“Motion” and “Cultivation” of Health Qigong
by Wang Xianghong, Health Qigong Administration Centre of Sichuan Province
Health Qigong is a traditional sport of our nation with body movements, respiration regulation, and mental regulation as the major forms of exercise. While practicing Health Qigong, most people accomplish the exercising goals through “motion”.
“Motion” means changing the original position or breaking away from the quiescent state. When the body of a person moves, their bones and muscles will be dragged and heat will be generated in the body to accelerate the flowing of blood and the circulation of blood around the body, propel the organism to continuously metabolize. At the same time, the sweating and urinating activities will discharge the waste and toxins from the body in order to strengthen the body and preserve health. Most sports work in this way.
However, the “motion” of Health Qigong is different from the “motion” of general sports. “Motion is quiescence and quiescence in motion” is one of the greatest features of Health Qigong. Slow physical movements will involve all muscles of the body in the motion. Respiration and mental regulation are further used to accelerate the circulation of blood and Qi in the body. This is the key to Health Qigong. This is what I have comprehended in practice:
First, attention should be drawn to the standardization of the physical movements, the evenness of moving speed, and the naturalization of long and deep breath. The purpose is to provide muscles and joints with finer exercise during the movements and match the movements with respiration in order to regulate the viscera and thus exercise the body and preserve health.
Second, routes of the channels should be learned and the principles of the movements should be understood. For example, in the practice of the preparative movements of Health Qigong•Ba Duan Jin, both arms rotate outward and close in front of the abdomen to form an arc. The gravity center descends vertically. The hips are collected and buttocks are withdrawn. The shoulders are relaxed and the elbows are lowered. And the neck is loosened and the top is lifted…Relaxing the neck and lifting the head means lifting Baihui. Collecting the hips and withdrawing buttocks means relaxing the waist and lowering the straddle. At this moment, Baihui Acupoint of the body will form a vertical line with Huiyin Acupoint, just as ancient people said: “The heavenly gate should be constantly open and the earth gate should be constantly closed”. This is exactly about the respiration exercise. Baihui is constantly open to receive the genuine Qi of the nature. The earth gate is constantly closed to support the kidney Qi. This is because the kidney belongs to water, and the natural tendency of water is to flow downward. It is only through practice that we can connect the heart with kidney and keep them in balance in order to stabilize kidney Qi. And when both arms form an arc, a “vacant axil” will be created. Although the stance is relative quiescent, corresponding changes are taking place in the standing body because there are some “Yu” acupoints in the vacant axil. Stimulated by the stance, these Yu acupoints will naturally dispel toxins from the body. This is a process that converts “motion” into “cultivation”. Just imagine that when the posture is incorrect, the body will not be relaxed, the channels of the body will not be dredged, and blood and Qi circulation will not be smooth. Therefore the quality of the postures and movements has a direct influence on the results of exercise.
Third, attention should be drawn to the experience in the exercise in order to accomplish the health-preserving objectives. Some phenomena will usually occur during exercise and when you have understood the routes of channels, you will learn all these reactions of the body through the movements. For example, in “Both Hands Touching the Feet to Strengthen the Kidneys and Waist” of Health Qigong•Ba Duan Jin, you will feel a steam of “body fluid” coming out of both sides of the root of the tongue when both hands massage along the lateral sides of the spinal column to both sides of the feet and the front faces of the feet and then lift your head, straighten the arms, lower the waist, clamp the ears, and lift the body. This body fluid is the direct reflection of the dredged kidney channels. This is because when the urinary bladder channel behind the leg is guided to the front face of the foot through the massaging movements, it is connected to the kidney channel at the little toe and then transmitted to the kidney (waist) to form a cycle. And the direct pull in the “body-lifting” movement will stimulate the kidney channel. As a result the essence “saliva” in the kidney will be brought out. By repeatedly stimulating the kidneys, we can exercise the kidneys and thus accomplish the health-preserving goals.