Meditation and Chi Circulation

Once the student can breathe adequately according to the Taoist and Buddhist methods, he begins sitting meditation to begin the process of Chi circulation. The first goal is to achieve a calm mind while concentrating on deep breathing. The individual creates a type of hypnotic state to do this. The meditator should stay at this stage until he can expand and withdraw his Dan Tien while breathing with no conscious effort, without the attention wandering.

When the muscles around the Dan Tien can be easily controlled, the process of breating acts as a pump to start a fire, which is Chi production, in the furnace of the Dan Tien. This whole process of generating and accumulating Chi

Dan Tien Breathing
Fig. 3-7. Breathing and Chi Circulation - Two Breath Cycle

in the Dan Tien is called lower level breathing (Shar Chen Chi), while simple exhalation and inhalation in the lungs is called upper level breathing (Sam Chen Chi). One system aims at building Chi as energy, while the other aims at building up Chi as air. The overabundant Chi in the Dan Tien will cause the abdominal area in most people to twitch and feel warm. The pump (the deep breathing) has thus caused a fire (an accumulation of Chi) in the Dan Tien area. When this occurs, the Chi is ready to burst out of the Dan Tien and travel into another cavity.

In order to insure that the accumulated Chi passes into the correct cavity, the sitting posture must be correct (legs crossed). When the Chi is ready to burst from the Dan Tien, it must not be allowed to travel into the legs. By having the legs properly crossed, the Chi is partially blocked. If the Chi does go downward, it may stagnate in some of the cavities. For a novice meditator, this is dangerous, since he does not have enough experience or understanding of controlling Chi with his will. This Chi residue in the cavities will later affect the leg's Chi circulation, and might, in extreme cases, cause paralysis. When Chigoes into an undesired Chi channel and causes problems, it is called "Dsou For"or "Fire Deviation". Therefore, during any serious meditation session in which the practitioner attempts to circulate his Chi, the legs must be crossed. Only after the Small Circulation has been totally achieved and the meditator is attempting the Grand Circulation, is it permissible to uncross the legs.

In order to correctly initiate the Small Circulation the Chi must pass into the Wei Lu cavity,located in the tailbone. Thus, the Chi passes from the Dan Tien down through the groin area, called the Bottom of the Sea (Hai Di), and into the tailbone. The Chi does pass through other acupuncture cavities on the way to the Wei Lu (Fig. 3-4), but the Wei Lu will offer the greatest resistance because the bone structure narrows the channel.

During meditation the mind must guide the Chi consciously throughout its circulation. Without the mind consciously leading the circulation of Chi, there will be no consistent or smooth circulation. It sometines happens that the Chi will pass from the Dan Tien into the Wei Lu without conscious effort, but the mind must actively guide the Chi for further results. Starting from the Dan Tien, the mind remains calm and fully concentrated only on guiding the Chi past the Wei Lu. This process must never be pushed. Simply keep the mind on the next cavity and let the Chi get there by itself. The requirement of concentration is one of the reasons why simple relaxation will only promote local circulation. For the larger circuits, the Chi must be guided by the will.

The secret of bringing the Chi to the Wei Lu point is to tighten the anus while inhaling. This is called"/?/ Gang"(C\ose the Anus) in meditation. When exhaling, the anus is relaxed and Chi is guided to the Wei Lu. This is called "Shon Gang"(Relax the Anus). This coordination should be done even after the Small Circulation has been completed.

After the Chi has been successfully guided to the Wei Lu, it moves up the spine to the next major obstacle, the Ming Men (Gate of Life) or Jar Gi (Press Spine). This point is located on the back directly behind the heart between the spinous processes of the sixth and seventh thoracic vertebrae (Fig. 3-4). In acupuncture this same cavity is called Lingtai (Spiritual Tower). When Chi flows to this area, it will usually cause the heart to beat faster, which can interfere with concentration. To lose concentration here might result in the Chi dispersing here, which will normally cause a cold sweat, tensing of the nerves, and rapid breathing. If the Chi remains in the surrounding area, it will stagnate the Chi flow in that area, and disturb the heart function. However, if one relaxes, concentrates on the cavity, and remains calm, there is usually little resistance to the Chi flow here.

