Taoist Stretching Practice Collection


By Hu Xuezhi

Twelve Steps of Brocade Practice(Sitting Posture Version)
This school of practice has a very long history in China and once played an important role for Chinese health well being. It is generally used for doing preparatory work for normal practice. Yet, if practitioner can have the proper mind will maneuvering approach it can help practitioner gain much more than they could expect. This practice can combine with any schools of qigong except the imagining methods should change. Please contact qigong teacher for more information. Any suggestions and inquiry are welcome.

 1. Sit cross legged, slightly close two eyes, clench two hands, slowly purge of all stray ideas, position spine upright, settle mind-will in lower Dantian area. Relax all parts of the body, let tongue tough hard palate.   

2. Put two hands behind the head and let two palms touch the back side of the head, then let two lines of teeth strike against each other 36 times, feel how the vibration spread around the body, to relax all parts of the body.

3. Relax every parts of the body. Straighten all fingers and let them knock the back side of the head 48 times. Then resume the former position.   

4. With arms akimbo, slowly turn the upper body to the right to watch right, then turn left to watch left, keeping spine upright. 24 times.

5. With two arms akimbo, slowly turn tongue around in the mouth, till saliva is full. Then slowly swallow down the saliva in three times. Imagine the saliva go down slowly into the Lower Datian along Ren Channel.   

6. Put two hands behind and let two palms cover the kidney area, right palm right side, left palm left side. A little while, use all finger tips to rub the kidney area up and down till you feel hot with kidney area. Rest a while and rub again. 96 times.

7. With two arms akimbo, slow the breathing, then imagine there is a fire in the heart area coming down slowly into Dantian area. The fire begin to burn hot in it and you will feel hot with the lower Dantian area.   

8. Position two forearms as the figure shows, clench two hands. With the central point of the shoulder(on the spine) as the fixed point and turn the shoulder, upper arm and forearms clockwise and then counterclockwise as like turning a hoisting tackle. 36 times.

9. Stretch two legs forward, cross the fingers of the two hands then turn palms upward, then push two hand upward slowly and use force, imagine pushing heavy things upward. Then slowly lower two hands and let two palms cover the head from above. Repeat the process 9 times.   

10. Catch hold of the feet with two hands(see figure left). Then bow the upper body forward slowly, 16 times.

11. Sit cross legged, rest a while and settle mind-will in lower Dantian area again. Turn tongue around in the mouth till saliva is full again. In three times swallow down the saliva and imagine saliva go down into Lower Dantian area. Repeat the saliva-gathering process three times. Then relax every parts of the body, keeping spine upright.   

12. Imagine fire begin to burn in Lower Dantian and later the feeling of hot coming up. Then imagine fire begin to move out of Lower Dantian and head to Coccyx point, then go upward along Du channel to the upper Dantian, then go down along Ren Channel to return into Lower Dantian again. Then stand up and slap every parts of the body.

13. Cloud Setting Off Rainbow
Sit cross-legged with left hand on right shoulder and right hand on left shoulder. Turn head to the left and look ahead to the left. Inhale and exhale slowly. While exhaling, keep body relaxed and shoulders and elbows lowered. Inhale ans exhale 12 times and turn head slightly to the right. Return to the starting position and repeat the whole process with "left" and "right" reversed.

This excise can treat fullness in the chest and abdomen and resist the upward floating of qi in deficiency condition.

14. Rubbing the Gate of Jing with Palms
Inhale with nose and hold breath. Place palms and rub them until they get warm and then use them to rub both sides of lower back whilst slowly exhaling with nose. The "gate of jing" refer to the two soft spots on lower back. Rub them 36 times before sitting quietly for a whilst at the end of the whole process.

This excise may reinforce kidney Qi, nourish the five Zang organs and dispel cold and dampness.

15. Soothing Chest Depression by Regulating Qi
Sit at ease with legs straightened. Place hands at the root of the thighs with your mind focused on points of rubbing. Inhale lightly and rub forward along the medial side of legs to heels. Return to the starting position and repeat the whole process 12 times.

The excise may treat wind-dampness-cold syndromes and pain in the leg and knee.

16. Soothing Chest Depression by Regulating Qi
Sit cross-legged with hands clenched gently. Swing right fist to the left along with left one whilst turning head to the right and left fist to the right along with right one whilstt turning head to the left. Exhale gently with mouth whilst swinging fists and turning head but inhale slowly with nose whilst returning both fists to the middle part of the body.

This excise can treat fullness in the chest.

17. Seated on a Mat and Floating on Water
Sit cross-legged with arms slightly bent at elbow and palms facing up as if propping up the sky. Inhale slowly and direct Qi down to abdomen and other body parts before exhaling slowly. Repeat the inhaling and exhaling movements nine times. Then press palms down and inhale and exhale another nine times.

