Spine Qigong exercise 3 – Warming the centre
Especially when it is cold outside, we should take care that our kidneys and our lower back do not get too cold. Besides outside influences, the reason for coldness in this area may also be excessive tension in the body. In this week’s episode of #wellnesswednesday, Tsui will show us how to get access to our body centre. To give attention to this area may produce a gentle change in our posture and a feeling of warmth – a natural effect, which is also used in autogenic training.
The exercise in single steps
- Step 1: connecting tailbone and heel
- Step 2: turning Mingmen (hip)
- Step 3: turning Zhiyang (shoulder)
Now, we may add the new exercise. The new hand movements are best approached in three steps:
- Learning the external movement – turning the big ball with your hands
- Directing your body‘s warmth – activating the girdle vessel
- Guiding your awareness – opening the 4 gates
Turning the big ball with your hands
How to add the hands to the „3 Step turning“? We let our two palms face each other, as if we were holding a ball. The size of the ball is more or less the size of a beach ball. Every time we turn to the left (weight on our right leg), the left hand is on top. When we turn left (weight on our right leg), the left hand is on top.
After going through the “three steps” with the ball in our hands, the upper hand travels further to the back of the body, to the point mingmen, and sinks. The lower hand rises – we turn the ball upside down. Now, we turn the body axis back to the middle. Both hands travel along the belt line – one above it, one at belt level. The hands lead the movement.
Repeat on the other side. – Practise, till the movement feels natural.
Activating the girdle vessel
Are you ready for the first refinement? The girdle vessel is located above the waist. It is wrapped round the body like a girdle – hence the name. Due to its form, it connects all meridians which run up and down the belly and the back. It thereby encompasses a region, which connects the upper part of the body with the lower: the “centre”. We may activate the girdle vessel by picturing a warming layer. We may think of an angora kidney warmer or of a kidney belt as it is used by motor bikers. While we let our hands circle in the way described above, we direct our awareness to this area. We adjust the position of our hands slightly towards our body and imagine to add more warmth. We concentrate on creating a cosy warm feeling in our body centre.
Opening the 4 gates
When we have mastered the first two steps of the exercise and we feel secure concerning the movements, we may try to refine them a bit more: by opening the 4 gates.
During the exercise, our hands, travelling along on their orbit, pass four points. You may want to try to guide your awareness towards these points, while doing the exercise in the way described above. The 4 gates are connected to the girdle vessel. Concentration on these points intensifies the exercise. The movements get more conscious and more precise.
The 4 gates – from back to front
Mingmen – the Gate of Life – is an acupuncture point in the lumbar spine. It is located between the second and the third lumbar vertebra.
Jingmen – the Gate of the Capital – is located at the lower end of the 12th rip.
Zhangmen – the Gate of the Section – is located at the unattached end of the 11th rip, where the elbow touches the body when the arm is bent.
Qimen – the Gate of the Cycle – is located in the 6th intercostal space, on a vertical line below the nipples.
We begin going through the points at the back, while turning back to the mid-line, ending the movement facing to the front. You may imagine the movement as a preparation to the closing of a belt. Your awareness moves gradually form the kidney region to the front side of your body.
Then, you repeat the exercise on the other side.
Number of repetitions
The number of repetitions may be chosen freely according to your exercise plan.
Video Spine Qigong – Exercise 3
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