Bi Mu Jing Zuo (Close eyes and sit still)
Secret Words: Close eyes and sit with deep mind, (hands) hold firm, (mind is) calm, and think (concentrate on the) Shen (spirit).
Practice: Sit with your legs crossed and concentrate on your solar plexus. Your head should feel as if it were suspended, and your chest loose and relaxed. The waist and spine are easy and comfortable. Hold your hands in your lap (Figure 3-1). Your mouth is closed and the teeth are touching slightly. Regulate your breathing so that it is smooth and uniform. Your mind is clear and pure. Condense your Yi (mind) and Shen (spirit) internally, until the Shen is peaceful and the Qi sinks. Your Yi is on the center Dan Tian (solar plexus). You should meditate at least three to five minutes.
Discussion: Three places are called Dan Tian (field of elixir): the forehead is called the Shang Dan Tian (Upper Dan Tian, ¿fl-®), the solar plexus is the Zhong Dan Tian (Middle Dan Tian, + fl-« ), and the abdomen is the Xia Dan Tian (Lower Dan Tian, Tfl-w). The Upper Dan Tian is the residence of Shen (spirit). When the Qi is led to the Upper Dan Tian, the brain is nourished and the spirit can be raised. When the spirit is raised, the Qi circulating in the body can be effectively led by the mind. The Middle Dan Tian is the center where the Post-birth Qi accumulates. Post-birth Qi is obtained mainly from food and air. When Qi in the Middle Dan Tian is stimulated and full, the body is energized. The mind, however, although stimulated to a higher state, is scattered, and you will be troubled by heartburn. The Lower Dan Tian, which is the original source of human life, is the residence of Pre-birth Qi.
This exercise will extinguish any fire in your Middle Dan Tian so that you can concentrate and calm your mind. Before you start any Qigong exercise, you must first be calm. Closing your eyes will keep you from seeing anything distracting which is happening around you, and help you to calm down. You must train yourself to meditate with a deep mind. When you practice, hold your hands in front of your abdomen. Holding them together will help you to keep your mind centered and firm. If you wish, you may regulate your breath for a minute to start calming your mind, but then let go of the regulating and allow your mind to be calm and deep. Concentrate on your Middle Dan Tian to calm down the Post-birth fire Qi. When the fire is gone, place your concentrated mind on your Shen, which is located in the
Upper Dan Tian, to increase your energy level.
In China, concentration is called "Ju Jing Hui Shen" (fcfti^) (gathering your Jing and meeting with Shen). Jing here does not mean semen or sperm, but rather something which is refined. Here it means the refined and concentrated mind. When the mind meets with Shen (spirit), the Shen will be raised. Whenever your Shen is raised, you will be able to increase the depth of your concentration.
Shou Bao Kun Lun (Hands hold Kun Lun)
Secret Words: Knock the teeth thirty-six (times), two hands hold Kun Lun (head).
Practice: First tap your teeth together thirty-six times. If there is any saliva generated, swallow it. Then fold your hands together and hold the back of your head (Figure 3-2). Push your head and body backward while pulling your hands forward. Inhale when tensing, exhale when relaxing. Repeat nine times.
Discussion: There are two major purposes for tapping the teeth together. One purpose is to stimulate the Qi in the gums to strengthen the roots of the teeth. In ancient times, dentists and technology were not as common or advanced as today, and you had to take care of your teeth by yourself. Tapping your teeth together strengthens the roots and helps prevent decay. The other purpose is to clear and wake the mind. When you tap, the vibrations resonate in your brain cavity and stimulate the brain. This will clear the mind.
Kun Lun mountain is one of the highest mountains in China. Here it means your head, which is the highest part of your body. When you push your head backward while pulling your hands forward, also push out your whole back. This will straighten the spine. In addition, this exercise tenses and then relaxes the back muscles, which will increase the Qi circulation there and in the Governing Vessel. This exercise will also strengthen the spine and prevent backache. When you are doing this piece, your breathing should be coordinated with the movement to help the lungs compress and expand. This will release tension in the lungs and increase lung capacity.
Kou Ji Yu Zhen (Knock and beat the Jade Pillow)
Secret Words: Left right beat the heavenly drum, resounding twenty-four times.
