By Hu Xuezhi, edited by Vietanh
Pre-Heaven Qi cultivation practice emphasizes the application of "circle", which is the place for paying attention to and the place where Qi converges. Different stages correspond to the different locations and states of circles. With the combination of static and motion postures, such Qigong practice can be suitable for many practitioners of different ages. Also, there is no strict requirement i.e., it can be practiced in either standing, sitting, lying or walking, etc. thus it features a wide adaptability for different individuals and different diseases. Moreover, such exercise is safe and it is not easy to lead to disorders due to incorrect practice.
1. Standing Posture
Feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly grip the ground, knees bend slightly. Keep the natural body position. Have the body gravity falls between the legs. Straighten the back, draw in lower belly, and slightly lift Huiyin acupoint, anus, and the genital area. Square chest, pull the back upward, lower the shoulder, make hallow the armpit, bend the elbow, palms face each other like holding a ball in front of the navel, the fingers bend in a natural way with force being enough to support such state of the fingers. Look directly forward, slightly close eyes, lips meet together, tongue slightly touches the upper palate, and smile.
(A) Requirements for correct practice:
There are 4 requirements for correct practice: upright, relax, quiet, and empty.
Upright: stand upright, the three points (Baihui, Huiyin, Yongquan) fall on a straight line on the ground. The heart-mind is straight forward with mind for physical healing and health well being only, not in the least for the pursuit of results, or the quick achievement.
Relax: relax every part of the body, no rigidity, and no exertion. Feel at ease, selfless, fearless, no desire for ego, relax eyebrow, and slightly close eyes.
Quiet: a mind like a towering old pine with no motion, emotionally tranquil. Get rid of stray thoughts, focus on one intention, feel at ease without anything abnormal, and just wait for the nature.
Empty: get rid of desires and demands, do without the ego and things beyond ego, and fall into a deep and pure state.
(B) Tranquil contemplation or silently reciting
"Pure heart leads to longevity, no stray thoughts invite lasting spring.
Smiles often accompany wind of spring and the sunshine makes me feel real."
While doing tranquil contemplation please check if your doing corresponds with the meaning of the above message. The heart mind should be carefully pure, away from evil thoughts. Having no evil thoughts can make you immune to all diseases. In summer imagine you are feeling the spring wind in winter imagine sunlight is constantly placed upon you. Tranquil contemplation or silently reciting can help you to eliminate distracting thoughts, relax and to concentrate your attention.
Abdominal breathing, inhale and expand the belly, exhale and contract the belly. When inhale image the Qi is heading to Lower Dantian. Have a slight control over the breathing: inhale but only use 80% of the inhalation capacity, exhale but only use 60% of the exhalation capacity. Have a slow, natural and well-paced breathing, not too deep, not too slow, a breathing that can help you to get rid of distracting thoughts, and invite the quietude.
(D) Do circling sideway within Dantian
Dantian is a ball-shaped area located right below the middle point connection the navel and kidneys, about 3.8 cm in diameter. For women and men there may exist some difference but it is not obvious. Some people hold it is the size of an apple, but in fact, depending upon people’s constitution, the size varies.
Put the attention upon the Lower Dantian, you can imagine a ball of Qi within Lower Dantian, begins to rotate along a white circle which is slightly larger than the Qi ball, at an even speed, three seconds per circle. But in order to be free of too much distraction please let the ball circulate as naturally as possible. First do the circulation 36 times from right to left, then 36 times from left to right. Then rest 3 seconds, and repeat 4-8 times. During the process please do not have very strong mind-will, have the mind-will there but abstain from checking it. As you practice day after day gradually you may have a sense of distension and warmth, which is a normal reaction. After 4-8 times of repetition, you are advised to do the following:
(E) Do front-back circling within Dantian
In front of the body people know there is a meridian called Ren channel and at back there is a meridian called Du channel. The two connect and form a circle termed as small water-wheel. Such circle can be visualized to form a mirror and within this mirror surface there is another circulation surrounding the central point of Lower Dantian. So, this time, imagine the ball circulates to the front, then downward to the Huiyin, and upward to the original position. The ball should not go beyond the middle point connecting navel and kidneys, and the lowest point which is Huiyin acupoint. So, along the circle and in this direction please imagine the ball circulates 36 times. Rest 10 seconds and repeat the circulation 4-8 times. This practice, after a long time, can help to open up Ren- and Du-channels and once it has no obstruction the Qi would circulate naturally along the channels. It is called small Zhou Tian.
(F) Rotation outside
Rest 10 seconds and then imagine the Qi from Lower Dantian begins to flow out and do circulation along the surface of the front chest, first from right to left, from small circle to large one, the highest point should not surpass Tian Tu acupoint, the lowest point does not surpass up edge of pubis. Do such circulation 36 times, then imagine the Qi begin to circle from left to right, from big circle to small one, till, after 36 circles, it goes into navel and settles into lower Dantian again. Have two hands overlap each other, meditate for sometime, then open eyes, relax every parts of the body.
