CHAPTER 10: MOBILE QIGONG TECHNIQUES

Lifting the Sky


(This chapter is selected from Jiao Guo Rui, Qigong for Health and Strength, Xuelin Books, Hong Kong, undated, published in Chinese. Some illustrations were used in this chapter, but they have been replaced by Shaolin Wahnam illustrations.)


Mobile Qigong

Mobile Qigong techniques refer to techniques where qigong practitioners have to move about when training qigong, for example, Qigong for Maintain Health, Eight Pieces of Brocade, Sinew Metamorphosis, Five-Animal Play and Taijiquan.

The movement of mobile qigong is different from that of physical exercise. Mobile qigong movement is the result of training qigong techniques, breathing and intention in conjunction with the quiescent state of mind with the complementary relationship of being mobile and quiescent, internal and external, loosening and tightening, forceful and gentle at the same time. It is a form of “external movement and internal quiescence, quiescence in movement” method of training. It enables the body to attain both the benefits of movement and quiescence. Listed below are some commonly used techniques of mobile qigong.


Posture, Breathing and Intention

Posture: The posture can be moving, sitting, standing or lying down. But the main posture is moving and standing. The training can improve the agility of the body. The popular techniques of mobile qigong will be introduced subsequently.

Breathing: The main approach of breathing in mobile qigong is natural breathing. Practitioners may use the nose to breathe in and the mouth to breathe out, or use the nose and mouth simultaneously. The breathing can be co-ordinated with the movement of the body. It will be explained subsequently.

Intention: The intention in some mobile qigong is focussed on certain part of the body, like the dan tian. (Editorial Note: The dan tian is located about 2 or 3 inches below the navel.) In some mobile qigong the intention is focussed on certain movements, like the “Shooting Arrow Left and Right” of Eight Pieces of Brocade. In some mobile qigong, the intention is focussed on mentally reciting certain phrases, like when relaxing, the focus is on the word “relaxed”. This will be explained in the various methods.


Internal Art of Eight Pieces of Brocade

The Eight Pieces of Brocade is a therapeutic method in traditional Chinese medicine, and is very popular amongst the public. “Eight Pieces” refers to eight techniques. “Brocade” refers to using colourful thread of silk to make some beautiful cloth. Since ancient times, people have used this term to describe a set of eight beneficial qigong techniques.

Eight Pieces of Brocade can be practiced while standing or sitting. In the past, sitting Eight Pieces of Brocade was called scholarly Eight Pieces of Brocade. Standing Eight Pieces of Brocade was called martial Eight Pieces of Brocade. There are various versions of Eight Pieces of Brocade. A popular version is explained below.


Sitting Eight Pieces of Brocade

Sitting Silently with Eyes Close: The verbal formula or mantra is “Sitting silently with eyes close to strengthen the spirit.”

Method: Sit silently in a single lotus, double lotus or cross-legged position. The head and the body must be upright. Loosen the spine. Hold the hands gently and place them in front of the abdomen on the legs. Open the mouth gently. Let the breathing be natural and gentle. Eliminate all irrelevant thoughts. Nourish the spirit. Focus the intention on the middle dan tian and sit silently for about 3 to 5 minutes. (Editorial Note: “Dan tian” means “energy field”. The author here refers to the abdominal energy field as the middle dan tian. Some other authors refer to the same abdominal energy field as the lower dan tian.)

Hands Hold Back of Head: The mantra is “Gently bite the teeth 38 times, and hold the hands at the back of the head.”

Method: While in the sitting posture, gently bite the teeth 36 times. When there is an increase in the amount of saliva, swallow it. Then, intertwine the fingers, and lift them up in front. Pass over the head and hold the back of the neck between the ears, but without closing the ears. (The energy points of “jade pillow” and “brain gate” are located here.) Lean the neck backward, and press the hands forward, resulting in once pressing and once loosening. Breathe in when pressing, and breathe out when loosening. Perform 9 times of breathing.

Striking the Jade Pillow: The mantra is “Sounding heavenly drum 24 times simultaneously left and right.”

