Body-building Principles of “Wei Tuo - Presenting the Pestle”

Routine 1 of Wei Tuo - Presenting the Pestle

Preparatory stance exercise: Stand on both feet parallel to each other and adjust the distance between both feet so that they are as wide as the shoulders. Slight bend both knees and naturally let down both arms on both sides of the body. Naturally adduct and slightly bend fingers. Look horizontally towards the front and then relax and gently close the eyelids like curtains. Calm the spirit and even the temper, settle the thoughts, clarify the mind, and assume a humble appearance. Relax the head, neck, shoulders, arms, chest, abdomen, buttocks, thighs, shanks, and feet one after another. Relax the joints and internal organs until every part of the body is at ease, the mind is free of distracting thoughts, and both spirit and mind are adducted. Then perform Vipassana and relaxation. Adduct both the spirit and mind. You will feel you mind refreshed and clear like the morning dew. Guide Qi downward and perform Vipassana of the throat until you feel a relaxed neck. Perform Vipassana of the Small Dantian feel a broad refreshed mind. Perform Vipassana of the spleen and feel a warm and moist Middle Warmer and comfortable gastric cavity. Perform Vipassana of the Lower Dantian and feel warm ministerial fire at Life Gate, plenty of vitality, and a warm abdomen. Perform Vipassana of Huiyin and feel it relaxed. Guide Qi downward along the inner sides of both legs and perform Vipassana of Yongqian. Feel infinite vitality flowing from the feet.

Specific movements: Bend both elbows, slowly raise the arms to the front of the chest as if holding a ball, bend the wrists and erect the palms, and point fingers upwards. Both palms shall face each other (at a distance about 10cm), the body shall be upright and straight, and Baihui Acupoint on the head top and Changqiang Acupoint in the crotch shall be in the same vertical line. Look straight to the front and stabilize the mind and spirit, as the poem goes: “Erect the body upright and straight, circle the hands in front of the chest, stabilize Qi and adduct the spirit, and clarify the mind take on a humble look.” To make the body upright and straight, you need to first use the head to relax and lift the entire body. While practicing the stance, imagine not using the supporting forces of the body parts to support the body, but using the lifting force of the head to lift the entire body. The lifting force shall reach as far as the heels as if the entire body is hung up. To relax the body, naturally let it down without using any supporting force. The lifting force of the head cannot reach the heels unless the body is well relaxed. The diaphragm muscles easily get tense during head lifting. If this happens, relax the precordium to relax the diaphragm muscles. The body will be easily relaxed and the gravity center will be naturally lowered. In one word, lifting the head will raise the spirit and relaxing the body will lower the gravity center. The unity of these opposite motions will excite the channels and tendons and boost the smoothness of channels. All of the three hand Yang channels run on the outer sides of both upper limbs. The Hand Yangming Channel is on the top, the Hand Taiyang Channel is in the middle, and the Hand Shaoyang Channel is on the bottom. The Hand Yangming Channel generates true force towards the front. The Hand Taiyang Channel generates true force towards the left and right. And the Hand Shaoyang Channel generates true force downwards. The key to the body-building function of the first routine of Wei Tuo Presenting the Pestle lies in the Hand Yangming Musculature. The Hand Yangming Musculature (Channel) is distributed in the index fingers, the frontal outer edges of the arms, the front shoulders, and the cheeks. Beginners with this stance exercise will first feel sour, numb, hot, and inflated frontal edges of the shoulders and upper arms. However this feeling will vanish as time goes by. The practicer will gradually feel an unobstructed Hand Yangming Musculature (Channel) where it goes by and develop forward true force from both palms. In the biomechanical point of view, they are both dialectic and united. At the end of Routine 1 of Wei Tuo Presenting the Pestle, the included angles between the upper arms and forearms and between the backs of hands and the forearms are all about 120度. And they go through isometric contraction and provide the greatest tension at this point. Their embodiment in the practicer is the “power”. By using power to locate Qi and using Qi to help it combine with breathing regulation, the practicer will feel refreshed and comfortable both mentally and physically. And this also provides effects similar to beauty care.

Routine 2 of Wei Tuo Presenting the Pestle

Carry on the previous routine, set both soles firmly on the ground, slightly bend both knees, raise both elbows, and horizontally spread both palms. The fingers of both hands shall face each other and the centers of the palms shall face downward. Both the palms and arms shall be on the same level as the shoulders. Stretch both palms forward with the palm centers facing downward and finger times pointing forward. Move both arms towards both sides until they enter the horizontal positions on body sides. Direct the palm centers downward and finger tips outward. Naturally adduct fingers, settle the wrists, erect the palms, and look towards the lower front. Expand the chest and bend the arms backwards while inhaling; stick up fingers inwards and prop up the palms outwards while exhaling. The poet says: “Settle toes on the ground, horizontally separate the hands, stay calm and quiet, and stand still.” In other words, the practicer needs to open arms and put them a little higher than the shoulders, look horizontally into the distance, lay flat the tip of the tongue, relax the waist and hips, grab the ground with toes of both feet as if taking root, relax the entire body, stay calm, eliminate all distracting thoughts, and get rid of all disturbing factors.

