Once you have accomplished Grand Circulation, you can begin to practice advanced methods to make your Qi stronger, more focused, and more controlled by your will. Even though you can start this Qi enhancement after accomplishing Small Circulation, the enhancement will be easier and more efficient if you wait until the completion of Grand Circulation.
The first training method of Qi Enhancement and Transport is called Lian Qi (Train the Qi, ifcfc) or Chong Qi(Filling Qi, The main purpose of this training is to fill the Dan Tian with Qi, so that when Qi is accumulated there the abdomen is resilient like a balloon and can endure or resist a strong attack. As the Qi gets stronger and stronger in the Dan Tian, the Qi flow in the body also gets stronger and stronger.
The training method of Chong Qi is simply to blow out a candle. Start two feet away, and increase the distance as you are able. Tighten your lips to form a very small opening, and blow air out through this opening slowly and steadily, imagining that the stream of air is directed at the flame and does not spread out at all. Blow as long as possible without straining. While blowing, imagine that Qi is expanding and accumulating in the Dan Tian. When you can blow the candle out easily from a distance of two feet, move the candle further away and continue. Practice five to ten minutes daily.
A method of Lian Qi, called Kuo Qi (Expanding Qi, W] is to extend the Qi in a ball outward from the surface of the body. To do this, exhale and imagine that your Qi is expanding out from your body in all directions, forming a globe, and the center of the globe is the Dan Tian. When you become proficient at this, you will feel as if your body has disappeared, that you are transparent, and that you are a ball of Qi that gets smaller and smaller when you inhale and expands when you exhale. This exercise not only enhances the symmetrical movement of Qi, but also enables the Qi to reach every cell of the body simultaneously. This is known as Body Breathing (Ti Xi, *I .&•) or Skin Breathing (Fu Xi, Jt ).
After Qi development is at a fairly strong level, you can learn to focus or concentrate your Qi at some small area of the body. This kind of training is called Yun Qi (3 &) or Transporting the Qi. The main use of Yun Qi training is in the martial arts, where the Qi is concentrated in the palms for attack. Also, Qi can be transported to a specific area to resist a blow or punch. This latter Yun Qi practice is part of Iron Shirt (Tie Bu Shan, 48.^ or Golden Bell Cover (Jin Zhong Zhao, -fc it i-) training. See chapter 5 for more information.
Several training methods are described below. The first task is to learn to focus the Qi in the palms. It is a slow process in the beginning, but with practice it will happen instantaneously.
1. The first form is called Gong Shou (Arcing the Arms, M -f )(Figure 3-14), in which the arms form a circle in front of your body with the fingertips close together, but not touching. Gong Shou can be done either sitting or standing. When you exhale, guide the Qi to the arms and fingertips and imagine the energy exchanging at the fingers, from one hand to the other. The Qi should flow to the hands from both arms at the same time, circling in both directions simultaneously.
2. In the second form, hold your hands as if you are holding a basketball in front of your chest. Your elbows should not bend too much, because the Qi flow will stagnate at the elbow area (Figures 3-15 through 3-17). Your mind should guide the Qi through the air from both palms, exchanging energy as in (1) above. The palms should move about continuously as though rotating an imaginary ball to gain
the feeling of the smooth Qi flow. Often, Taijicjuan practitioners perform this exercise while holding an actual ball to develop the feeling of a smooth, circular flow. However, the imaginary ball works well, so a real ball is not necessary.
3. In the third form, lightly touch your palms together in front of your chest (Figure 3-18), and exchange the Qi from one palm to the other while exhaling.
4. The fourth form is a finger touch, which is more advanced than the palm touch. Touch your fingertips together lightly in front of your chest (Figure 3-19), and exchange energy between your hands while exhaling.
5. The fifth form is a horizontal circling Qi flow called Wave Hands Like Clouds (Yun Shou, t -f) in Taijiquan. Hold your right forearm at chest level parallel to the ground with the palm facing inward in front of the breast bone, elbow slightly lower than the rest of the arm. Hold the left hand palm down at waist level in front of your body (Figure 3-20). Exhale and turn your torso smoothly to the right as far as possible while directing the Qi to the palms (Figure 3-21). Exchange the hands while inhaling (Figure 3-22) and turn to the other side while exhaling (Figure 3-23). This sequence should be repeated continuously in a flowing rhythm.
6. The sixth form is sinking palm training. When inhaling, lift both your arms with the palms facing each other (Figure 3-24) and when exhaling, imagine pressing down on a resistant object while using only a little muscle tension (Figure 3-25). This will lead the Qi to the palms or to the edges of your hands. When inhaling, release the tension.
7. The seventh form is palm pushing training. There are three directions of pushing palm training.
a. Push forward when exhaling and move inward when inhaling (Figures 3-26 and 3-27).
b. Push out to the sides when exhaling, and from the outside in when inhaling (Figures 3-28 and 3-29).
c. Up and down with hands exchanging. When extending upward and downward, exhale. When moving your hands toward the center, inhale (Figures 3-30 and 3-31).
d. Up and down with both hands at once. When pushing upward, exhale, and when moving downward, Inhale (Figures 3-32 and 3-33).
When you practice any one of these seven forms, with each exhalation imagine pushing with your palms against a resistant object and guiding the Qi to
your palms with slight muscular tension. Before you try these exercises, first push a wall to experience the feeling of resistance. This will help you to better imagine your push.
Other than the above seven forms of Qi transport and concentration training, there are two other common ways of practicing, both of which use a candle. The first way is the secret sword Qi transport (Figure 3-34). To do this, hold both hands in the secret sword form. Your index and middle fingers point out, and the rest of your fingers are closed. Point one of your hands at a candle flame. Begin with the fingertips one to two inches away. While exhaling, transport the Qi to the flame to make the flame move. If you practice faithfully, you will be rewarded by being able to make the flame bend away from you.
The second way of training is again to make the candle flame bend, but this time with the palm held five to ten inches away (Figure 3-35). This is similar to the secret sword form, except that this time the Qi is directed out from the palm instead of the fingers. Either way, the hand not being pointed toward the flame should be kept in the same form and held in front of the abdomen for symmetry. Make sure when you do these exercises that your breath is directed away from the candle, and that only the Qi flow moves the flame.
Massage and Exercises after Meditation
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