First thing to do during Qigong practice, we need to reach a good relaxing state.
Here are the four relaxing steps we can follow. They are proved to be highly effective in relaxing our body and mind.
1st Step: Open Shangen and Yintang Energy Point
This relaxing step is to calm down our busy mind and to open our heart. Shangen (山根) and Yintang (印堂) are the two energy points (穴位) that connecting to the centre of head.
Yintang (印堂) is between the tips of our eyebrows in the middle. Shangen (山根) is located on the slope of the nose, which is about 1cm below Yintang.
Yintang is also known as “the third eye” in traditional qigong and Chinese medicine. Shangen and Yintang are closely connecting with our heart and lungs.
Shangen is also known as Xinqiao (心窍) in traditional qigong. Xinqiao means “the gate to the heart” in Chinese, therefore is connected to our heart. When Xinqiao is opened, our heart will be opened as well.
In Chinese, 开心 means happiness. Because 开 means “open” in Chinese; 心 means “heart” in Chinese. Now you understand the secret of being happy, that is to open Shangen and Yintang.
How to open Shangen and Yintang
2nd Step: Relax Jianjing Energy Point
Jianjing (肩井) is on the shoulder. Each shoulder has one Jianjing energy point. They are located between Dazhui (大椎) and Jianfeng (肩峰) in the middle.
Dazhui is the 7th cervical vertebra. Jianfeng is the highest tip of shoulder blade. From those two energy points, we will be able to find Jianjing energy point.
Jianjing is a very important energy point on our gall bladder (胆经) meridian channel. It is directly connected to our Lower Dantian (下丹田). When we relax two Jianjing well, our heart and lungs Qi (chi) is able to flow smoothly down to Lower Dantian. And then we will feel inner calmness and peace.
How to relax Jianjing
Rotate our shoulders gently and smoothly. At the same time breathe in deeply into our Lower Dantian. Lower Dantian is in the lower abdomen space between navel and Mingmen (命门) energy point. To imagine that we breathe in all the way down to Mingmen will do the trick.
3rd Step: Loosen Mingmen Energy Point
Mingmen (命门) is located the opposite side of navel (Shenque 神阙 energy point) on the lower back. It is between the 2nd and 3rd lumbar vertebra.
Mingmen (命门) is the energy point that directly connected to our kidney Qi. Our prenatal Qi (the energy that our mother gave when we were born, we call it Jingqi 精气 in Chinese.) decides how healthy and strong our body is.
In fact, our prenatal Qi is being consumed since we were born. It is inevitable. It could never been restored once it is consumed. However through qigong practice, we will be able to convert kidney Qi into prenatal Qi.
How to loosen Mingmen
When we stand, we feel our inner Qi push our Mingmen backwards; when we sit, we want our Mingmen to be a bit forward.
It sounds totally opposite to what we believe a natural posture would be. However, it proved to be the correct way because it will help us to straighten our spine.
When spine is straightened, our Qi and blood will be flowing very well throughout. Almost all of our physical body problems are related to our spine. To straighten our spine could help to heal any body issue.
Of course besides loosening Mingmen, there are other steps to straighten our spine. There are also some special training to help loosen our Mingmen and Spine. We will talk about them in future posts.
4th Step: Relax Hip, Knee and Ankle Joints
Most of the times, we forgot this last one of the relaxing steps. Yet our legs and feet sustain our whole body weight and need to relax as well.
With aging, we usually feel pain, soreness in our hips knees and feet. That is because energy of those parts quickly diminishes so that we easily feel tired when standing, walking or climbing for a relatively long time.
How to relax hips, knees and ankles
Fill Qi in hip, knee and ankle joints. Imagine that when we breathe in, Qi is coming through Mingmen to those joints. We then feel our lower body has abundant Qi which can easily support our whole body.
If we could follow those relaxing steps, we would find much easier to reach a true relaxing state. Once we are in a good relaxing state, we can continue to prepare ourselves into Qigong state.