Fig. 3-8. Breathing and Chi Circulation - One Breath Cycle

Once the Chi passes the Ming Men, the last major obstacle on the spine is called theVu Gen, or Jade Pillow by meditators and Naohu by acupuncturists. This cavity is located at the base of the skull on top of the occipital bone (Fig. 3-4). Because of the skull structure, the channel is constricted here. If the energy does not pass smoothly through, it may pass into other channels on the head or into the brain. If this happens, one may experience headaches or feverish thinking.

Once the Chi enters the head, the sensation of Chi circulation is different from that of the circulation on the back. Circulation on the back causes the large spinal muscles to tense, and so it is pretty easy to feel. However, when thé Chi enters the head, because the muscle layer there is very thin, no muscle tension will be felt. What will be felt is a tingling sensation, like insects walking, that will travel over the top of the head to the front of the face. The above three major cavities are called the Three Gates or San Guan in Chinese meditation.

After the Chi passes through the Yu Gen, the mind guides the Chi up over the top of the head, down the middle of the face and chest, and finally back to the Dan Tien, where the cycle starts over. When the complete cycle of the Small Circulation has been achieved, then the whole process is done continuously. Usually achieving the Small Circulation requires three sessions of meditation each day for a period of ninety or more days. The Grand Circulation may take years to achieve.

Up to this point little has been said about breathing during Chi circulation. Now that the background has been described, it can be added that the cyclic movement of Chi must be exactly coordinated with the deep breathing process. (Fig. 3-7) shows the basic pattern of Taoist meditation, which consists of guiding the Chi through one cycle of the Small Circulation during two sets of breaths (Table 3-1 lists the names of the important points and their corresponding abbreviations on Figs. 3-7, 3-8 and 3-9). This is the cycle that should be attempted by the beginner. To start, during the first inhalation the mind guides the Chi from the nose to the Dan Tien. Next, the practitioner exhales and guides the Chi from the Dan Tien to the Wei Lu. Then, he inhales and leads the Chi up to the point at the top of the shoulders, called the Shun Bei or Dazhui{sse Table 3-1). Finally, the practitioner exhales and guides the Chi over the head to the nose to complete one cycle. Keep circulating the Chi, one cycle every two breaths.

After the two-breath cycle has been achieved, the student should go on to circulate his Chi in a one-breath cycle. This cycle is the basis for using Chi as the energy source in the martial arts. (Fig. 3-8) shows the one-breath cycle. The practitioner guides the Chi to the tailbone while exhaling, and then to the nose while inhaling.

Some beginning meditators say they cannot feel the Chi flow, while others say they feel it is stopped at a particular point. The answer to both of these is to keep on doing the cycle. At first, it will be mostly imagination and not much Chi, but with perseverance the flow will become stronger, more complete, and more perceptible. Remember that the Chi is always flowing or you would not be alive. Since Chi follows the mind, keeping the attention moving will keep the Chi flowing through the channels and gradually open the constrictions.

Hypnotic Combat

Table 3-1

Point Taoist Name

Acupuncture Location Name

A Dan Tien

Qihai

One and half inches below the navel Pelvic floor Tailbone

On the spine behind the heart

Upper back Base of the skull Crown of the skull Nose Navel

B Hai Di C Wei Lu D Ming Men

Huiyin Changqiang Ling Tai

E Shun Bei

F Yu Gen

G Tien Lien Gai

H Bi

I Du Gi

Dazhui Naohu

Suliao Shenque

Suliao Shenque

Dazhui Naohu

The advanced student can try reversing the current of Chi in the Small Circulation so that the Chi travels up the chest, over the top of the head, down the back, and then to the Dan Tien. In reverse circulation the stopping points of Chi between inhalation and exhalation remain the same. Thus, inhale and guide the Chi from the Dan Tien to the nose; next, exhale and guide the Chi over the head to the Shun Bei. The next step is to inhale and guide the Chi to the tailbone (Wei Lu) Finally, exhale and guide the Chi to the Dan Tien. The one-breath cycle follows the same principle. This reversed circulation can help heal injuries and can clear blockages that the regular circulation has difficulty passing through.

Included with the one-breath cycle described above is the Buddhist system of Chi circulation (Fig. 3-9). The Buddhist meditator inhales and guides his Chi from the nose, down the chest through the groin to the tailbone. Then he exhales and guides the Chi up the spine, then over the head to the nose. Buddhists can also reverse the direction of the cycle. The student should remember that in the Buddhist method the Dan Tien expands during inhalation and contracts during exhalation.

