal of health and long life.

The Liu Zi Jue is practiced in the sequence of mutual generation of five elements. The five elements theory in fact is a large and complicated knowledge which can be arranged as a chapter to learn in Traditional Chinese Medicine colleges. To make it easy to remember the corresponding sequence of Liu Zi Jue and five elements, here is a simple description to help memorizing. The method is: wood generates fire, for wood will be easily burn with fire; fire generates earth, for ashes after the fire extinguishes turns to earth; earth generate gold for gold originates from earth and is drawn from earth; gold generates water for heated gold will turn to liquid like water; and water generates wood for water nourishes wood.

Diagram of Mutual Generation of Five Elements

Liu Zi Jue is Qi Jue (qi formula) instead of voice formula

Pronunciation, mouth shape and breath are special practicing methods of Health Qigong•Liu Zi Jue, and also are the core, difficult and focus points to master the practicing method of Health Qigong•Liu Zi Jue. In practicing Liu Zi Jue, besides breathing in and out, we also adjust and control the upward-downward-inward-outward movement by using special mouth shape to respectively forming six special breathing and voicing methods as “xu, he, hu, xi, chui, xi” corresponding with liver, heart, spleen, lung, kidney and triple energizers of human body. The flowing line of breath going through throat, tongue, dental part, teeth and lips is closely connected with the mouth shape. Six special breath flowing methods are generated from six mouth shapes, which further influence the internal Qi and the functions of corresponding zang-fu organs. Pronunciation can be divided into two types, “breathe to voice” is producing sound, “breathe without voice” is tonguing, which are different from each other. Producing sound and tonguing are both to normalize mouth shape. The general requirement on practitioners is “breath without voice”.

From the perspective of pronunciation, we can normalize mouth shape by the method of pronunciation, control breath with normalized mouth shape and influence zang fu-organs with breath. Different mouth shape or pronunciation corresponds with different functions of Qi, so we exercise the zang fu-organs with different mouth shapes and pronunciations, in other word, we can influence zang fu-organs by controlling breath. This proves that breath instead of voicing is the key of breathing in Liu Zi Jue. Therefore, Liu Zi Jue is breath Zi Jue instead of voice Zi Jue. This is also why it was called “Liu Zi Qi (six-character qi)”, “Liu Qi Jue (six-qi formula)” or “Liu Zi Qi Jue (six-character qi jue)”.

The learning procedures of pronunciation, mouth shape and breath is, first normalize the mouth shape by method of correcting pronunciation, and then control the entry/exit of breath inside body with normalized mouth shape. Different thickness, size and location of breath in and out will regulate the Qi activity of different parts of zang fu-organs. The method of learning pronunciation, mouth shape and breath is, learn by an example of “xu” Zi Jue to analyze its pronunciation, mouth shape, breath and its method, corresponding zang fu-organs and functions. Get to know how to read and practice and why to practice like this etc and you will yield twice with half effort. Because other Zi Jue are just different in practicing methods, they have many similarities with “xu” Zi Jue in such aspects as their key points and principles.

Essences of Health Qigong Liu Zi Jue Health Preserving Formula

Liu Zi Jue (Six Healing Sounds)

Classic Philosophy qigong Taoism

The Wisdom of Dao Yin in Baopuzi

Dao Yin treats the condition ‘not yet sick’, it releases inharmonious energy. The movements must be practised in order to circulate energy without discomfort in the hundred joints. Without movement, blood remains blocked in the three places. Dao Yin uses this great rule to maintain health and is a subtle and complex technique for eliminating all diseases.

Bao Pu Zi by Ge Hong

Reference: Nourish the Blood, Tonify the Qi to Promote Longevity, and Calm and Concentrate the Mind to Regulate the Heart: Dao Yin Yang Sheng Gong Foundation Sequences 1 by Zhang Guangde

Philosophy qigong

Nutrition Philosophy of Qigong

Health Qigong is an embodiment of the excellent health-preserving culture of China, which has a history of thousands of years. As a health-preserving exercise, Health Qigong is based on traditional theories such as the Man-Nature Unity Theory, the Yin-Yang Theory, the Theory of Five Elements, and the Channel Theory. Its unique motion modes and rich theoretical content have determined the unique nutrition mode of Health Qigong.

1. Nutrition philosophy of Man-nature Unity

Man-Nature Unity is both a basic concept in the Chinese philosophy and an important theoretical basis for the Health Qigong Theory. “Nature” refers to all objective things in general, including the nature and human society and the rules of their variation. As a component part of the natural, man is inevitably subject to the influence of the changes of nature. This is why people say “one who wants to preserve health must carefully respect the nature”. A “nourishing Yang in spring and Yin in autumn and winter” health-preserving theory was first proposed in Huangdi’s Internal Classics.

And the concept of Man-Nature Unity has been fully embodied in the traditional food culture of our country. Internal Classics has clearly pointed out that proper dietary control is the key to longevity. For example Internal Classics: Suwen holds that flavors in compliance with the season rules are the guarantee for health, such as acid flavor in spring, bitter flavor in summer, spicy flavor in autumn, and salty flavor in winter. In addition, it is also believed in theories of traditional Chinese medicine that the dietary structures and dietary behaviors of the human kind must in concordance with the four seasons and the weather; otherwise they will have adverse effects on human health. Suwen: Antediluvian Primitive Theories points out that: “wise ancient people abode by the rules of Yin and Yang, followed the correct approaches, properly controlled their diets, led a regular life, and seldom overstrained themselves. Therefore they were able to preserve both the body and the spirit and live to the natural span of their lives.””