The exercises should be done by sequence and should not omit one step. If you are ill, please do the following practice to treat the illness, in addition:
(G) Have the Ball circulate in affected area
Please first understand your illness, injury or pain is of vacuity nature or repletion nature, and then after finishing the circulation described above and resting 10 seconds, please use mind-will to deploy the Qi to the affected area to do the circulation. Do the circulation from right to left to supplement if it is vacuity nature; from left to right to discharge if it is repletion nature. Do 36 circulation makes up one time, repeat 4-8 times. Please do not do any reversal circulation. Then bring the Qi back to Lower Dantian to be rectified and settle down. For practitioners, who have no illness or pain or injury there is no need to do this exercise.
2. Overlapping Palms
Take the posture as described before and have the left palm slightly press against the back of right hand while the center of right palm should press against the lower belly, facing directly the central point of Lower Dantian.
(A) Then do the same circulation within lower Dantian but this time it is not in Lower Dantian, but image the ball begins to circulate around the LaoGong acupoint, first from right to left, 36 times; then from left to right, 30 times. Rest 10 seconds, then do the repetition altogether 4-8 times. Then adopt the front-back circulation around the Lao Gong.
(B) Standing-up double palms
Change the two overlapping palms to standing-up palms---two palms stick to each other, well placed before the front chest, fingers pointing upward. Imagine the front-back circulation within Lower Dantian starts, several circles later imagine the ball begins to move to circulate around the Lao Gong of two palms, from palms, downward, ascend the chest, forming one circle. Only do such circulation and no reversal one. Do 36 times of circulation, then rest 10 seconds before repeat 4-8 times.
With the twin pairs of overlapping palm practiced, the palm swollen, to practice this feature. So that accumulation of palm Lao Gongxue flow of air with the outside world. The exercises are required a priori one dollar after the gong-gong exercises with pairs of India.
3. Breathing via Lao Gong
After the overlapping palm and double standing-up palms practice you may feel the palms begin to swell. It means you can do the following practice to have the Qi within body to communicate with outside via Lao Gong. The exercise should be carried out after Pre-Heaven Practice and double standing-up palms.
Standing posture, two arms hang down naturally along two sides of the body. Gradually raise left arm (right arm remains in original position) to reach the shoulder level, palm face forward, put the mind-will at Lao Gong of left palm.
When inhale please sink left elbow, draw back left arm, fingers slowly gather up together, as if to suck in the Qi existing between Heaven and Earth via Lao Gong. Then the Qi, along the left arm, flows down into Lower Dantian and settle there. When exhale, please stretch the left forearm forward, open fingers, imagine the bad Qi from body is released via LaoGong acupoint, or you can imagine the Qi in Lower Dantian was issued from Lao Gong acupoint.
One time of left forearm bending and stretching makes up one course. Repeat the course three times. Then repeat the process with right arm (same requirement and same procedure). Such breathing via Lao Gong should be carried out naturally without much exertion. The motion should be smooth and slow as like swimming snake upon water surface. Once you withdraw the arms, do not reach to the extreme; when you stretch out arms, you do not reach to the limits. Just let all take its natural course. Training in such way for sometime you will feel the hot and swelling with you palms and arms; also, the close by people feel the same sensation, which indicates you gained more capacity
in Qi deployment and cultivation.
4. Solar Qi Cultivation
Every first and second day of Traditional Chinese lunar calendar you are advised to do this practice. In the morning when the sun is rising from the horizon, face east to see the sun rising, the open eyes naturally, look at the sun, silently count the breathing 100 times. Then with eyes closed, turn to face west, adjust the breathing, and slightly close the eyes. Then rotate the eyeball 80 times from top left to lower right, then do reversal rotation from top right to lower left, 80 times, Then rub two palms to make you feel hot and cover two palms to the two eyes (open). Count the breathing 36 times. Then move away two palms and look into the distant trees for 5 to 7 minutes before ending the practice.
Attention: for people with red eyes or pain with eyes, please do not try this practice.
5. Dry Washing
1. Please rub hot your palms then apply palms to rub the back of the hands and fingers.
2. Wipe forehead and face with the palms from top to bottom, use the middle section of the index finger joints to rub the eyebrow and eyelids from the inside to outside, 36 times; then rub the both sides of the nose up and down, 36 times
3. Four fingers together, then rub the place connecting YinTan (between two eyes), Tai Yang (temple) and occipital back head, to and fro, 36 times.
4. Sandwiched ear lobe from both sides by using thumb and index finger, then rub the ear lobe up and down, 36 times. Then press against the depression of the ears using index fingertip, 36 times; then pull down the ear lobe a few times.
5. First press Zusanli acupoint 36 times then along the lateral lower leg to the foot root rub leg 36 times, up and down. Then rub Yongquan acupoint 36 times. Then end the practice.