Method: Continuing from the above technique, loosen the intertwining fingers. Move the palms to the ears and clasp the ears with the palms. The middle fingers of both hands point towards each other over the “jade pillow” energy points on the left and the right sides of the back of the neck. Place the index finger on the middle finger of each hand. Then simultaneously and gently flick the index fingers, coming from the middle fingers, onto the two “jade pillow” energy points, creating a drumming sound. Hence, this technique is called “sounding heavenly drum”. The drumming is performed simultaneously wth the left and the right index fingers for 24 times.

Turning Head and Loosening Neck: It is also called “Turning Heavenly Pillow”. The mantra is “Gently turn heavenly pillow. Red dragon plays with fragrant liquid. Fragrant liquid fills the mouth. Swallow it 3 times. Use intention to send the fragrant liquid to the navel.”

Method: Continuing from the above technique, let go of the clasp on the ears and place the hands in front of the abdomen on the legs, with the fingers intertwined, and the palms facing upward. The head should be upright, but tilt slightly downward. Gently turn the head to the left, and to the right. The turning will affect the “heaven pillow” energy point at the neck. Then, move the tongue inside the mouth to generate saliva. When there is a lot of saliva, swallow it with the intention of sending it to the navel.

Massaging the Kidney Energy Points: It is also called “Massaging the Gate of Essence”. The mantra is “Hold the breath to rub the palms. Massage gates of essence at the back. In one breath, visualize fire warming the navel.”

Method: Continue from the above technique. Breathe in gently with the nose, and visualize the breath to the middle dan tian. (Editorial Note: Some other authors refer to the same abdominal energy field as the lower dan tian.) Hold the breath gently for awhile (but without feeling difficulty of breathing), and rub the palms together to warm them. Then, with resumed natural breathing, use the warm palms to massage the “gate of kidney” energy points. (Editorial Note: The “gate of kidney” energy points are found each on both sides between the spine and the edge of the body along the waist.) There should be unity of intention and energy while massaging the “gate of kidney” energy points by visualizing warmth at the navel.

Hands Turning Wheels: The mantra is “Make circles with both palms, while strengthening the legs”.

Method: From the above technique, move the hands from the back to the side of the body at waist level with fingers pointing forward, and strengthen the legs. The fingers can be slightly bent. Circle the hands 9 times, with the shoulders, elbows, wrist and palms moving in small circles Then circle again 9 times in the other direction.

Lift Sky Hold Toes: The mantra is “Intertwine fingers lift upward, then drop head to clasp toes”.

Method: Continue from the previous technique. Intertwine the fingers of both hands with the palms facing downwards. Then lift the intertwined palms above the head with the palms facing skywards. Hold for a short while. Next, turn the palms to face downward and place them on top of the head. Then, turn the head upwards, and gently press down the two palms. Next, release the intertwined fingers, and bend forward to clasp the feet, with the hands clasping the “yongquan” energy points. (Editorial Note: The “yongquan” energy points are found at the soles of the feet at a slight depression about one third the distance from the toes.) Do not bend the knees. Perform the clasping 9 times.

Slowly Circulate the Small Universe: the mantra is “Saliva arrives from the throat. Nourish 3 times and swallow 9 times. Shallow with sound and relish, and meridians will flow harmoniously. Visualize fire to warm the body. Its old name was Eight Pieces of Brocade. Practice after midnight and before noon. Practice consistently and all illness will disappear.”

(Editorial Note: The Small Universe is a qigong term referring to the continuos flow of the ren mai and the du mai, or the conceptual meridian and the governing meridian in front and at the back round the body. It is excellent to practice qigong at midnight, but some qigong schools discourage practicing qigong at noon.)

Method: Sit in a double lotus, single lotus or cross-legged posture, and gently close the eyes. Use the tongue to generate saliva in the mouth and focus at the dan tian (situated about 2 or 3 inches below the navel). Gently visualize the flow of the Small Universe to activate the flow of the ren mai and the du mai (or the conceptual meridian and the governing meridian). Initial students can just sit silently, without visualizing the flow of the Small Universe. Use intention to feel warm in the body, but not too warm.


Memory Song

Close eyes sit silently.
Hold the back of the neck.
Sound the jade pillars.
Turn head and neck.
Massage kidney points.
Circle both hands.
Lift sky clasp toes.
Slowly circulate Small Universe.


