There are many other sets of Wai Dan exercises derived from Da Mo's sequence. In this section the most common Wai Dan sets will be introduced. These are the Open Palm Sequence, which moves power to the fingertips; Moving Forms for coordinating breathing with movement of the arms, legs, and trunk; and Eight Pieces of Brocade, a set of simple exercises well known throughout China. In addition, a set of Still Forms that can be used to develop stamina and flexibility are included.
Open Palm Sequence
The open palm forms train you to extend energy to the palms and fingertips. In this set, keep your hands open. The thumbs and little fingers are pulled back and tightened slightly so that energy is directed to the centers of the palms. To understand how to do this, imagine holding a basketball or large balloon in both hands without the thumbs or little fingers touching it.
This set of exercises has the same purpose as the Da Mo Wai Dan set, so the same rules and principles should be followed. However, instead of tensing your fists, the palms are tensed and the energy is continuously guided to the fingertips.
Form 1 (Figure 2-16). Your palms face the floor while your fingers point out to the sides. Imagine pushing down when exhaling, then relax when inhaling.
Form 2 (Figure 2-17). Your palms face your legs, fingers pointing down. Imagine pushing in towards your body when exhaling, then relax when inhaling.
Form 3 (Figure 2-18). Extend your arms out to the sides, palms facing up. Imagine pushing up when exhaling, then relax when inhaling.
Form 4 (Figure 2-19). Bend your arms and place your hands in front of your chest, palms facing each other, fingers pointing up. Imagine pushing your hands toward each other when exhaling, then relax when inhaling.
Figure 2-20 Figure 2-21
Form 5 (Figure 2-20). Extend your arms out to the sides, palms facing out, fingers pointing up. Imagine pushing out when exhaling, then relax when inhaling.
Form 6 (Figure 2-21). Bend your arms and place your hands in front of your chest again, this time with the palms touching. Imagine pushing in when exhaling, then relax when inhaling.
Form 7 (Figure 2-22). Extend your arms straight out in front of your body at shoulder height, palms facing forward, fingers pointing up. Imagine pushing forward when exhaling, then relax when inhaling.
Form 8 (Figure 2-23). Lift your arms straight up, palms facing up, fingers pointing toward each other. Imagine pushing up when exhaling, then relax when inhaling.
Form 9 (Figure 2-24). Lower your hands in front of your chest, elbows bent, palms facing up, fingers pointing toward each other. Imagine lifting up when exhaling, then relax when inhaling.
Form 10 (Figure 2-25). Extend your arms straight out in front of your body, palms facing up, fingers pointing forward. Imagine pushing up when exhaling, then relax when inhaling.
Form 11 (Figure 2-26). Bring your hands in front of your chest, palms facing down, fingers lined up and almost touching. Imagine pushing down when exhaling, then relax when inhaling.
Form 12 (Figure 2-27). Extend your arms out to the sides with the elbows bent, palms facing up and slightly inward. Imagine lifting upward and inward when exhaling, and then relax when inhaling.
Just as with the Da Mo Wai Dan, after practicing stand for a few minutes with your arms hanging loosely at your sides. You can also lie down and relax completely. Breathe regularly, relax, and feel the energy redistribute itself.
The Moving Forms train large muscle coordination, develop the large muscles, and loosen the joints, particularly the back. These forms are a new development in Qigong and were created because practitioners felt that the Yi Jin Jing forms emphasized the arms to the exclusion of the rest of the body. When practicing, repeat each form five to ten times.
Form I (Figures 2-28 and 2-29). Stand erect with your arms at your sides and your feet shoulder width apart. Bend forward and touch your fingertips to the floor. Keep your knees straight, if possible, then return to a standing posture. Exhale when bending forward, and inhale while straightening up.
Form 2 (Figures 2-30 and 2-31). Stand up and hold your palms in front of your chest and facing each other. While exhaling, bring your hands together until they almost touch. When you inhale let the hands separate. As you bring your hands together, imagine energy flowing to the palms, completing a circuit.
Form 3 (Figures 2-32 and 2-33). Exhale and push one palm straight up over your head while pushing down behind your back with the other palm. Relax and
Figure 2-36 Figure 2-37
inhale while reversing the position of your hands.