There are also methods of meditation that do not use the Dan Tien as the Chi source. Some systems use the solar plexus, the forehead, or other points, and generate Chi through concentration alone, without coordination with the breath.

Novice Meditators

The person who comes to meditation seriously for the first time should not attempt to circulate his Chi from the very start. The primary goal of the beginner must be to train the muscles around the Dan Tien so that the Taoist method of breathing is easy and natural. The training of the muscles is achieved through the preliminary practice of reverse breathing. Once the muscles have been adequately trained and the mind is sufficiently calmed, the novice may then attempt to circulate the Chi.

Pre-meditation Warm-up

Before meditation, the practitioner should spend three to five minutes calming his mind. Once the mind is calm he can begin concentrated meditation with better results. Calming the mind before meditation may be thought of as a warm-up exercise. For the more experienced meditator, the warm-up takes less time.

Chinese Meditation PostureDan Tien Meditation

Fig. 3-10. Meditation Posture 1 Fig. 3-11. Meditation Posture 2

Posture

Two of the common cross-legged postures that are appropriate for meditation are shown in Figs. 3-10 and 3-11. The student should pick the one that is most comfortable. In any posture the back should be straight without being bolt upright; do not slouch. It is easiest to sit on a cushion about two inches thick with the knees or feet on the floor at a lower level. This helps to keep the back straight without strain.

If the legs become numb while sitting, uncross them and relax. With continued practice you will be able to sit comfortably longer and longer with the legs feeling no discomfort. This usually takes several weeks. Sitting cross legged restricts the normal flow of blood and Chi, and the body needs to learn to adjust to the new position.

In both sitting positions the hands should be held at the Dan Tien, one on top of the other with the tips of the thumbs touching. This position helps you to feel your breathing as you expand the Dan Tien, and to coordinate deep breathing and Chi circulation. After you achieve the Small Circulation, you may rest the backs of the hands on the knees with the thumbs and middle fingers touching.

Geographical Positioning

You should face the east while meditating. This common practice was probably established because experienced meditators discovered empirically that their Chi circulation was more fluid when they faced the east. This may happen because the rotation of the earth enhances the flow of Chi slightly.

Time of Meditation

Ideally a person should meditate three times a day for one half hour at a time. The best times to practice are 15 minutes before sunrise, one to two hours after lunch, and one half hour before going to sleep. With this schedule the meditator can, if he remains calm and concentrated, achieve the Small Circulation in about three months.

These three times have been found best because the morning and evening meditations take advantage of the changing of the body's energy from Yin to Yang or vice versa, and in the afternoon the individual is usually very relaxed.

If you can only meditate twice a day, skip the afternoon session. If only once,then meditate in either morning or evening. Reducing the number of sessions means taking longer to achieve the Small Circulation.

Thoughts

During meditation the mind should focus on the Dan Tien and on the circulation of Chi. The whole purpose of meditation is lost if the mind wanders. The student must achieve a relaxed hypnotic trance; this is easily done by concentrating on the rhythmic pattern of breathing. When the attention does stray, or when thoughts start arising, simply return your attention to the breathing.

If the individual has too many day-to-day worries bothering him during meditation, he should neither meditate nor attempt to circulate his Chi. Instead he should breathe deeply for relaxation. Attempting to Chi circulate while emotionally agitated can only harm the meditator.

Position of the Tongue, Teeth, and Eyes

During meditation, the tongue should lightly touch the roof of the mouth near the center. This creates a bridge between Yin and Yang and allows the Chi to circulate in a continuous path around the body. The student should take care that his tongue is neither too far forward nor too far back—.both will hinder meditation. Too far forward causes sleepiness, too far backward hinders relaxation and the tension obstructs the Chi flow. The tongue bridge also allows saliva to accumulate in the mouth. This should be swallowed occasionally to lubricate the throat to keep it from getting too dry. In addition, the teeth should touch lightly.

The eyes can be either closed or kept half open during meditation, but the meditator should not let himself become sleepy if the eyes are closed.

The Mechanics of Meditation

Cautions:

There are a few general rules which will prevent the student from causing himself injury, and which will help to speed the process of meditation.

