Step out into a horseback riding stance. Bring your hands together at your lower abdomen level as if holding a small ball. Raise the ball to chest level [Photo 53]. Shift your weight to your right leg and turn your torso to face the right side. Extend the hands to the right side, the right hand extending out, index and middle finger pointing at your "target"; the left hand, formed into a fist, pulling the imaginary string [Photo 54].
Pull the bowstring taut, back to the center of your chest, tensing both hands and arms [Photo 55], then release the "arrow" and relax the arms and hands. Bring both hands back in front of the body at chest level, forming a ball. Repeat on the left side [Photos 56 and 57] to complete one repetition.
Effects: This movement is used to strengthen the kidneys and the waist area. First you must sink down, to root yourself as when you pull a strong bow. Without this root, you will not have strong balance, and will not be able to pull the bow effectively. Make sure that when you squat down, you keep your back straight and tuck your buttocks under. This places emphasis on the kidneys. When you do this, you not only strengthen the waist muscles, but also increase the Qi circulation in the kidney area. Focus your mind so that you really feel that you are drawing a very strong bow. This focused mind is one of the key benefits of this movement: developing your ability to concentrate.
Third Movement Alternately Supporting Heaven and Earth (**If You Wish Your Spleen and Stomach All Right, Be One Arm of Yours Raised up and Stretched Tight)
After the last movement, return to a neutral stance and move both hands to the front of your body at stomach level, with your palms facing up [Photo 58]. Lift your left hand above your head, palm facing up, and push up. At the same time, lower your right hand, palm down, and push downward [Photo 59]. Then change hands and repeat the same movements [Photo 60]. You should imagine that the hands are pushing against both the sky and the earth, but do not push with the muscles. Push instead with your Qi.
Effects: This movement works the stomach. When you repeatedly raise one hand and lower the other, you loosen the muscles in the front of the body. When you push with the palms, do not tense the muscles, but rather extend your force through the hands so that your arms stretch out, remembering to keep the elbows slightly bent. This stimulates and strengthens the tendons and muscles. Reversing your arms repeatedly stretches and relaxes the body, "waking up" the tendons. This type of muscle movement increases the Qi circulation in the stomach, spleen, and liver.
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