Form 4 (Figures 2-34 and 2-35). Clasp your hands behind your back. Expand your chest when inhaling and relax while exhaling.
Form 5 (Figures 2-36 and 2-37). Stand with your arms hanging at your sides. Rotate your shoulders together ten times in one direction, then ten times in the other. Coordinate the movement with your breathing. It doesn't matter whether you inhale as the shoulders are moving forward or backward, as long as you are consistent.
Form 6 (Figure 2-38). Reach behind your back with the left hand and reach over your shoulder with the right hand and clasp hands. Expand your chest while inhaling, and relax when exhaling. Do this ten times, then reverse your arms and do ten more times.
Form 7 (Figures 2-39 to 2-41). Clasp your hands behind your back while standing, and then turn your torso from side to side while in a half squat. Exhale while turning to each side and inhale as you turn to the center.
Form 8 (Figures 2-42 and 2-43). Stand in a half squat with your arms out to the sides and your elbows slightly bent. While inhaling, turn your palms up and lift upward, and while exhaling turn your palms over and push down.
Form 9 (Figures 2-44 and 245). Bend forward. When inhaling, touch the backs of your hands to the floor, and when exhaling remain bent over and press down on the back of your neck with your palms. You may bend your knees slightly.
Form 10 (Figures 2-46 to 2-49). Stand with your arms extended straight in front of you, palms up. When exhaling, turn the palms down and lower your body by bending your knees, and when inhaling turn the palms up and stand back up.
Form 11 (Figures 2-50 and 2-51). Stand with your feet as far apart as is comfortable. Shift most of your weight to your right foot, and at the same time turn to the right, raising your right arm diagonally upward, palm facing out and up. Point the fingers of your left hand in the opposite direction. Think of the two arms as one unit forming a straight line. Then reverse positions, shifting most of your weight to your left foot, and at the same time turning to the left, raising your left arm diagonally upward, palm facing out and up. Point the fingers of your right hand in the opposite direction. Exhale while turning, and inhale while changing sides.
Form 12 (Figures 2-52 and 2-53). Stand with your feet as far apart as is comfortable. Shift most of your weight to your left foot, and at the same time turn to the left, bending the body sideways with the right arm in front of your head, and the left arm behind your back. The upper palm faces out while the lower palm faces downward. Twist to the left as far as possible with the feeling of spi-raling, or pushing, through both hands. Then reverse the posture, shifting most rV
of your weight to your right foot and at the same time turning to the right, reversing the arms. Exhale while stretching, and inhale while changing sides.
Marshal Yue Fei ( & ft ) is credited with creating the Eight Pieces of Brocade (Ba Duan Jin, Aft ft) in the twelfth century, during the Song dynasty (960-1280 A.D., 'n order to improve the health of his soldiers. The original set consisted of twelve forms, but this has been shortened to eight. This set is widely practiced all over China, and several distinct styles have developed, all of them effective. The name comes from brocade, which is a cloth, usually of silk, woven into complex and colorful patterns. Brocade is very highly prized, just as the good health produced by these simple exercises is prized.
Because this set was created nearly one thousand years ago, many versions exist. Only one of these versions is presented in this book. If you have learned or seen a different version, do not be concerned. The principles and the goals of the practice remain the same. If you are interested in knowing more about the theory and practice of the Eight Pieces of Brocade, please refer to the book Eight Simple Qigong Exercises for Health, available from YMAA Publication Center.
When performing the set, observe the following rules:
1. Relax before and after exercising, perhaps by taking a short walk.
2. Breathe naturally through your nose.
3. Keep your back vertical, except where leaning is part of the exercise.
4. Practice where ventilation is good and the air is fresh.
6. For beginners, repeat each piece at least six times. Once your health and strength improves, continue to increase the number of repetitions until you can do each piece twenty-four times.
Piece 1 (Figures 2-54 to 2-58). Stand naturally, with your feet parallel and shoulder width apart, and your hands at your sides. Close your eyes, calm your mind, and breathe regularly. Open your eyes and look forward, and continue breathing naturally and smoothly. Condense your Shen (spirit) in your third eye (located in the center of your forehead), and sink your Qi to the Dan Tian. Then interlock your fingers and raise your hands above your head without bending your arms, and at the same time lift your heels. This is called Double Hands Hold up the Heavens (Shuang Shou Tuo Tian, i-Ht*). Drop your heels, and tilt your body to the left and then to the right, and then stand
up straight again. Lower your hands in front of your body to complete the piece. Do twenty-four repetitions.