1. Don't smoke. Because meditation involves deep breathing, the lungs must be able to function adequately.

2. Don't drink too much. Too much alcohol will hurt the nervous system and hinder Chi circulation.

3. Wash before meditation. This will help relax the mind.

4. Wear loose, comfortable clothing, especially around the waist.

5. Meditate in a well ventilated place.

6. Avoid sex 24 hours before and after meditation (For men only).

7. Women should not concentrate on the Dan Tien during their periods,but instead should place their attention on the solar plexus.

8. Meditate in a quiet place with as little disturbance as possible.

9. Wait at least half an hour, preferably one or two hours after eating to meditate.

10. Do not meditate if you are worried or ill.

11. Never hold the breath.

12. Always remain relaxed while meditating.

13. Always concentrate on the Dan Tien and on the Chi flow.

14. If you repeatedly feel bad or get strongly unpleasant reactions during meditation, stop. Do not proceed without the guidance of a meditation master.

Common Problems Numb legs:

This problem affects nearly everyone who begins sitting meditation, especially people who are unused to sitting cross legged. It is caused by a reduced flow of blood and Chi to the legs. The problem gradually goes away by itself. Until then the student should stop meditation when the numbness disturbs his concentration. Stretch out the legs to open the channels and use acupressure or massage on the arches of the feet to speed recovery. As soon as feeling returns, resume meditation. Cavity pain:

Some meditators experience pain in the tailbone, at the kidneys, at the Life Door (Ming Men), or at the top of the thighs when Chi circulation reaches these spots. It is caused by increased pressure at that point, often because of a previous injury to that part of the body. The sensation is normal and can be relieved by relaxing more. Ordinarily this kind of pain will only last two or three days or until the circulation has passed that spot. Headache:

This is caused by tension, worry, fatigue or when circulation first reaches the head. If it is caused by tension or worry, stop meditating until you calm down. If you are too tired to concentrate, it would be better to take a nap. If it is the result of Chi flow into the head, increase the concentration and relax more. The pain can be relieved by using the massages described in the next section. Backache:

Backaches can be caused by either improper posture or by a residue of stagnant Chi. If the posture is too stiffly erect or if the meditator slumps, there will be too much tension in the back muscles and backache will result. To assume a comfortable posture, sit up very straight, stretching upward as far as possible, then relax without bending forward.

A residue of stagnant Chi is sometimes dangerous and should be treated with heavy massage. See the next section for a description of effective massage techniques. Drowsiness:

Drowsiness is a result either of being too tired, in which case you should stop meditating, or of having the tongue too far forward in the mouth, in which case it should be placed further back. Sweating:

If sweating is a result of the environment, if the place where you meditate is too hot or too humid, try to change it. If the sweating is not a result of environmental factors, there are two kinds, hot and cold. Cold sweats may indicate an injury to one of the cavities in the path of circulation. Consult a meditation master who can help to clear the obstruction. Hot sweats are usually caused by circulating the Chi without concentrating, and go away with improved concentration and relaxation.

Chi Circulation
Fig. 3-12. Grand Circulation

Grand Circulation (Oa Chou Tien)

The next step in training after the meditator can cycle his Chi in the two vessels at will is the Grand Circulation in which he cycles the Chi generated at the Dan Tien to the whole body through all the channels.

By this time the meditator should be able to feel the Chi generating and flowing around his body in the Small Circulation. With this as a basis he should be able to experience and accomplish the Grand Circulation easily and safely through mental control of the Chi.

In Grand Circulation training the whole body should be relaxed. If the meditator tries to circulate to his arms and hands, he can either sit in a chair or stand. As the meditator inhales, he brings the Chi from the tailbone up the back to the top of the shoulders (Fig. 3-12). Inhaling also prepares the Chi on

Fig. 3-13. Yongquan Cavity the front of the body for a new cycle. As he exhales, he guides the Chi not over the head, but into the arms. At the same time that the Chi flows into the arms, the Dan Tien expands, starting a new cycle by moving the new Chi into the tailbone. When the meditator inhales again, he guides the Chi to the base of the neck while preparing for a new cycle on the front of the body. Thus the Chi cycle is a one way path in that it does not travel in a complete circle, but in a line that ends in the hands. This cycle is repeated continuously until the meditator can feel the flow to the center of the palms. In this exercise the thumb and little finger should be slightly tightened by pulling them back in order to restrict the Chi flow and force it to the palm. There are many methods of practicing circulation to the upper limbs. The reader should refer to the next section for descriptions. When the Chi approaches the palm, the meditator should be able to sense it and feel the warmth. After this is achieved the practitioner should then try to guide the Chi to the fingertips.