Lifting the Sky to Harmonize Triple-Warmer

Method: Stand upright naturally. The feet are comfortably apart and parallel, about the width of the shoulders. (Editorial Note: In some versions, the feet are together, or about 2 or 3 inches apart.) The knees are slightly bent. (Editorial Note: In some versions, the knees are straight, or neither straight nor bent, as it is said in qigong term.) The arms are comfortably at the sides. Drop the shoulders and lower the elbows. Do not overtly raise the chest. Hold in the stomach comfortably. The head looks forward. Be mentally alert and breathe naturally. Gently focus at the dan tian (which is situated about 2 or 3 inches below the navel).

Circulate the palms and intertwine the fingers with the palms facing upward. Then turn the palms to face downward, with the fingers still intertwined. Moving the palms forward, then upward, above the head. Hold for a short while. Then release the intertwining fingers, with the palms as if lifting the sky. Hence, this technique is called “Two Palms Lifting the Sky”.

(Editorial Note: In some versions, practitioners begin the technique by pressing the palms downward, then upwards as if lifting the sky, without intertwining the fingers.)

Then lower the two arms to the sides of the body. Repeat the procedure about 10 to 20 times.


Left and Right Shooting Arrows like Shooting Birds

Method: Move the left leg a step to the left. (Editorial Note: In some versions for starting the same procedure, practitioners move their right leg a step to the right.) Sit down on a horse-riding stance, as if riding a horse. Raise both hands to chest level. The right hand is the “bow” hand, pulled to about half a foot in front of the right breast. Left hand is the “arrow” hand, held in the form of a sword-finger, and is stretched out to the left. Following the movement, turn the head to the left. The eyes look at the fingers.

(Editorial Note: The sword-finger is formed by holding the thumb, the fourth finger and the little finger together, and pointing straight out the index finger and the middle finger. In some versions, the One-Finger Zen hand form is used instead of the sword-finger. It is a common mistake to turn the body or bend the body to the right when turn the head. Guard against this mistake by keeping the body upright and facing forward.)

After this, bring back the left leg and the two hands to the starting position. Repeat the procedure on the right side, alternating left and right. Repeat the technique, both the left side and the right side, about 10 to 20 times. (Editorial Note: In some versions, practitioners perform on one side a few times, then the other side a similar number of times.)

Single Lifting Hand to Harmonize Spleen and Stomach

Method: Standard naturally upright. Press the two palms downward. Circulate the two palms so that they face upward, and raise them to the level of the abdomen.

Turn and raise the left hand upward above the head with the palm facing upwards. Simultaneously circulate the right palm press it downward with the palm facing down along the right side of the body to the right thigh. Pause for a short while. Then lower the left pam in front of the body, and simultaneously raise the right palm above the head. The two hands cross each other in front of the body at about the abdomen level. Repeat the procedure about 10 to 20 times.


Looking Back to Overcome Fatigue and Injury

Method: Standard naturally upright. The two palms face upward and meet at about the abdomen level in front of the body. Turn the head to the left as far as possible, and harmonizing with the breathing, simultaneously rotate the palms and lower them, palms facing downward, at the sides of the thigh. Using intention but not literally, look at the right heel, and visualize qi or energy flowing from the middle dan tian. (Some other authors refer to this abdominal energy field as the lower dan tian._

Pause for a short while, then look ahead again. Gently visualize qi flowing from the right sole via the right leg to the “huiyin” energy point, up the spine and the “mingmen” energy point back to the middle dan tian. (Editorial Note: The “huiyin” energy point is located between the anus and the external sex organ, and the “mingmen” energy point is located at the back opposite the navel. The middle dan tian is called by some other authors as the lower dan tian.)

Look ahead again, and return the two palms facing upward at the abdomen level as at the beginning of the exercise. Then repeat the procedure turning the head to the right side, lifting the left arm and lowering the right arm. Repeat the whole exercise, alternating left and right, for about 10 to 20 times.


