Friday, 22 June 2012

8 Pieces of Silk - #2


Draw your hands in to your shoulders


W
hile were enjoying some real summer weather here in Canada, why don’t we take the second instalment of the 8 Pieces of Silk outside?


Aside from the 6 Healing Breaths, the 8 Pieces of Silk remains one of my favourite routines for introducing my students to Chi Kung.

I’m currently working with an excellent group of men and women who use the routine as a way of maintaining and enhancing range of motion of the joints. The slow momentum of the movements allows everyone to stretch safely. The spine, the shoulder, the knees, etc. are given plenty of time to adjust to each new position.

Plus the movements are easy to learn, so there is little or no stress involved. That allows each member of the group to concentrate on the deep breathing associated with each movement which, in turn, helps everyone to relax…and deepens the benefits of the stretching!

Let’s continue where we left off in the last post –

6.  Very slowly draw both hands toward their respective shoulders. (The back of the hands actually touch the front of the shoulders). Breathing – inhale through your nose as you pull your hands in then exhale through the mouth as you place the back of your hands against the front of your shoulders.




Inhale as you push your hands out to both sides

7.  Very slowly push both hands straight out to the sides. Palms face out to the sides with the fingers pointing up. Breathing – inhale through the nose as you push your hands out to the sides.

(Normally, most types of exercise involve inhaling before an action and exhaling during an action. The 8 Pieces of Silk routine uses a reverse approach).




Pull the fists in close to the chest

8.  Slowly circle your hands around and in until the fists come together in front of the chest. Both fists and elbows are tucked in close to the chest, almost like a skier racing downhill.  Breathing – exhale as you circle your hands and bring them in toward the chest.




Lower the body one vertebra at a time


 9.  Slowly – and progressively – lower your body, one vertebra at a time. Please continue to maintain the same hand position. Breathing – inhale as you lower your body.




Completely lower your hands

10.  I find this part exquisite…continue lowering your hands until they’ve practically reached the ground. Stay there for a while. Allow all the tension to slide from your shoulders and spine! Breathing- please continue to inhale.

Caution: folks with high blood pressure should be careful of remaining in this position for too long. If you wish, you can adapt by lowering your body only part of the way.

Please let me know if you have any questions. I’ll post the next section in a week’s time.


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