Piece 2 (Figures 2-59 to 2-63). Step to the right with your right leg, and squat down slightly. Relax your hands and lift them up to the chest area. Bring your palms together, then separate them with the right hand moving near the right nipple. Your left hand changes into the "sword secret" hand form and extends to the left as if you were pulling a bow to shoot a hawk. (To do the hand form, close all of your fingers into a fist except the index finger and middle finger). Stare at a distant point to your left. Then stand up and lower your hands, circle them up to the chest and repeat the same process to your right. Do twelve in either direction for a total of twenty-four pieces.
Piece 3 (Figures 2-64 to 2-67). After you complete the last piece, stand up and move your legs so that your feet are parallel and shoulder width apart. Then move both hands in front of your stomach with the palms facing up. Raise your left hand above your head and push upward, and at the same time lower your right hand to your right side, palm down, and press down slightly. Then change your hands and repeat the same process. You should feel that both
hands are pushing against resistance, but you must not tense your muscles. Do twenty-four repetitions.
Piece 4 (Figures 2-68 to 2-74). Stand easily and comfortably with both feet parallel as before, and your hands hanging down naturally at your sides. Lift your chest slightly from the inside so that your posture is straight, but be careful not to thrust your chest out. Turn your head to the left and look over your shoulder as you exhale, then turn your head to the front as you inhale. Turn your head to the right and look over your shoulder as you exhale, then again turn your head to the front as you inhale. Turn twelve times in each direction, for a total of twenty-four. Only turn your head. Your body does not move.
Next, place your hands on your lower back and turn your head twenty-four times as before. Finally, move both hands to your chest with the palms facing up, hold your elbows and shoulders slightly forward, and repeat the head turns another twenty-four times.
During all three parts, when you exhale and turn your head, use your mind to lead the Qi from the Dan Tian, approximately an inch and a half below your
Figure 2-67 Figure 2-68
Figure 2-67 Figure 2-68
Piece 5 (Figures 2-77 to 2-80). Take one step to the right with your right leg and squat down. Place your hands on top of your knees, with the thumbs on the outside of the thighs. Sink your Qi to the bottoms of your feet, and place your mind on the two Bubbling Well cavities (one on each foot). Shift your weight to your left leg and press down heavily with your hand, and line up (i.e. extend) your head, spine, and right leg. Stay in this position for about three seconds.
then return to the original position, and then repeat the same thing on the other side. Turn twelve times in each direction for a total of twenty-four repetitions.
Piece 6 (Figures 2-81 to 2-85). Move your left leg back so that your feet are shoulder width apart. Press both palms down beside your waist, then move your hands up in front of your chest and above your head with the palms facing up. The form looks as if you were holding or lifting something above your head. Stay there for three seconds, then bend forward, extend your arms, and hold your feet. Pull your hands up slightly so that you are putting a gentle stress on your whole body. While holding your feet, your
Figure 2-84 Figure 2-85
mind is on the Bubbling Well cavities. Stay there for three seconds. Repeat the entire process sixteen times.
Piece 7 (Figures 2-86 to 2-89). This piece is very similar to the second piece. Step out to your right and squat down, holding your body erect and your fists beside your waist. Tighten both fists, and extend one arm to the side in a twisting, punching motion (i.e. screw the fist). Your other hand stays beside your waist in a tight fist. The hand that is out can be either a fist or an open palm. After you finish the extending movement, loosen both hands and bring the extended hand back to your waist to the starting position. Then tighten both hands and repeat on the other side. When you make the punching motion, glare fiercely at an imaginary opponent. Remember to punch slowly. Do eight on either side, for a total of sixteen.
Piece 8 (Figures 2-90 to 2-96). There are three parts to this piece. First, let both hands drop down naturally beside your body. Stand still and keep your mind calm. Lift yourself up on your toes and stay as high as you can for three seconds. Then lower your feet to the floor. Repeat twenty-four times. Next, place your hands on your lower back, and again lift yourself up on your toes for three seconds, and then let yourself down. Also do this twenty-four times. Finally, hold your hands in front of your chest and again lift yourself twenty-four times. The different hand positions serve different Qi circulation functions.
