Yang Style Long Form
Tai Chi Chuan
This Lesson Contains:
Chi Gong Exercises – 1) Smile and 2) Harmonizing The Three Energy Centers
Chi Gong (Qigong, Chi Kung) exercises are a major part of any health maintenance program. Tai Chi is a martial Chi Gong exercise designed to bring strength, balance and increase overall internal energy. All Chi Gong exercises require the mind to direct and lead the energy. Here I offer two simple examples that have helped my students improve their health and mental outlook.
1) Smile is simple, but do not take it too lightly. It could change your life and those around you.
Note: Please excuse these photos. They were taken on a cool but sunny day in late fall, so I am looking toward the sun. My eyes therefore do not correctly express the exercise. It is the mouth that is important anyway.
Go back to neutral position.
If you are like 99 percent of the thousands of people I have done this with, you will feel heavy, down, sad, etc. when the corners turn down and happy, light, excited, etc. when the corners are up. It is only natural. That is how nature meant the face to express feelings. The important thing here is that you can control your emotions. If you feel low, turn the corners up and you will feel better. The body and mind are inter-related and affect each other. You can take charge and feel better just by smiling. And when you smile at someone else, they also smile and thereby feel better. They will smile at others, and it spreads on and on. So smile and help the world.
2) Harmonizing The Three Centers
This is also a very effective and simple exercise. We will gather the universal energy, concentrate it, then use it to fill and harmonize the three Dan Tien. The upper Dan Tien is related to intellect and spirit, the middle with emotions, and the lower with physical strength and balance. Use the mind to direct the energy and you will benefit.
1) Stand comfortably with feet shoulder width apart. Sung (relax with Peng energy filling the body). Breathe through the nose into your lower belly. Realize that you are surrounded by universal energy, and that you are the center of the universe
2) Start by inhaling. The two arms open to the sides with the palms turning upwards. You start to gaze up and out into the heavens. Open the five energy openings of the body – the bottoms of the feet, the two palms, and the top of the head.
You must use your imagination at first until you really feel what I am talking about.
Note: After the initial inhale when you start, breathe naturally and deeply. Don’t worry about coordinating the breath and movements. It will happen naturally.
2) The arms concentrate the universal energy at the opening to the head (Bai Hui). The body starts to squat a bit. Focus this energy using your mind and feel fullness between your palms and the top of your head. Hold this for a moment.
1) Lead the energy down through the top of the head to the upper Dan Tien in the middle of the forehead. Continue to lower the body. The palms face the forehead. Feel the forehead fill and open. Take a breath and let this space expand. Enjoy the feeling of unity with the life force.
2) Next, let the energy flow downward to the middle Dan Tien in the center of the chest. Continue to lower the body. The palms face the heart. Take a breath and enjoy the feelings of love for your fellow inhabitants of the earth.
1) Let the energy flow downward to the lower Dan Tien in the lower belly. The body is at its lowest point with the knees just covering the toes. The palms face the space just below the belly button. Take a breath and feel strength and balance, as well as physical well-being.
2) Let the arms relax down by the sides and stand up. Allow the energy to circulate freely throughout the body and feel the peace of being united with the life force. Pay special attention to the three centers of energy in your body – how they feel as separate areas, and how they harmonize together. Smile.