In actual fact the Chi does circulate back to the Dan Tien, but concentrating on only a one way flow will push the circulation out to the hands sooner and more strongly.

To circulate the Chi to the lower limbs, a common method is to lie down on your back and relax the leg muscles to open the Chi channels. Inhale and contract the abdomen, then exhale and guide the Chi through the legs to the Bubbling Well point (Yongquan)on the bottom of the feet (see Fig. 3-13). Normally the Chi channels in the legs are open wider than those in the arms. Consequently, it is easier to circulate to the legs than to the arms. When the Chi approaches the bottom of the feet, they will feel warm and numb, and this feeling may persist for several days the first time it is experienced.

Some teachers recommend following certain paths to and from the feet and hands. This is not really necessary. If you push the Chi into your feet and hands, it will find its own way there, and in time will fill your limbs, moving through all the channels, both Ching and Lou. Keep in mind, too, that the "pushing" is always gentle and relaxed.

Because the leg channels are wide, it is sometimes possible to circulate standing up, even though the muscles are slightly tight. This is the reason that Tai Chi practitioners can accomplish the Grand Circulation through the slow motion exercise.

After the meditator can circulate Chi to the arms and legs, he has achieved the Grand Circulation. This can take six months to achieve, or many years, depending on the person and the time he has available for practice.

Beyond the Grand Circulation, the meditator can develop the ability to expand the Chi to the arms and legs simultaneously, to expand the Chi in the form of a ball larger than the body, to take in Chi from outside the body, or direct the Chi at will to specific parts of the body, such as the palm, fingertips, or the area of an injury.

If someone learns to transport his Chi beyond his body or take in Chi from outside, then he might be able to use his Chi Kung to cure illness and injuries involving Chi disturbance. However, this should not be attempted without an experienced instructor's training. To take outside disturbed Chi, called evil Chi (Shia Chi) into your body without knowing how to get rid of it is dangerous. By the same token to extend your own Chi into another's body without knowing the proper stopping point, risks Chi exhaustion.

3-4. Chi Enhancement and Transport

Once a Chi Kung practitioner has accomplished his Grand Circulation, he will begin to practice advanced methods to make his Chi stronger, more focused, and more controlled by his will. Even though a practitioner can start this Chi enhancement after accomplishing the Small Circulation, the enhancement will be easier and more efficient if he waits until the completion of the Grand Circulation.

The first training method is called "Lien Chi"(Train the Chi) or "Chun Chi "(Filling Chi). The main purpose of this training is to make the Chi fill up the Dan Tien area, so that when Chi is accumulated there the abdomen is resilient like a balloon and can endure or resist a strong attack. As the Chi gets stronger and stronger in the Dan Tien, the Chi flow in the body also gets stronger and stronger. The training method of Chun Chi is simply to blow out a candle, starting two feet away and increasing the distance as you are able. Keep the tongue against the middle of the roof of the mouth while concentrating on the Dan Tien. Tighten the lips to form a very small opening. Blow the air out through this opening slowly and steadily, imagining that the stream of air is directed at the flame without spreading out at all. Blow as long as possible without straining. While blowing imagine that Chi is expanding and accumulating in the Dan Tien. When one can blow the candle out easily, he should then move the candle further away and continue. Practice five to ten minutes daily.

Another method of Lien Chi, called "Kuar Chi" (Expanding Chi), is to extend the Chi in a ball outward from the surface of the body. To do this the student should imagine while exhaling that his Chi is expanding out from the body in all directions forming a globe and that the center of the globe is the Dan Tien. When a meditator becomes proficient at this exercise, he will feel his body has disappeared, that he is transparent, and that he is a ball of Chi which gets smaller and smaller when inhaling and expands when exhaling. This exercise not only enhances the symmetrical movement of Chi, but also enables the Chi to reach every cell of the body simultaneously.

