The Fire Path in Qigong is the most fundamental Nei Dan practice among the three. This path is used both by Qigong practitioners and martial artists. In the Fire Path, a practitioner usually builds his Qi in the Lower Dan Tian (Field of Elixir, fl-®) through either abdominal breathing or purely through thinking. When the Qi is built up to a level, he will use his mind to lead the Qi to circulate through the Conception and Governing Vessels (Ren Mai and Du Mai, • frAfc ). This path starts at the Lower Dan Tian, passes down to the Huiyin (Co-1, and the tailbone, follows the spine up the back, passes over the crown of the head, and moves down the front of the body back to the Lower Dan Tian to complete the cycle (Figure 1-5). This Fire Path is the way Qi routinely circulates in the average person. When there is excess Qi added to this path, there is excess heat (fire).
The Conception and Governing Vessels are two major Qi reservoirs which govern or influence the twelve Qi channels or rivers. When the Qi in these two vessels is strong, the Qi circulation in the twelve organ channels will also be strong and thus benefit the body. However, you must understand one thing: the organ Qi should not be excessive (Yang) or deficient (Yin). When too much Qi is supplied to the organs, it will overheat the organs and speed their degeneration, just as too much sunshine on your skin will cause it to age faster. Therefore, even though this Fire Nei Dan is the simplest of the three practices, if you are not able to sense your organs* Qi level, you might cause problems, Once a practitioner has opened the circulation path through the Conception and Governing Vessels, he is said to have completed Small Circulation (Xiao Zhou Tian, He then leads the Qi to the extremities to open the channels in the limbs and also to supply Qi to the skin and the bone marrow. When he is able to do this, he has completed Large Circulation (Da Zhou Tian, kM k).
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