This excise may treat abdomen edema due to the yang deficiency.

18. Rubbing Dantian and Regulating Qi
Sit cross-legged with right palm placed at Dantian and left palm over right palm. Rub Dantian in circles gently, and inhale and exhale naturally.

This excise may treat hypofunction of the small intestines with cold manifestations.

19. Placing Hands at Abdomen and "Hold Up the Moon"
Sit cross-legged with fingers of both hands interlocked at lower abdomen. Close eyes and concentrate on lower abdomen. Inhale whilst relaxing abdomen but exhale whilst drawing in abdomen.

This excise may treat abdomenial pain and stomachache.

20. Twisting Tianzhu and Getting Qi to Flow
Tianzhu refers to the Qi column linking the human body with its natural surroundings in Qigong. Twisting Tianzhu can activate Qi and promote blood circulation.

Sit cross-legged with head slightly lowered. Twisting neck to the left with shoulders turning in the same direction. Get fingers of both hands interlocked and push them down to the left side of body. Look at fingers. Return to the starting position and repeat the whole process 24 times with "left"and "right" reversed.

This excise can treat headache and other diseases caused by wind-cold pathogen.

21. Rubbing Face anf Getting It Beautiful
Keep eyes closed for a moment when you wake up from a night's sleep or a noon nap. Place the back of thumbs toghether and rub them until they get warm. Then rub eyelids with the back of thumbs nine times. With eyes still closed, rotat eyeballs to the left nine times and right as many. Then, a moment later, open eyes and rotate eyeballs to the left nine times and right as many. This part of the excise is effective for wind-heat syndromes and eye diseases.

Rub the back of the thumbs until they get extremely warm. Then rub both sides of nose up and down 36 times when thumbs are quite warm. This part of the excise may help nourish the lungs.

Rub spots at the outer corner of both eyes, each 36 times. Then rub spots at the inside corner of both eyes near the nose. each also 36 times. This part of the excise may improve eyesight.

Place palms toghether and rub them until they get extremely warm. Rub both sides of face 90 times. This part of the excise may get your face beautiful and delay the appearance of wrinkles.

22. Angling by the Lake
Sit upright with legs straightened. Raise arms forward and keep them in line with legs, hands formed into hollow fists. Draw in arms and feet slowly before straightening them out. Inhale whilst drawing in arms and feet but exhale whilst straightening them out. Look straight ahead.

This excise may treat pain in the waist and lower extremities.

23. The Dragon Flying and the Tiger Running
Sit cross-legged with eyes closed. Rotate tongue until you get a mouthful of saliva, or the "divine water." Gargle with it 36 times before swallowing it in three gulps. Make sounds when you swallow it and imagine that you are sending it down into Dantian at lower abdomen. Return to the starting position and repeat the whole process three times.

This excise may regulat and coordinate all the channels in the body.

24. Lao Tzi Banishing the Wind
Sit crioss-legged with spine upright. Clench left hand into fist and push it against upper left side of body. Open right palm naturally and put it gently on right knee. Concentrate on the affected part of the body. Inhale deeply and direct Qi towards the diseased spot. Return to the starting position and repeat the whole process with "left" and "right" rversed.

This excise may cure paralysis, furuncle and diseases caused by wind pathogen.

25. Rubbing Clouds and Relaxing Sleeves
Sit upright with legs straightened. Place right foot flatly and bend left leg. Then stretch out left arm to the left, and rub abdomen with right hand, first clockwise nine times and then counterclockwise as many. Breathe naturally with your attention focused on the mind. Return to the starting position and repeat the whole process with "left" and "right" reversed.

This excise may help treat pain in the shoulder and back and indigestion.

26. Water Flowing on a High Mountain
Keep eySit upright with both legs straightened. Raise hands and keep their fingers interlocke overhead. Push hands up with the help of body as if holding a heavy stone before placing hands on top of head. Repeat this movement nine times.

This excise may help dispelling Qi stasis in the back and relax muscle.

27. Rubbing the Nape Area
Sit cross-legged with ears and head covered with hands. Inhale gently and exhale slowly with nose. Breathe 12 times before combing hair, tapping head and rubbing face.

This excise may help alleviate incessant pain caused by attack of wind pathogen, make clear the brain and relax the mind.

28. Beating the Drum and Plucking the Zither
Sit upright with right leg bent at a big angle and left leg at a small one. Rub palms until they get warm, and rub left sole with right warm palm and right sole with left warm palm until they also get warm. Then sit upright with legs crossed and hands placed on the knees. Exhale nine times.

This excise may help regulate blood and Qi vessels and treat diseases in the tri-Jiao, dim sight and asthenia.

29. Sitting in Silence
Sit at ease with palms gently placed on knees. Twist body to the left and right as much as possible. Inhale when you do the twisting movement and exhale when you return to the starting position.