Practice: Continue from the last piece. Cover your ears with your palms, with the middle fingers on the Jade Pillow cavity area (under the external occipital pro-tuberance)(Figure 3-3). Put your index fingers on the middle fingers, and snap them down to hit your head (Figure 3-4). This will generate a drumming sound in the brain cavity. This exercise is commonly called "Ming Tian Gu" ("fc^ii.) which means "sound the heavenly drum." Hit twenty-four times in an even, steady beat. You may hit with both fingers at the same time, or else alternate the fingers.
Discussion: The Jade Pillow (Yu Zhen) is the name of a cavity located on the back of your head under the protruding ridge of bone. The heavenly drum means the head.
When you do this exercise, do not let your ring and pinkie fingers touch your head, for this will muffle the sound. Concentrate on the sound, and let every beat bring your attention more fully to the vibrations in your skull and brain. Beating the drum clears the mind. When you are finished and take your hands off your ears, you will feel like you just woke up, and everything will seem clear.
Zhuan Tou Pin Pin or Wei Bai Tian Zhu (Turn the head repeatedly, or Lightly swing the sky post)
Secref Words: Lightly turn (the head) to loosen up the Tian Zhu (sky post, i.e. neck). Red dragon (the tongue) stirs the liquid saliva, drum rinse thirty-six (times), saliva liquid fills the entire mouth, one mouthful divided into three swallows, use Yi to send (it) to the belly wheel (navel).
Practice: Continue from the last piece, move your hands down and place them in your lap, palms facing up comfortably. Keeping your shoulders still, turn your head to the left and then the right twenty-four times (Figure 3-5). After this, move your tongue around inside your mouth to generate saliva (Figures 3-6), then move the saliva around to rinse your mouth thrity-six times, which will also generate more
saliva. Swallow this saliva in three gulps. Ev^Jtime you swallow, use your Yi to send the saliva down to the navel.
Discussion: The head is considered the heavens, and the top of the head is called Tian Ling Gai (*.££ )(Heavenly Cover), The neck, which is supported by the two major muscles on the back of the neck, is thus called the Tian Zhu (iife), which means the post which supports the heavens. The Chinese word translated here as "loosen up" has the feeling of shaking something to let everything settle back into place. Eight of the fourteen Qi channels pass through the neck. As you turn your head back and forth, the neck muscles alternately stretch and relax, which clears the Qi channels as well as loosens up the muscles. This prevents the headache caused by stagnation of Qi in the head.
According to the Daoists, saliva is the water which is able to put out the fire in the body. For example, when you have a sore throat or heartburn, saliva will ease the pain and help you recover. Saliva is a natural product which is being constantly generated, and it will help you whenever it is needed. When the supply of saliva stops, it is a sign that your body is too positive, and you are about to become ill.
The Red Dragon refers to the tongue. Move your tongue around in your mouth to generate saliva, and then move the saliva around, pushing the cheeks out tight like a drum (drum rinse) to rinse your mouth (Figure 3-7). Swallowing the saliva will help to put out the fire of excess energy in the heart.
When you swallow, use your mind to lead the saliva down to the lower abdomen. Of course, the saliva doesn't really go that far, but if you act as if you were swallowing the saliva all the way down to your abdomen, you should be able to feel the energy from the saliva sinking to your Lower Dan Tian.
The Qi Lun (**). or "belly wheel," is a term the Daoists commonly use for the navel. The Daoists, like the Buddhists, believe that people die and are reborn repeatedly in cycles that move like a great wheel. The abdomen, specifically the navel area, is strongly involved in this reincarnation.
When the text says to bring the saliva to the belly wheel, it actually means the Lower Dan Tian. The Eight Pieces of Brocade is a very simple Qigong set which was designed for the common people. These people would have little or no knowledge of internal things, and would not know what the Lower Dan Tian is. The clearest and easiest way was to simply tell them to concentrate on the belly button. Everybody knows where that is, and it is close enough to the Lower Dan Tian to be effective.
Tui Mo Shen Yu or Shou Mo Jingmen (Push and massage Shen Yu, or Hands massage the Essence Door)
Secret Words: Seal the breath and rub hands (until) hot, massage the rear Essence Door (on your) back, end this one mouthful of breath, think (image) the fire is burning the belly wheel.
