Tai-Chi Practices

Wuji Zhuang

Introduction: Wuji Zhuang is the foundation practice for building inner Qi in Tai-Chi-Chuan.

Opening:

Stand with the feet two fist-width apart.
Point your toes forward.
Your eyes remain open at a soft gaze or can be closed.
Barley bend your knees so, they are just not locked.
Let your arms be very relaxed, while they hang by your sides, and the hands very gently touch the legs.
Touch the tongue to the roof of your mouth, very gently.
Relax, and let your breath get deeper, longer and smoother. With your mind, feel your inner organs and let them relax more and more with each breath.

Practice:

Remain in the above mentioned stance.
Be very relaxed.
Focus lightly on the Bubbling Spring Point (K-1).
Adjust your weight so that it puts pressure on the K-1 Point. Press the head upward, while keeping pressure on the K-1 Point and be aware of Lower-Dantian.
Let your bones feel as if they are elevating, and your muscles are melting.
Empty the mind, relax the chest and fill the abdomen.
When breathing in the hands may naturally lift slightly.

Closing:

Slowly move your left foot back to its original position. Stand in this position for a few seconds, raze onto your toes, and gently bounce three times. Drop onto your heals and rock back a little, raze back on to your toes and repeat two more times making a total of three times that you raze, bounce and rock.

Notes:

  1. While practicing, your spirit remains and holds everything together. Don't let everything go. Remain aware of your surroundings.
  2. When relaxing remember to relax both the muscles and the inner organs. When the organs are relaxed Qi will circulate smoother. When saliva builds in the mouth, let it and the swallow it in three gulps.
  3. A tingling sensation in the hands is a sign that the channels are opening and Qi is flowing. This is good.
  4. Some lower back pain, in the beginning is normal.
  5. "Be aware of Lower-Dantian" means that you know its there, but your not focusing on it.
  6. Practice every day for 45 minutes for one hundred days.
   

Dazuo Meditation

Introduction: This meditation is designed to complement a Tai-Chi-Chuan practice. It helps to calm and strengthen the mind. If you do not have a Tai-Chi-Chuan practice, you can still practice this meditation by its self and enjoy its benefits. It is also a good foundation builder for other types of meditation, including Inner Alchemy and Qigong as it trains the mind to be in a calm state which is a prerequisite for Inner Alchemy and most types of Qigong.

Opening:

1. Wash your hands and face with warm water.
2. Stretch the arms and legs.
3. Massage and warm up the kidney aria.

Practice:

1. Sit facing south, with the legs in comfortable position.
2. Keep the head suspended, the chin tucked (one fist-width apart from the collar-bone), and the spine erect as if you're being pulled up from the top of your head by a string.
3. Let the arms relax, with the hands gently resting in front of you, in a position that is comfortable.
4. Place the tongue on the roof of the mouth, behind the upper teeth.
5. Close the eyes and listen inwardly, feeling the interior of the body, the heat beating, the lungs and abdomen expanding with each breath.
6. Let your mind settle at Lower-Dantian, and gently listen inward to the aria while you naturally breath in and out. Relax and let the mind be calm.
7. Let your mind rest here for about 30 minutes or longer if comfortable.

Closing:

1. Without moving, let yourself feel that your closing the practice.
2. Take in a long-deep breath, exhale slowly and then repeat twice more, making a total of 3 breaths.
3. Slowly open your eyes to a soft gaze.
4. Rub the hands together until hot and rub the face up and down 7 times and repeat twice more making a total of 3 times.
5. Swirl the Red Dragon 9 times in each direction.
6. Swallow Sweet Nectar in 3 parts.
7. Bite the teeth together 36 times.
8. Beat the Heavenly Drum 24 times.
9. Rub the knees until warm, then gently stretch both legs out in front of you.
10. Rock the legs back and forth waving the toes left and right for about 90 seconds. Rotate the ankles counterclockwise 18 times and then clockwise 18 times. Wave the toes again.
11. Massage the legs around the knees until the aria is warm.
12. Stand with the feet shoulder-width apart and with a loose fist, pound from the shoulder down to the back of the right hand and then up from the right palm to the chest and repeat for a total of 9 times, then switch to the left arm and repeat.
13. With open palms slap the upper back, down to the lower back, the buttocks, the hamstrings, the calves and around to the top of the feet, up the inner side of the shins the knees, the thighs, the hips, the abdomen to the chest and repeat for a total of 3 times.
14. Rase up onto the toes and rock back onto the heals, repeat for a total of 9 times.
15. Silently, tell yourself that you are finished practicing for now and go about your day.

