Monday, 2 July 2012

8 Pieces of Silk - #3

Raise hands to the sky


et’s continue with the Chi Kung series – 8 Pieces of Silk.

Stretching, gently and slowly, is a big component of many Chi Kung routines. A stretch is never forced. The mind doesn’t push the body toward the extreme limits of a pose…and never demands that the body maintain that pose no matter what.

(A graphic example of forcing into a pose comes from a practise in some Sumo schools where beginners are physically forced into doing the leg splits. Other students will manually pull the beginner’s legs apart or push down on the thighs in order to force the groin toward the floor).

In Chi Kung, the mind almost coaxes the body to move into a stretch from the very marrow of the bones. The result: a very natural and benign stretch flow that involves every part of the body.

And it’s easily adaptable to anyone’s present state of health and/or physical limitations.

Let’s continue –

11.  In posture #10, your body was bent down with your arms loosely extended toward the ground.  Very gently, pull your arms in toward your abdomen. Slowly raise and straighten your spin – one vertebra at a time. At all times, the tongue should be placed on the roof of the mouth, just behind the teeth.  Breathing – exhale through the nose.

12.  Once the body is straight, raise the arms slowly up the front of the chest, gently stretching upward from the inside. Raise your arms up to their full length. Gaze upward. Breathing – inhale through the nose.

Arms drop slightly while the heels rise off the ground

13.  The next part may be slightly challenging as far as your balance is concerned: lower your arms by a few degrees, elbows in line with your hands…while raising your heels off the ground. Breathing – exhale through the nose.

Circle your arms slowly out behind you

14.  Please continue to stay on your toes while you drop your arms and circle your arms behind you. Breathing – inhale  through the nose.

15.  Bring your hands in to your hips. Drop your to your heels again. Clench your hands into relaxed fists. You’ll feel energy concentrating in your hands whenever you make a relaxed fist – almost like water for tea beginning to heat up in a pot! Breathing – exhale through the nose.

Lower your body until your chest is parallel to the ground

16.  This is another one of those exquisite poses – draw your arms forward and in toward your chest, while slowly lowering your body one vertebra at a time. Once your chest is parallel to the floor, slowly extend your arms out in front of you. Breathing – inhale through the nose.

Your arms flow out in front of you like water

17.  Your arms continue to flow out in front of your like water until they are fully stretched. Breathing – please continue to inhale through the nose.

Slowly straighten the body back up
18.  Now do everything in reverse order – draw the arms back in to the chest and then straighten your body one vertebra at a time. Place your hands as fists back on your hips. Breathing – exhale through the nose.

Imagine performing this routine early in the morning as the sun rises, when the air is fresh and your energy is ready for the day!

The next post in this series will highlight some exquisite side to side stretching. I’ll post this in a week’s time.

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