Practice: Continue from the last pieee.l^Jale through your nose and lead the air to the Middle Dan Tian (solar plexus), and hold the breath gently, Rub your hands together until they are warm (Figure 3-8). Then place your palms on the Shen Yu cavity (Shenshu, B-23, tfir )(kidney affirmative)(Figure 3-9), and press in as you massage with a circular motion twenty-four times. If you cannot hold your breath comfortably while you massage twenty-four times, don't strain. Only massage twelve times, or however many is comfortable for you, then exhale. Then inhale again, rub your hands, and repeat. When you massage, unite your Yi and Qi, and concentrate your Yi on the navel or Lower Dan Tian. This concentration will make the abdomen get warm, or even hot. When you are finished with the massaging, sit quietly with your hands in your lap and feel the energy from your kidneys burning inside your navel or Lower Dan Tian.
Discussion: Shen Yu (Shenshu, B-23, W"tfr)(kidney affirmative), which is also called Jingmen (essence door, WH), is the name of a cavity located in the kidney area. There are two of these cavities, one over each kidney. The kidneys are considered the residence of Original Jing (Yuan Jing, >ttt)(also called Pre-birth Jing). When this Jing is converted into Qi it is called Original Qi (Yuan Qi, >t&), and it resides in the Lower Dan Tian. It is believed that the "essence door" cavities are the doors through which external Qi can reach the kidneys, and also the way by which the
Original Qi generated by the kidneys can pass out of the body and be lost. It is also believed that the two kidneys are the root of the gonads (testicles or ovaries), which the Chinese call the external kidneys. When a person's kidneys are weak, his gonads will function poorly, and hormone production will be deficient. Such a person will be weak, his sexual vitality will be low, and his body will degenerate rapidly.
The person who practices Chinese meditation must learn how to keep from losing his Jing through his "essence doors." This is done through Lower Dan Tian breathing, which takes Jing from the kidneys and converts it to Qi, and stores this Qi in the Qi residence (Lower Dan Tian). Therefore, instead of losing your Jing, you gain Qi, and store it at the Lower Dan Tian.
You must also learn how to use external Qi to warm the kidneys and stimulate the production of Original Qi or Jing Qi, and how to store it in the Lower Dan Tian so you can use it to improve your health. Therefore, in this piece you first rub your hands together to generate heat and Qi in your hands. When you rub your back with your warm hands, you pass Qi into the kidneys, which stimulates them to produce Original Qi. You don't want this Qi to pass out through the "essence doors" and disperse, so you bring it to the Lower Dan Tian. This is done very simply by keeping your attention (Yi) on your Lower Dan Tian. Since Qi follows Yi, the Qi you generate will automatically move where you are concentrating (Figure 3-9). It is said that the more Original Qi you have stored, the healthier and stronger you will be.
Shou Zhuan Shuang Lun or Zuo You Lu Lu (Hands turns double wheel, or Left and right windlass)
Secret Words: Left and right windlasses turn, two feet lie comfortably extended.
Practice: Continue from the last piece. Extend your legs comfortably flat on the floor, with your arms at your sides. Bend forward and extend your arms with palms facing down and the fingers comfortably curved inward (Figure 3-10). Next, circle your hands upward and backward while slightly bending your upper body backward as if you were rowing a boat (Figure 3-11). Then, continue the rowing motion and circle your hands downward and then forward to repeat the circle (Figure 3-12). Repeat the same motion nine times, then reverse the direction and repeat another nine times.
Discussion: The motion is like turning wheels with both hands. Lu Lu means turning a wheel or rotating a windlass.
This piece is used mainly to increase Qi circulation in the six arm channels. You will feel the Qi generated from the circular shoulder motion reaching strongly out to the fingertips. Your legs are stretched out on the floor to open wide the other six Qi channels in the legs. Even though you are practicing circulating Qi in your hands, the Qi will also move out to your toes, because your body's natural instinct is to balance the Qi throughout your body.
Tuo An Pan Zu (Lift; press; and hold the feet)
Secret Words: Interlock fingers of both (hands) false lift, lower the head repeatedly to hold the feet.