Small Circulation Meditation
Fig. 3-17. Fig. 3-18. Fig. 3-19.

After Chi development is at a fairly strong level, the student can begin to learn to focus or concentrate his Chi at some small area of the body. This kind of training is called "Yun Chi"or transporting the Chi. The main use of Yun Chi training is in the martial arts, where the Chi is concentrated in the palms for attack. Also, Chi can be transported to a specific area to resist a blow or punch. This latter Yun Chi practice is part of "Iron Shirt" or "Golden Bell Cover" training (see Chapter 5).

Here a few training methods will be introduced. The first task is to learn to focus the Chi in the palm. In the beginning this will proceed slowly, but with practice it will happen instantaneously.

1. The first form is called "Gung Sou "or Arcing the Arms (Fig. 3-14), in which the arms form a circle in front of the body with the fingertips close together, but not touching. Gung Sou can be done either sitting or standing. When the practitioner exhales, he guides the Chi to the arms and fingertips and imagines the energy exchanging at the fingers from one arm to the other. The Chi should flow to the hands from both arms at the same time, circling in both directions simultaneously.

2. The second form is to hold the hands as if holding a basketball in front of the chest. The elbows should not bend too much, which will stagnate the flow at the elbow area (Figs. 3-15 through 3-17). The mind should guide the Chi 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 Chi flow. Often Tai Chi Chuan practitioners practice this exercise while holding an actual ball to develop the feeling of a smooth, circular flow. As a matter of fact, the imaginary ball works as well, so that a real ball is not necessary.

3. The third form is to touch the palms together lightly in front of the chest (Fig. 3-18), and to exchange the Chi from one palm to the other while exhaling.

4. The finger touch is more advanced than the palm touch. Touch the fingertips together lightly in front of the chest (Fig. 3-19), and exhange energy between hands while exhaling.

Circular Deep Breathing Images
Fig. 3-20. Fig. 3-21. Fig. 3-22.

5. Horizontal circling Chi flow is called Wave Hands Like Clouds in Tai Chi. Hold the 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 the body (Fig. 3-20). Exhale and turn the trunk smoothly to the right as far as possible while directing the Chi to the palms (Fig. 3-21). Exhange the hands while inhaling (Fig. 3-22) and turn to the other side while exhaling (Fig. 3-23). This sequence should be repeated continuously so that a flowing rhythm is established.

6. Sinking palm training. There are two ways to do sinking palm training, one with the palms facing down (Fig. 3-24), the other with the edge of the hands facing down (Fig. 3-25). When exhaling, let the palms feel like they are sinking. Imagine pressing down a resistant object while using a little muscle tension. The will leads the Chi to the palm or to the edge of the hand. When inhaling, relax the tension.

7. Palm pushing training. There are three directions of pushing palm training.

(b). Out to the sides and from the sides in (Figs. 3-28 and 3-29);

(c). Up and down with hands exchanging (Figs. 3-30 and 3-31); and

(d). Up and down with both hands at once (Figs. 3-32 and 3-33).

To practice, with each exhalation imagine pushing with the palms against a resistant object and guiding the Chi to the palm with slight muscle tension. Push a real wall to experience the feeling of real resistance at first.

Other than the above seven forms of Chi transport and concentration training, there are two other common ways of practicing, both of which involve using a candle. The first way is the secret sword Chi transport (Fig. 3-34). To do this, hold both hands in the secret sword form, and point one of them at a candle flame. Begin with the fingertips one to two inches away. While exhaling, transport the Chi to the flame to make the flame move. If you practice

Smoking Word Search
Fig. 3-30. Fig. 3-31. Fig. 3-32.
Fig. 3-33.
Fig. 3-37. F>g- 3-38.

faithfully for quite a while 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 (Fig. 3-35). This is similar to the secret sword form, except that this time the Chi is directed out from the palm instead of the finger. Either way the hand not being pointed toward the flame should be kept in the same form and held in front of the waist for symmetry. Make sure when you do these exercises that your breath is directed away from the candle, and that only the Chi flow moves the flame.