Shake Head Wag Tail Clear Heart Fire

Method: Move the left leg to the left side and lower the body to assume the horse-riding stance. Bend the body forward slightly, the eyes look forward at parallel level, and place the palms at the knees. Let qi or energy sink to the feet, and focus at the “yongquan” energy points. (Editorial Note: The “yongquan” energy points are located at both soles about a third distance from the toes.)

Then, keeping the spine straight and using the waist as pivot, rotate the body to the left front. The left arm is bent, the right arm is fairly straight, and the head and the right thigh are about in line. Gently think of the kidneys stabilizing at the lower right side. The eyes look at the right toes. Pause for a short while.

Then repeat the procedure on the other side, moving the head slightly forward to the right side. Repeat the whole exercise, alternating left and right, for about 10 to 20 times.


Both Hands Clap Toes Strengthening Kidneys and Waist

Method: Continue from the above technique. Retrieve one leg about half a step to stand upright at about shoulders’ width. (In some versions, both legs are retrieved to stand with feet quite close together.) The knees are slightly bent, the head looks ahead, and the arms are dropped comfortably at the sides.

Then lift both palm up above the head with arms quite straight, palms facing upward and fingers pointing towards the back. Straighten the legs. Raise qi, or energy, to the waist, and focus intention at the “mingmen” energy point. (Editorial Note: The “mingmen” energy point is located at the back opposite the navel.) Pause for a short while.

Then, using the waist as pivot, bend forward and clasp the feet with both hands. When clasping the feet with the hands, gently sink qi, or energy, to the legs, and focus the intention on the “yongquan” energy points. (Editorial Note: the “yongquan” energy points are located at the soles of the feet about one third the distance from the toes.)

Repeat the exercise about 10 to 20 times.


Punch with Angry Eyes to Increase Strength

Method: Move the left leg a step to the left side, and lower the body to assume the horse-riding stance. (Editorial Note: In some versions, the horse-riding stance is formed by mobbing both feet half a step to both sides, with the starting point remaining in the centre of the stance.)

Focus the intention at the abdominal dan tian or the “mingmen” energy point. (Editorial Note: “Dan tian” means “energy field”, and is located about 2 or 3 inches below the navel. “Mingmen” means “gate of life”. The “mingmen” energy point is located at the back opposite the navel.)

Then hold the two hands in two fists. Place the two fists at breast level on each side of the body. The eye of the fist, (i.e. the small depression formed by the index finger and the thumb when holding a fist) faces upward. Punch out the left fist to the left side, and and turn the head to the left to look at the punched-out fist. Simultaneously pull the right fist, with the eye of the fist also facing upward, to the right breast, focusing strength at the right elbow. Pause for a short while.

Then, bring back the two fists to the sides at breast level. Repeat the same procedure with the right fist, substituting “right” for left and vice versa. Practice the whole exercise, alternating left and right, about 10 to 20 times.

(Editorial Note: In some versions, the two fists are placed at waist level with the eye of the fist facing outward. The fists are punched forward alternatively.)


Raise Heels to Overcome Hundreds of Diseases

Method: Stand naturally upright. The knees are quite tight and the legs are straightened. The head looks ahead. Sink qi, or energy, at the dan tian. (Editorial Note: The dan tian is situated about 2 or 3 inches below the navel.) The two arms are dropped naturally at the sides of the body, with the palms bent and the fingers pointing forward. Press down the two palms with some force.

Then gently raise the heels of both feet, with the two palms pressing down. Simultaneously breathe in gently. Pause for a short while. Then, loosen the body, breathe out and lower the heels to the ground. Practice the exercise for about 10 to 20 times. For the last time, use intention to bring the breathing to the middle dan tian. (Editorial Note: Some other authors refer to the same middle dan tian as the lower dan tian, and it is located about 2 or 3 inches below the navel.)


Memory Song

Two hands lift sky to harmonize triple warmer
Left and right shooting arrow like shooting birds
To harmonize spleen and stomach lift single hand
Look back to overcome fatigue and injury
Shake head wag tail to overcome heart fire
Clasp feet with two hands to strengthen kidneys and waist
Punch fists with angry eyes to increase strength
Raise heels to overcome hundreds of diseases

Shake Head Wag Tail

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