Practice: Continue from the last piece. Interlock your hands, and lift them above your head, palms up. Keep imaging that you are lifting and holding something up above your head (Figure 3-13), Stay there for about three seconds, then turn your palms down and touch the top of your head. Press your hands downward while you lift your head upward for about three seconds (Figure 3-14). Finally, separate your hands and bend forward, using your hands to pull back your toes (Figure 3-15). Keep your knees straight and stay in the position for about three seconds. Repeat the entire process nine times.
Discussion: In this piece, you first interlock your hands and then push up above your head. Because there is nothing for you to push against, the Chinese call it a "false lift." When you push up over your head, you stretch the muscles in the front and back of your body. This stretching and relaxing movement helps to regulate the
Sanjiao Qi channels. Sanjiao means "Triple Burner," and includes the upper, middle, and lower parts of your torso. The Upper Burner is located in the chest above the diaphragm, the Middle Burner is between the diaphragm and the navel, and the Lower Burner is located between the navel and the groin.
After you have loosened up the muscles, place your hands on the top of your head and press down. You balance this downward push with an upward push of your head. This upward push comes all the way from the floor. The Yi of pushing upward and downward will lead any stagnant Qi in the Sanjiao areas into the Small Circulation (the circular pathway through the Conception and Governing Vessels).
Finally, hold your toes or feet and pull them back, letting your head hang down. 7=1 position stretches and slightly tenses the muscles in the back, and when you th?n sit up and raise your arms over your head, you release the tension. This alternately presses in on the kidneys, and then lets up, which increase the circulation of blood and Qi in the kidneys and keeps them healthy.
Another way to do the last part of this piece is to place your hands over your toes and press your middle fingers into the Bubbling Well cavities. Since these cavities are on the channels which connect with the kidneys, this method provides additional stimulation to the kidneys.
Zhou Tian Man Yun (Entire sky slow transportation)
Secret Words: Wait until the mouth water arrives, again rinse again swallow the saliva, do this three times, swallow mouth water nine times, swallow noisily, (in) hundreds of vessels (Qi) adjusts uniformly (and) automatically, entire sky (body) slow transportation completed, think that fire is burning (your) entire body. Ancient name eight pieces of brocade, train after midnight and before noon, train diligently without ceasing, thousands of illnesses vanish into dust.
Figure 3-1 7
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Practice: Cross your legs and place your hands in your lap. Close your eyes and sit calmly (Figure 3-16). When enough saliva accumulates, rinse and then swallow three times with an audible gulp. After you swallow, keep your attention on your navel or Lower Dan Tian, and feel the Qi circulating smoothly throughout your body. When more saliva accumulates, rinse again and swallow three more times. Repeat once more, for a total of nine swallows. After this, relax and feel the Qi burning like a fire all over your body (Figure 3-17). This means that you should lead the Qi to your skin to form a protective shield around your body. After you have completed these eight pieces, sit quietly and breath evenly for about three minutes.
Discussion: When you have finished the preceding seven pieces, your body may be too positive, and you may have let Qi rise up in your body instead of settle down to the Lower Dan Tian. Swallowing the saliva is a way to bring the Qi back down again. There are two ways to generate saliva. One is to move the tongue around in the mouth, and the other is to simply concentrate your mind on your mouth and let the saliva be generated spontaneously. Since this is the last piece, it is desirable to put out any fire you may have caused by the exercises. If you start moving your tongue around again, you may start generating more heat and fire. You simply want to calm down. That is why you use your Yi instead of your tongue to generate the saliva. In this piece, when you swallow, you do it "noisily." Bringing the saliva down with a big gulp helps to concentrate all of your attention, and makes it easier for you to relax.
You want the Qi you have accumulated in your Lower Dan Tian to circulate throughout your body. When you sit quietly with your attention on your Lower Dan Tian, the Qi will accumulate there. As it fills up the Lower Dan Tian, it will become stimulated, gradually spreading out and filling the entire body. You will be able to feel the Qi moving throughout your body, clearing out obstructions in the channels, and automatically balancing itself. You may feel the Qi moving through what is called the Small Circulation (Figure 3-16), which is the circular path through the Governing Vessel on the back and the Conception Vessel down the center front of the body. When you are finished with the swallowing and the body is warm and full of Qi, image that the skin and the area around your body is full of fire. This image will bring Qi to the skin and build up the shield of Wei Qi (Guardian Qi) around the body.
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