3-5. Massage and Exercises after Meditation

After meditation or Chi transport training, the student should massage himself and do some loosening up exercises. The main purpose of massage is to loosen and relax the muscles on the Chi's paths. This can help the practitioner to clear the mind, and can also help to eliminate any residue of Chi which might remain in certain cavities. This residue of stagnant Chi, if left in the cavities, can affect normal Chi circulation and cause muscle and cavity pain. If a partner is available, it is best to massage each other, because it is easier to relax that way. Furthermore, a partner can massage the path on the back, which is difficult to do by yourself.

Fig. 3-41. Fig. 3-42.

Massage

Head:

Begin with the face. Rub the ridge of the brow starting at the nose (Fig. 3-36) and moving the hands up and across the forehead until the fingers pass the temple (Fig. 3-37). Next put the hands under the eyes (Fig. 3-38) and rub across the cheeks. Third, put the thumbs in front of the ears (Fig. 3-39) and move the thumbs down to the chin. For the top of the head, place the fingers one inch off the centerline of the skull (Fig. 3-40). Move the scalp back and forth lightly over the skull. Reset the fingers along the same lines, but toward the back, and gently rub again. Keep moving the fingers back along the head and massaging until the back of the skull is reached. The last place to rub in the head area is the neck. Place the thumbs at the base of the skull and rub downward with the hands (Fig. 3-41).

Hands:

Rub the palms together (Fig. 3-42) then rub the center of the palm with the thumb (Fig. 3-43). In the center of the palm is a cavity which lies on the pericardium channel. By massaging this cavity, the heart is gently stimulated. Kidneys:

Form fists with both hands and place the tops of the fists on the back behind the kidneys. Rub in a circular motion (Fig. 3-44). Knees:

During meditation the knees may become stiff and absorb cold air through the pores. To warm them up and relieve the stiffness, use the open hand to rub around the whole joint (Fig. 3-45).

Deep Meditation

Feet:

Rub the center of the bottom of the foot with the thumb (Fig. 3-46). This stimulates the kidneys via the kidney channel. You may then massage the whole bottom of the foot.

Exercises

1. Rotate the head by slowly turning it from side to side without moving the rest of the body (Fig. 3-47).

2. Rotate the back by slowly twisting the trunk from side to side while maintaining the sitting position (Fig. 3-48).

3. Stretch the chest by clasping the hands behind the back and thrusting the chest as far forward as possible (Fig. 3-49).

4. Rotate the shoulders forward and backward (Figs. 3-50 and 3-51).

5. Lock the fingers with the palms facing out, then stretch the arms out in front (Fig. 3-52) and over the head (Fig. 3-53).

6. Stretch the legs by grasping the feet and straightening the legs (Fig. 3-54).

Fig. 3-56. Acupuncture Cavities on the Crown of the Head

Beating the Drum (Min Gu)

The Min Gu exercise is very important in Chi Kung training. In this exercise the fingertips tap the top and back of the head, or the crown and Jade Pillow ("Yu Gen") (Fig. 3-55), especially on the acupuncture points (Fig. 3-56). When the crown is tapped this way the resulting stimulation to the Chi channels and nervous system helps to increase circulation of Chi and blood in the head area. Min Gu should always be practiced after meditation for two reasons. First it c helps one to awaken completely from the meditative state, and second it helps to flush away any Chi accumulated in the head during meditation. Min Gu can also be used in everyday life. After a long period of concentration it helps to clear the mind the same as after meditation. The Taoists have found that tap -ping theheadnot only clears and calms the mind,but also improves the memory and judgment. This is because the stimulation increases the supply of nutrients to the brain. Min Gu is helpful for relieving headache, especially tension headaches, again because of the increase in the flow of Chi. Finally, Min Gu can improve the health of the scalp if practiced regularly, and prevent loss of hair and graying.

Luogue Baihui ¡an

Houding

Chi Circulation

Chengling

Qianding

Chengguang

Zhengying

Muchuang Wuchu Head Linqi

Shangxing

Luogue Baihui ¡an

Chengling

Qianding

Chengguang

Zhengying

Muchuang Wuchu Head Linqi

Shangxing

Houding

Knocking the Teeth (Kou Tshi)

Kou Tshi is commonly used together with Min Gu after meditation. It consists of simply biting vigorously (but not too hard) about 50 times. It assists in clearing the mind and also promotes the health of the teeth by stimulating their roots. In addition, the knocking causes reverberations in the skull which helps to clear the mind.

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