Qigong for Health (Part 2)
Continuing from part1, I will explain the specifics of how to do qigong for health purposes.
The goal is to be able to do Microcosmic orbit practice (Xiao Zhou Tian). The method of doing Microcosmic orbit practice is explained in detail in various videos, so I suggest that you refer to those videos for specific instructions. Here are a few things that may be helpful for those who are new to the process.
- What is Microcosmic orbit practice?
First of all, what does the term “Microcosmic orbit practice” mean? It refers to the movement of chi energy up and down the front (belly) and back (dorsal) sides of the body in a circular motion. At this time, the straight line parallel to the center of the spine on both sides of the body is called the median line.
There are two ways to rotate chi. The first method is to move the chi energy from the lower abdomen up through the front of the body, from the top of the head (tocho) down the back of the body, and then to the anus (perineum).
The second method is to go in the opposite direction, moving the chi energy up the back of the body from the perineum along the spine, and from the top of the head down the front of the body, turning it to the lower abdomen.
At first, many learn how to raise the front side of the body and lower the back side, partly because it feels more intuitive and natural.
If there is Microcosmic orbit, there is also Macrocosmic orbit. Macrocosmic orbit is for slightly more advanced students and is also a required subject for those who want to become an external qigong practitioner, but if your goal is usually your own health, I think it is sufficient to be able to do Microcosmic orbit practice.
- How to turn the chi around
Next, I will explain how to turn chi around. As I wrote in detail in “The First Steps of Qigong,” all qigong techniques basically start with an image you create in your mind. Therefore, when you want to let chi flow around your body, you start with an image of chi flowing around your body.
In other words, there is no need to try hard to have some kind of feeling from the beginning. Just concentrate on turning your consciousness around.
Since imagining with the conscious mind tends to lack realism, it is a good idea to make a chi sphere with the palms of your hands facing each other, and while holding the chi sphere with both hands, move your arms from the lower abdomen to the top of your head on the front side of your body, and add the movement of the chi sphere.
It is impossible to put your arms around the back side, so just imagine that the chi ball is going down smoothly on the back side.
Also, in the beginning, just moving the chi sphere up and down between the top of the head and the lower abdomen on the abdomen side alone is fine. It is important to get used to the feeling that you are moving chi energy by moving the chi sphere.
Eventually, when you move the chi sphere, you may feel something like warm air moving through the air. That is a sensation, a state of sensing chi energy in terms of temperature and touch. When you are able to do this, you will be able to feel the presence of chi energy and the sense of presence will rapidly increase.
Once you have mastered the method of spinning the chi sphere to some extent, you may want to try to spin the chi sphere with only your consciousness. If you can handle the chi sphere, it is enough for qigong for health. This section is for those who would like to advance a little further.
First, imagine that there is a warm chi sphere in your lower abdomen at a place called tanden, about 3 cm below the navel. The correct sensation is to decide that there is a chi sphere and try to feel it. Since you already have a sense of what the chi sphere feels like, you concentrate on the sensation that it is in the area of your tanden and that it feels warm.
At this point, it is important to have a relaxed body as a prerequisite for concentration. This does not mean concentrating desperately with tense. It is more like relaxing and focusing the senses on the tanden. It does not matter if you cannot do it at first. Decide that you have done it, and now move the ball of chi a little upward on the front side of your body.
In practice, start from the tanden, then move your attention to the belly button area, then to the stomach area, and so on, shifting the place of concentration. In this way, you move your awareness to the chest, throat, mouth, nose, and top of the head. When you are able to do this, try to feel each position of the chi sphere along with your awareness.
In the same way, now move your awareness from the top to the bottom of the back of the body and try to feel the chi sphere there. On the back side, you should feel the chi sphere moving through your spine.
It is not common to feel the spine, but with a little practice, you will be able to feel the spine. When you have reached the perineum, you have completed a full circle of the body.
- Male and female circulation
Finally, as an extra piece of knowledge, I will explain the male and female circulation.
The male circulation is a rotation of chi energy up the back and down the abdomen.
The woman’s circumference refers to a rotation in which the chi energy is directed up the abdomen and down the back.
The reason for this is that most men’s chi circulation is in the male circulation direction, while women’s is the opposite.
Even without consciously practicing Microcosmic orbit practice, chi energy actually flows along the Microcosmic orbit circuit. The direction of its flow is in the opposite direction for men and women.
The hairstyle actually reflects this, with women’s hair flowing from the head to the back and men’s hair tied back to the front.
There is a way to check whether you have a male circulation or a female circulation.
If you are male circulation, for example, ask someone to move his or her hand several times in the direction of male circulation by lifting energy from your back and lowering it to your stomach. If it is strong, it is the male circulation, and if it is weak, it is the female circulation. Then, make a circle with your thumb and forefinger as in the O-ring test, and ask another person to put pressure on the circle to open it.