|Posted by Mark Davis Tiger Team on May 6, 2016 at 2:00 PM|
The energy gates in your body are major relay stations where the strength of your chi (qi) are regulated. Many gates are located at joints or, more precisely, in the actual space between the bones of a joint.
The concept of energy gates has been passed down from ancient China, originally worked out by the Taoists. Energy gates must be felt directly with the mind in your body, for they are part of your subtle energy body.
You learn to feel these points in order to channel the flow of your chi to stimulate the subtle body to the greatest extent possible. The first practice in Energy Gates Qigong is to enter each gate and dissolve through them.
There are 23 main points to open in the standing practice:
Bai hui, or the crown of the head.
The third eye, the eyes, the center of the ears and the temple. Also the four jaw points.
Where the tongue touches the roof of the mouth and the throat notch.
The base of the skull and in between each of the cervical (neck) vertebrae down to the seventh cervical vertebra at the base of the neck.
From where the tongue touches the roof of your mouth to the end of the breastbone, on a line about the width of your mouth.
The four points of the shoulder.
The hands (all the points).
The joints where the ribs connect to the sternum, the spaces between the ribs, the joints where the ribs connect to the spine, the area between the shoulder blades and the spine. For women only: the gates of the breasts (directly behind the nipples).
The solar plexus.
The whole of the belly, starting from the front and dissolving through the internal organs back to the spine.
The tantien and the mingmen.
All the points along the spine, from the occiput to the tailbone, paying special attention to the occiput, the seventh cervical vertebra, the vertebra in the center of the shoulder blades, the one at the base of the shoulder blades, mingmen and the tailbone.
The hip sockets, the pelvic bones, and the kwa (that is, the area inside the front crest of the hip bones).
Below the floor.
Above the head.
Energy Gates Qigong is composed of six sequential exercises:
Standing in three parts: sinking, scanning and dissolving your chi.
Cloud Hands Exercise
The First Swing Exercise
The Second Swing Exercise
The Third Swing Exercise
The Taoist Spine Stretch
The techniques and exercises of Energy Gates Qigong form the foundation for the health and power aspects of the Taoist warrior and the qigong healing traditions. By learning and practicing Energy Gates Qigong, you'll take the most important first step toward genuine and lifelong health and vibrancy.
Energy Gates Qigong teaches you how to maintain correct body alignments, smoothly shift weight while turning your body and Longevity Breathing. All are fundamentals necessary for developing energetic health, which is more important than being fit or just looking good.
These fundamental qigong exercises improve chi flow, posture and balance, and loosen tension in muscles, joints, ligaments and internal organs. Energy Gates Qigong exercises and swings also maximize the circulation of all bodily fluids, including blood and lymph. The smooth flow of chi throughout your body also strengthens your immune system.
The core element of Energy Gates Qigong is learning to stand for a minimum of 15 minutes a day. This powerful neigong (nei gung, nei kung) technique increases internal awareness, develops chi inside your body and teaches you to feel where your chi is blocked.
In the beginning you learn how to scan down your body by using your mind, starting at the top of the head and descending to your feet. This preliminary practice trains you to internally relax and feel your body.
In time and will practice, you progress to using your mind's intent to dissolve blocked chi and open specific major energy gates of your body. You will feel more alive as your chi begins to flow more freely.
Cloud Hands is a slow-motion movement that teaches you to continuously and smoothly move your arms, legs, waist and torso in an integrated, coordinated manner as you turn and shift weight. It connects the energy of your whole body to your spine.
The Three Swings, called swai shou in Chinese, strengthen the primary chi flows in the body, particularly in the internal organs and what Chinese medicine calls the "three burners" of chi in the body: the upper, middle and lower tantiens. The swings open up the joints of the hips, knees, ankles, shoulders, elbows and fingers.
The First Swing has the primary function of opening the chi of the lower internal organs, the urinogenital area, the stomach and the intestines.
The purpose of the Second Swing is to energize and strengthen the middle internal organs, including the spleen, liver, stomach and pancreas, and glands such as the adrenals.
The Third Swing works the upper internal organs (the heart and lungs) and energizes the brain. It also adds spring to the vertebrae, so they open and close with greater ease. It also opens up the rotation of the shoulder joints, neck, hips and kwa. In general, it trains your body to relax and let go on command.
Unique to Taoism, the spine stretch allows you to bend and gently stretch each vertebra from the bottom of the back of the spine and proceeding upwards; then bend upwards as you stretch each vertebra from the front of the spine.
Besides making the spine more limber, the spine stretch begins the process of fully activating the chi of the spine and the brain, which is essential for all advanced qigong (chi gung/chi kung) practices.
- Sensei Mark