After you finish this piece, stand still, keep your mind calm, and breathe smoothly and regularly for about three minutes.
Some of the Still Wai Dan forms are very similar to Indian Yoga, which is not surprising, since China looked to India as a spiritual source for many years. The forms should be done in as relaxed a manner as possible, tensing only the muscles needed to do the posture. Place the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth and breathe deeply from the lower abdomen.
Form 1 (Figure 2-97). Lie on your back with your legs together and your arms at your sides. Keeping the legs straight, lift your feet about three to five inches off the floor, and at the same time lift your head and upper torso the same height. Breathe deeply and hold the position for thirty seconds. As your strength and endurance increases, you can add more time until you are able hold the posture for two or three minutes.
Form 2 (Figure 2-98). Stretch out with your head on one chair and your feet on another with the body straight. Hold the posture for thirty seconds and work up to two minutes. As you might guess, this posture is very difficult. It is almost essential to do self-hypnosis to practice it. This is the advanced form of Form 1. In Chinese martial arts training this form is called Iron Board Bridge (Tie Ban Qiao, AS, te # ). You should not attempt this until you can hold the first form for at least two minutes.
Form 3 (Figures 2-99 and 2-100). Lie on the floor on your stomach. Bend
your knees and reach back and grasp the ankles or feet. Pull the feet and head toward each other as you inhale, and then relax as you exhale.
Form 4 (Figures 2-101 and 2-102). Lie on the floor on your stomach with the arms stretched forward. Simultaneously lift your upper body and your feet off the floor as you inhale, and then relax as you exhale. In Yoga, this form is called the Locust.
Form 5 (Figures 2-103 and 2-104). Lie on your back and grasp your feet. Slowly straighten your legs as you exhale. Return to the original position as you inhale.
Form 6 (Figure 2-105). Lie on your back with your arms by your sides. Raise your legs vertically, then continue to lift, raising the buttocks and torso off the floor. If your balance is unsteady, you may bend your elbows and use the hands
to support the trunk in a vertical position. The weight is on your shoulders and the upper arms, not on your neck. Hold this position for at least one minute, breathing slowly and deeply. This is known as the shoulder stand.
Form 7 (Figures 2-106 and 2-107). Lie on your right side, with your left knee bent so that your left knee and lower leg rest on the floor. Your right arm is straight out in front of you, your left arm is along your side. While inhaling, turn your torso so that your left shoulder and upper arm touch the floor. Your left leg remains in position. While exhaling, roll back to the starting position on the right side. Do this twenty-five times, then switch sides and repeat twenty-five times.
Form 8 (Figure 2-108). Assume the pushup position, resting your body weight on the fingertips. Keep your back straight. Hold for thirty seconds up to one minute.
Form 9 (Figures 2-109 and 2-110). This posture is called The Child Worships the Buddha (Tong Zi Bai Fo, 4: f-ff-ffr). Stand on one leg and extend the other straight out in front, parallel to the floor. Press your palms together in front of your chest. Hold for thirty seconds on each leg. As an advanced technique, bend your knee and lower your body on inhalation, and stand back up on exhalation.
Figure 2-1 10
Form 10 (Figure 2-111). Stand on one leg in a half squat with the palms pressed together in front of the chest, but this time the free leg is held out in front of the body. Hold for up to three minutes on each leg.
Form II (Figure 2-112). Stand in a half squat with your feet shoulder width apart and parallel. Raise your arms up until the palms face the ceiling. Bend your
head back and look straight up. Hold for one to three minutes. This is called Tuo Tian (Holding up the Sky,
Form 12 (Figure 2-113). Stand on one leg, with the front toe of the other leg just touching the floor in front of your body. Raise your arms in a horizontal circle in front of your chest, palms facing in. Hold for three minutes on each leg.
This chapter introduces you to the principles and theory of Wai Dan exercises. Although several sets of traditional Wai Dan forms are presented, you should be able to create your own forms as long as you thoroughly understand the theory. The new forms should generate the sensation of Qi flow in the areas or sets of muscles being exercised.
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