Before you begin practicing, there are a few points you should understand. These exercises are designed to be done in bed, and ideally, you’ll be able to memorize them so you can practice without the book or DVD. But at first, you’ll need the book or the video by your side. Before we start exercising, let me explain the benefits and the best time to practice.
Benefits of Exercises
To gain the most benefits from the meridian qigong exercises and acupressure, it is highly recommended that you practice all of the movements. These movements are designed in an order ideal to motivate the qi and blood circulation. However, if you feel the number of repetitions is too many or too few, you may adjust to fit what you need.
1. Increasing Health and Longevity
The benefits you can gain from these exercises are not only to maintain your general health but also to slow down your aging process. The key of reaching these goals is to keep practicing regularly so that the body is able to get rid of the waste, and you can regain your vital force.
2. Relaxing and Reconditioning Your Torso (Spine and Lower Back)
Many exercises focus on torso movements that can not only loosen up the torso but also rebuild its strength. In Chinese medicine, the muscles/tendons that wrap around the torso are considered an organ called triple burner (sanjiao, 三焦). When these wrapping muscles/tendons are loosened, the internal organs can be relaxed. Consequently, the qi and blood can smoothly circulate in the organs. In addition, through these exercises, you will also condition your torso and spine, especially the lower back. Therefore, to those who already have spine or lower back problems, these exercises will help you to regain health.
3. Opening the Twelve Primary Qi Channels (Meridians)
All exercises are designed to open up or to reactivate the qi’s circulation in the twelve primary qi channels. Once these channels are wide opened, the qi can circulate abundantly and smoothly. This will thus enhance the blood circulation as well. Qi and blood circulation is the crucial key to getting rid of the body’s toxins, especially when done in the early morning, right after waking up. In addition, if you practice before your sleep, you will loosen up the body and improve the qi and blood circulation. This will help you get rid of the toxins that have accumulated from daytime physical activities. Practicing before you sleep will provide a good circulating condition for the body’s metabolism during your sleep. However, you may experience that it is harder to fall asleep because the enhanced circulation may excite your mind and body.
4. Strengthening Internal Organs
Another benefit of enhancing qi circulation in the twelve primary qi channels is to recondition your internal organs such as the kidneys, spleen, liver, lungs, and heart. When the qi’s circulation in the twelve primary qi channels is enhanced due to the more abundant qi circulation provided, the internal organs can be conditioned and rebuilt. It is known in Chinese qigong practice that the crucial key of rebuilding the internal organs healthy condition is through abundant qi circulation. After all, if there is not enough energy circulating in the internal organs, then there is nothing that can be used to recondition the organs.
5. Improving Joint Problems
Many exercises focus on stretching and exercising the joints. When you lie down, the physical body is relaxed, especially the joints. Therefore, it is the best position for stretching and exercising the joints and enhancing the qi’s circulation in the joints. This is the crucial key to healing and reconditioning.
6. Improving the Digestive System
Some of the exercises emphasize the abdominal area’s movement and massage. Through these exercises and massage, the qi will circulate following the bowel system. This is the key to improving the function of the digestive system.
7. Preventing Prostrate and Breast Cancers
Through the shoulder and hip joint exercises, the qi stagnant around the breast and prostate areas can be removed. In Chinese medicine, it is recognized that smooth qi circulation is the key to preventing or healing cancers. Naturally, correct exercises and massage are the two most common treatments for cancer problems.
I hope this introduction has convinced you of the effectiveness and the benefits of meridian qigong. Please allow at least three months of practice to verify these benefits. The keys to making this happen are patience and consistence.
1. Time of Practice (練習時間)
To gain the most benefit from these exercises, there are three optimal times that you can practice.
A. Right after waking up (剛睡醒)—Best time
B. Right before sleep (睡前)—Second-best time
C. Dusk (傍晚)—Third-best time
2. Do Not Practice with Full or Empty Stomach (不要飽食、空肚)
There are a lot of swaying and circling motions in these exercises. If you have a full stomach when you do these exercises, you will feel very uncomfortable. It is important to feel comfortable and relaxed. Naturally, if you are too hungry, that will also affect your exercises; you should eat a little bit of food first. However, if you feel comfortable right after you wake up, that would be the best time.
3. Drink Plenty of Water (喝水足量)
If you feel thirsty during practice, the waste in your body will not move adequately. Water is a necessary element to help cleanse the body. If you can, place a glass of water next to your bed so you will have it right when you are waking up.
4. Breathe Naturally (呼吸自然)
Breathing is a crucial key to repelling waste in the body. Plenty of oxygen will offer you a high level of metabolism. Therefore, when you practice, you should breathe naturally and deeply. Holding the breath can only cause tightness of the body.
5. Adequate Number of Repetitions (運動量適度)
The right amount of exercise is always the key to progress. Too much will harm you, and too little will not be effective. In addition, you must consider how much time you have. If you rush through, even though you have done a lot of exercises, the result will not be as great as when you take time and relax. You must build up a habit of enjoying it instead of treating it as a necessary task. If you find that your body is a little bit sore the next day after practice, it is normal. However, if the soreness is significant, it implies you should proceed more slowly and more gradually.
The above is an excerpt from Meridian Qigong Exercises: Combining Qigong, Yoga, and Acupressure by Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming, Published 2015, ISBN: 978-1-59439-355-6