ACCUPUNCTURE POINTS Laogong (see page 58) and Huantiao (see page 59)
2 Lift up your left leg so that it is level with your waist, and at the same time, stretch up your left hand above the head so that the palm faces towards the right As you lift up the arm, straighten the right leg. The Laogong point of your right palm should remain facing the right Huantiao point with the fingers closed in a relaxed position. Keep your eyes looking forwards.
3 Slowly turn your left palm outwards and make a hollow fist. Then slowly lower both your left leg and arm down.
4 As the left leg moves downwards, bend the right leg and let the left foot settle beside the right foot and let the left hand drop down to your side and face the Huantiao point. Pause slightly.
Repeat the movement for the right hand. Continue repeating the movement as many times as you like or until you feel good.
As you lift up your hand and leg, breathe in. As you drop your hand and leg, breathe out.
When you raise up your hand, make sure that you stretch the arm gently upwards, so that it is straight above the head. This will open your
chest and benefit your heart and lungs. Before you drop your hand and leg, pause and balance on one leg for a very short moment before going back to the starting position. Keep the eyes looking forward as you raise and lower the hand. As you lower the hand and leg, make sure that you move slowly in order to control your energy and your weight. As you lower the raised leg, you should also bend the standing leg until you end back up in the starting position with both legs bent slightly. The weight should be on the thighs and back straight. You should also pause slightly before continuing with the movement. Pay attention to the acupuncture points that we use, that is, the Laogong and Huantiao points, because these points are doors for Qi to enter the body.
Some people find that standing on one leg is not easy. If this is the case, you might be more susceptible to high blood pressure and strokes. When you stand on one leg, you need to relax your mind. If your mind is under stress, it will not have enough energy to function clearly and you will find it hard to concentrate and think. Standing on one leg is not about how strong your muscles are, it is about the balance of Qi in your brain. Just because someone has big muscles, it does not necessarily mean that they can stand on one leg for a long time.
Therefore, this exercise is very good for your brain and for balancing your blood circulation. In order to be able to do this movement properly, the blood must flow along the body properly, instead of relying on big muscles. This is why standing on one leg can prevent strokes and high blood pressure. Another benefit is opening your chest when you reach up. It is very common for us to have poor posture and, without even knowing it, we will close our chests and hunch our shoulders. This is not good for your health and will damage the internal organs. It is like having wrinkles in your clothes. If your clothes are very wrinkled, you will never look neat, tidy and bright. It is the same as wrinkling up your internal organs. In the long run, how can you be healthy?
A deformed posture not only makes you tired. If it continues, it can make you ill and it will affect your brain and thinking. Eventually you might not be able to get your good posture back. The key to good posture is to straighten your back. Jade Ladder Climbing to the Sky is very good for this. When the posture is correct, it will also open the Qihu points which is good for our breathing. (If you place your four fingers under your armpit of the opposite arm and close your arm on your hand, your thumb will rest on your Qihu point on your chest.) Lastly, opening the chest and looking forward with the eyes will help you to stop dropping your head and deforming your posture.
The origin of this movement is quite obvious as it looks as if you are climbing a ladder. I called it 'Jade Ladder' as this is a very Chinese name. The idea behind it is that we need to exercise while standing on one leg. This will test our balance. I find that today, many Qigong exercises are done standing on both legs and so do not challenge the body enough. If you do not try and stand on one leg, how can you say you are healthy? You might be able to stand on both legs for half an hour, but cannot maintain a good balance and stand for even 10 seconds on one leg. If this is the case, then you have a problem with brain coordination and cannot claim to be really healthy.
A good concept of health is that you can do things the majority of other people can do, such as balancing on one leg, bending over without feeling dizzy, sitting on the floor for half an hour without feeling pain when you get up, walking up the stairs without puffing and panting at the top, running and jumping a certain distance and height without a problem. If you can, then you are probably quite healthy.
If you find there is something that most people can do that you cannot, the first thing to do is to face it and not hide or try to avoid it. Do not feel embarrassed. When you face the problem, the mind will relax when you start to change and cope with the problem and so you will get healthier. Then you need to work on it with the physical body. Each time you overcome certain movements and difficulties of thinking, your health will get better. Gradually, you will become a very healthy person.
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A lot of us run through the day with so many responsibilities that we don't have even an instant to treat ourselves. Coping with deadlines at work, attending to the kids, replying to that demanding client we respond and react to the needs of other people. It's time to do a few merciful things to reward yourself and get your health in order.