Sitting positions:

On the floor:
1. Sitting in full-Lotus is the best position, if possible to do without causing too much strain. In this sitting position our YongQuan points face the heavens.
2. Sitting in half-lotus is also good. This helps your legs become more flexible, so that in the future you can sit in full-lotus if you want.
3. Sitting like in half-lotus but, with the ankles touching one on top of the other, is good for heart problems and calming the mind.
4. Sitting Indian style is ok too.
Taoist advise, if when sitting on the floor, use a small mat or a wooden block (about 3 to 5 inches thick) under you to separate you from the ground and prevent Cold-Evil from entering the body. When in a meditative state we should be relaxed and our pores will open to let clean-Qi in and to let waste-Qi out, so at this time we are vulnerable to invasions of " Evil-Qi". Sitting propped up 3 to 5 inches also helps Qi and blood from stagnating in the legs.
5. Sitting on the edge of a chair with the back upright is an alternative for those whom don't feel comfortable sitting on the floor. Taoist advise, if using a chair to meditate, use a wooden one. Wood is natural and not too cold in nature and so is safe to practice with. Taoist advise, against meditating in cool damp places or on rocks that are cold.

Hand Positions:

1. The hands can rest over Lower Dantian ( the right hand over the left for men and the left hand over the right for women) to keep it warm.
2. The hands can rest palms down on the knees to help keep the back upright.
3. The hands can rest on the knees palms up so that the LaoGong points are pointing to the heavens and connecting with them. This position combined with full-lotus is the best combination.

Vocabulary:

  • Beating the Heavenly Drum: A Taoist term that means to place your palms over your ears, fingers on the back of your head, index-fingers on the middle-fingers and tapping the back of the head with the index-fingers of both hands at the same time with a snapping motion as the index-finger slides off of the middle-finger, almost like snapping your fingers, but the snap taps the base of the skull. This helps to awaken the spirit and clear the mind. This is also some times referred to as " Snapping the Jade Pillow" because the point that you beat or snap with your fingers is called the "Jade Pillow" by Taoist.
  • Biting the teeth together: A Taoist practice that helps to awaken the spirit, clear the mind and promote Qi and blood circulation to the gums and roots of the teeth.
  • Fist-width: the amount of distance from the index-knuckle to the pinky-knuckle, when a fist is made; often used to measure the distance that the space between the chin and the collar-bone should be when meditating or practicing Tai-Chi-Chuan and some forms of Qigong.
  • Full-lotus: Sitting in a positioned on the floor, where the legs are crossing each other and the feet are both on the opposite thigh with the soles of the feet pointing toward the sky.
  • Half-lotus: Sitting in a position on the floor, where the legs are both folded in front of the body and one leg is on top of the other.
  • LaoGong point: An important acupoint in Taoism, Qigong and Tai-Chi-Chuan, located on the palms of the hand, where the tip of the middle-finger touches the palm when a fist is made. Also, referred to as Pericardium-8 in TCM.
  • Shoulder-width: The amount of distance between the two shoulders of your body. Often used to measure a stance, in Qigong or Tai-Chi-Chuan. One way to measure this distance is by standing with the feet together, then rotating the toes outward as far as is comfortable, then shifting the weight of the body on to the balls of the feet and rotating the heals outward.
  • Swallow Sweet Nectar: A Taoist term that means swallowing the saliva that has gathered in the mouth after meditating and/or "Swirling the Red Dragon". This is often done by swallowing the saliva in three parts. Doing this helps Qi circulation and nourishment of the body.
  • Swirl the Red Dragon: A Taoist term that means, to swirl the tongue around the mouth licking the front and back of the teeth. This gathers saliva in the mouth and is often done in sets of nine swirls. This promotes Qi stimulation and helps to improve digestion.
  • YongQuan point: An important acupoint in Taoism, Qigong and Tai-Chi-Chuan, located on the soles of the feet, in the depression of the foot, below the ball of the foot, where if you drew a line from between the second and third toe. Also, referred to as Kidney-1 in TCM.