Running routes of the musculature (channels): From the medical point of view, the hand has a great deal of acupoints and Lung Channel of Hand Taiyin, Heart Channel of Hand Shaoyin, Pericardium Channel of Hand Jueyin, Small Intestine Channel of Hand Taiyang, Large Intestine Channel of Hand Yangming, and Triple-Warmer Channel of Hand Shaoyang pass through the palms. In other words, these six channels connect the hands with the internal organs of the body. Once hands move, the internal organs move. A movement of one part drives the movement of the entire body. Therefore we can exercise the entire body by exercising the hands. Persistent practice of hands will help adduct the power and Qi (the adduction of power and Qi will lead to strengthened physiological functions of the body, which prevent all kinds of diseases and strengthen the immune system.) Therefore beginners of this stance exercise will first feel sour, numb, hot, and inflated back sides of the shoulders and upper arms. However this feeling will vanish as time goes by. The practicer will gradually feel an unobstructed Hand Yangming Musculature (Channel) where it goes by and develop forward true force from both palms.

In addition, while practicing this stance, the practicer is required to shrink the chest and straighten the back so that Life Gate protrudes backwards and the coccygeal end drops downwards (if we draw an imaginary equilateral triangle with the connecting line between both heels as one side, the center of this triangle will be the direction towards which the coccygeal end is pointed). And the spine column shall be straight because it is not only the mechanical column of the human body but also the carrier of the central nerves. The sympathetic nerves and parasympathetic nerves extend from both sides of the spinal column to different parts of the human body and conduct the physiological activities of the body. Feishu, Weishu, Ganshu, and Shenshu Acupoints are also placed along the spinal column in the acupoint diagram. Therefore practicing Routine 2 of Wei Tuo Presenting the Pestle can strengthen the spinal column more effectively.

Routine 3 of Wei Tuo Presenting the Pestle

Carry on the previous routine, relax the wrists, raise both arms forward and then move them inward until they are bent in front of the chest. Direct the palm centers downwards. The distance between the palms and chest shall be as long as a fist. At the same time, rotate both palms inward and turn them to the bottom of the earlobes. Direct the palm centers upward and extend Hukous and both elbows outward. Move forward the gravity center of the body to the front sole, lift the heels, and prop up both palms to the top of the head. Direct the fist centers upward, spread the shoulders and stretch the elbows, slightly draw back the chin, butt the palate with the tongue, and clench the teeth. The poet says: “Prop hands up to the sky and look upward. Stand on the tips of toes and straighten the body. Put strength on the legs as if they take root. Clench teeth firmly. Butt the tongue against the palate. And regulate breath with the nose until the mind is calmed.””

The key to the body-building function of the third routine of Wei Tuo Presenting the Pestle lies in the Pericardium Channel. The Pericardium Channel is an independent channel in traditional Chinese medicine. Many diseases are related to this channel. From the anatomic point of view, the pericardium is a membrane coating the heart. There is some body fluid between it and the heart that provides lubricating effects when the heart moves with respect to this membrane. According to the Theory of Fiver Elements in traditional Chinese medicine, the heart belongs to Fire, the spleen governs Earth, and Fire generates Earth. The strengthened cardiac functions will also strengthen the splenic functions. The spleen is the most important organ in the immune system of a human being. By massaging the Pericardium Channel, we can improve the immunological competence of the human body. And practicing Routine 3 of Wei Tuo Presenting the Pestle is equivalent to “massaging”. Especially when there is excessive pericardial fluid outside the heart, Routine 3 of Wei Tuo Presenting the Pestle will be a good method to exercise this channel. It runs through the diaphragmatic muscles, connects the Upper, Middle, and Lower Warmers. In addition, if we maintain a tranquil and profound mind, eliminate distracting thoughts, and stand still, the normal cardiac functions will be benefited and the heart will be able to transport blood to different parts of the body, take away accumulated waste, and thus ensure the health-preserving functions of the channel.

In addition, the Pericardium Channel begins from inside the chest and goes out of the heart envelop. One of its branches diverges from the chest, runs along the flank of the body to Tianchi Acupoint which is located 3 Cun below the armpit, goes upward to the armpit, enters the elbow along the center line of the inner side of the upper limb, crosses the wrist, enters the palm (Laogong Acupoint), and goes out of the middle segment of the radialis end (Zhongchong Acupoint) along the radialis of the middle finger. The other branch diverges from the palm, goes out of the ulnaris end (Guanchong Acupoint) along the ring finger, and intersects the Triple-Warmer Channel of Hand Shaoyang. Diseases with this channel mainly lead to symptoms such as feverish palms, difficulty in bending or stretching elbows and arms, swelling armpits, dilated chest and hypochondrium, heartache, dysphoria, flushing face, yellow eyes, and changing temper. When both palms reach the top, the ring fingers will be exercised. In the long run, the parts along the routes the Hand Shaoyang Musculature will feel unobstructed and light. And downward true force will be developed in the palms.

Given the scientific health theories of the three routines of Wei Tuo Presenting the Pestle in Health Qigong•Yi Jin Jing, the old and middle-aged people practicing them regularly will immediately get rid of the frequently-seen tiredness, gradually remove the depression and nervousness, and therefore improve the constitution and increase the physical strength. The old, mobility-handicapped, or chronically-ill people can improve their weak constitution and improve the health or rehabilitation of the body if they practice them on a long-term basis. (Si Hongyu)

2009-12-21 11:43:00 Chinese Health Qigong Association