2. Nutrition philosophy of Yin-Yang Theory

Yin-Yang Theory states the unity of Yin-Yang opposites. It is a world outlook and methodology used to learn all things in the universe. In the field of Health Qigong, Yin-Yang Theory is used to account for the tissue structure, physiological functions, and pathological changes of the human body. And it is used to direct various kinds of training with an emphasis on the principle that “Yin and Yang must be clearly differentiated in the regulation of Qi flowing in channels”.

In traditional Chinese medicine, it is believed that all diseases of the human body, no matter how complicated, can be divided into Yin and Yang categories. The Yin and Yang natures of food need to be paid attention to in the nutritional mode of Health Qigong. Generally speaking, cold and cool foods are Yin-natured and provide heat-clearing, fire-purging, blood-cooling, and poison-neutralizing effects. Warm and hot foods are Yang-natured and provide cold-dissipating, channel-warming, vein-dredging, and Yang-boosting effects. The warm or hot nature is opposite to the cool or cold nature. All foods (e.g. ginger, fistular onion stalk, parsley) applicable to symptoms such as anemofrigid cold, fever, cold-aversion, running nose, and headache, foods (e.g dry ginger, black tea) applicable to symptoms such as stomachache, vomiting, and hot-drink preference, and foods (e.g. capsicum chilli and liquor) applicable to cold limbs, cold intolerance, and rheumatic joint pain are warm-natured or hot-natured foods. All foods used for hot-natured body constitution and symptoms are cool-natured or cold-natured foods.

For example when we practice Routine 1 “Swinging the Head and Lowering the Body to Relieve Stress” of Health Qigong•Ba Duan Jin, we can stimulate the Du Channel by crouching on both feet and swinging the coccygeal end and stimulate Dazhui Acupoint by swinging the head and thus to dredge the channels, reduce the heat, and remove excessive heart fire. If the practicer has great internal heat, we can add more Yin-natured foods to the diet such as duck meat, spinach, and bitter gourd, which will often boost the body-building effect.

3. Nutrition philosophy of the Theory of Five Elements

The five elements herein referred to are Wood, Fire, Metal, Water, and Earth. The Theory of Five Elements is a theory that explains the interrelations between things with the boosting and restraining relations between the five elements. In Health Qigong, the complicated things and phenomena exhibited in the life activities of man are categorized by means of analysis, classification, and deduction according to the characteristics of the five elements.

And the inter-promoting, inter-complementing, inter-restricting, and inter-checking relations between the liver, heart, spleen, lung, and kidney systems during the body-building and health-preserving process are explained and explored according to the inter-promoting, inter-complementing, inter-restricting, and inter-checking rules of the five elements. In traditional dietary health preservation, foods are divided into acid, bitter, sweet, spicy, and salty types that correspond to the five elements of Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. The Book of History: Hongfan states that: “Salty food is used for mild laxation, bitter food is used for fire reduction, acid food is used for correction, spicy food is used for transformation, and sweet food is used for sowing and reaping.” This explains the one-on-one matchup between the five elements and the five flavors. Internal Classics also states that: “spicy flavor provides dispersing effect, acid flavor provides astringing effect, sweet flavor provides relaxing effect, bitter flavor provides solidifying effect, and salty flavor provides softening effect”.”

For example, the “XU” in Health Qigong•Liu Zi Jue can release foul Qi from the liver and regulate the liver. Sufficient blood in the liver will benefit heart Yang and sufficient heart Yang will warm the spleen and remove damp. However the spleen prefers dryness. Excessively strong Yin blood in the liver will be actually adverse to the spleen Yang. Therefore we could eat some food that disperses the depressed liver energy and regulates the flow of Qi while practicing, such as celery, crowndaisy chrysanthemum, tomato, turnip, orange, pomelo, tangerine, citron, and finger citron to regulate the liver, and hyacinth beans, sorghum rice, pearl barley, buckwheat, chestnuts, lotus seeds, gordon euryale seeds, Chinese yam, jujube, carrot, cabbage, pumpkin, tangerines, and oranges to invigorate the spleen.

4. Nutrition philosophy of the Channel Theory

Channels include trunk channels and branch channels. They are passages that carry blood and Qi of the entire body, link internal organs, limbs, and joints, and connect the upper, lower, interior, and exterior parts of the body. The Channel Theory is the theoretical basis for both traditional Chinese medicine and Health Qigong.

It is believed in Health Qigong Theory that the Qi, blood, and body fluid of the human body cannot nourish the viscera and tissues until they are transported by the channel system to all parts of the body. Therefore we can dredge channels and regulate the viscera by properly stretching and turning limbs from time to time. Many exercises of Health Qigong are performed under the guidance of the Channel Theory.

For example, “Holding One Arm Aloft to Regulate the Functions of the Spleen and Stomach” of Health Qigong•Ba Duan Jin stimulates the related channels in the abdomen and sternocostal parts and Shu Acupoint in the back through the alternating up-down stretching motions of the left and right upper limbs. And eating some warm-natured or hot-natured food such as beef, mutton, onion, leek, ginger, or jujube during the practice will warm the body, excite the physiological functions, increase the vigor, and dredge the channels.

To sum up, perfect combination of the features of Health Qigong exercises with nutriology will boost the body-building effects of Health Qigong and further promote the development of Health Qigong. (Ding Yu)

Reference: Nutrition Philosophy of Health Qigong

Energy principle qigong

Mysteries of Chi