This excise may regulate Qi, remove blood stasis and cure miscellaneous diseases.

30. Flicking the Nape and Ears Echoing with Sound
Cover Tiangu (ears) with forefingers over middle finger of each hand on the back of head. Flick middle fingers with forefingers as if beating a drum. Repeat the flicking movement 24 times in rotation for each forefinger.

This excise may refresh the mind and improve hearing.   

31. Han Xiangzi Deploys Qi
Sit at ease with legs crossed. Rub eyes with palms and place clenched hands at sides. Inhale whilst drawing in abdomen and sending Qi up to upper body but exhale whilst relaxing abdomen and delivering Qi down to lower body.

This excise is effective for Qi and blood deficiency.

32. Turning the Windlass
Sit cross-legged and raise arms to sides. Rotate right arm clockwise 18 times and counterclockwise as many, as if turning a windlass. Return to the starting position and repeat the whole process with "left" and "right" reversed. Breathe naturally and keep your balance when you do the rotating movement.

33. Pushing Against Restraint
Sit upright with legs straightened. Bend right leg and place left foot near the root of left leg. Then put right hand on left hand with palms facing downward and raise them up to the left as much as possible. Look ahead to the right and breathe 24 times. Return to the starting position and repeat the whole process with "left" and "right" reversed.

This excise may be a help for paralysis.

34. Fish Frolicking in the North Sea
Lie on stomach with arms and legs straightened. Raise both arms and legs up to the back before lowering them. Inhale whilst raising arms and legs but exhale whilst lowering them. Repeat the raising and lowering movements 12 times.

This excise may help cure cholera, indigestion and stagnancy of Qi in the chest and abdomen.

35. Lying on White Snow and Keeping Body Relaxed
Lie on back with body relaxed. Inhale and exhale deeply and evenly whilst rubbing chest and abdomen back and forth with hands.

This excise is effective for indigestion and stuffiness in the chest.

36. Flowers Glittering in Hair
Stand upright with arms hanging at sides and feet shoulder-width apart. Raise arms up as much as possible with palms down. Grasp ground with toes and keep anus contracted. Inhale with nose and exhale with mouth nine times.

This excise is good for abdomenl distention and pantalgia.   

37. Liu Hai Teasing Frog
Stand at ease with arms hanging at sides and feet together. Take a step forward with left foot and grasp ground with soles. Then clench hands and place them at waistside with knuckles facing down. Inhale with nose and exhale with mouth 12 times. Return to the starting position and repeat the whole process with "left" and "right" reversed.

This excise is effective for tension, pain stagnancy of qi and diseases caused by wind-cold pathogen.

38. Cleansing the Mind in Fresh Breeze
Stand at ease with arms hanging at sides and feet together. Take a step forward with left foot to form a T-shaped stance. Raise right arm with palm facing inward and place the back of left hand at waistside. Turn body to the left and look ahead to the left. Inhale whilst turning to the left but exhale whilst turning slightly to the right, both nine tiems. Keep the entire body relaxed.

This excise is good for cardiac pain.

39. Adjusting the Flow of Blood and Qi
Stand at ease with arms hanging at sides and feet shoulder-width apart. Bend over and hold right foot with left hand and left foot with right hand. Inhale after you turn slightly to the left and exhale after your body returns to the normal position. Repeat the breathing and turning movements with "left" and "right" reversed.

This excise is effective for the folw of blood and qi.

40. The Black Dragon Wagging its Tail
Stand at ease with arms hanging at sides and feet shoulder-width apart. Bend over and press hands downward in front of legs, fingertips of hands in line with toes of feet. Exhale when you bend over but inhale when you straighten out your body. Repeat the above movements 24 times.

This excise is good for lumbago.

41. Liuzijue
Sit still and click teeth for two hours at midnight. When you have a mouthful of saliva, swallow it in several gulps. Pronounce such sounds as "he," "xu," "hu," "sou," "chui" and "xi." In so doing, you can get rid of diseases in the five zang organs.

Points to remember: lend an ear to yourself when you pronounce those sounds and prolong each of them as much as possible.

The six-character formula, or liuzijue in the Chinese language, is a traditional health-keeping excise in China. Based on the Wuxing principle and other theories, this excise has played a great part in curing diseases and improving health and is therefore practiced widely in China.

This excise has had several versions, and some of them should be done with tim and direction taken into account.

42. Paying Respect to Void with the Mind Still
Stand at ease with arms hanging at sides and feet shoulder-width apart. Lower head to chest and hold hands level in front of abdomen, with left hand over right one. Clear your mind of distracting thoughts. Inhale and direct qi down to chest and abdomen before exhaling deeply. Return to the starting position and repeat the whole process 17 times.

This excise is good for cardiac pain.