Start by doing the standing exercises for five minutes a day. After three weeks, increase this to ten minutes, three weeks later, increase to 15 minutes and 20 minutes after a further three weeks. Stand with your feet a shoulder width apart, toes pointing forward, either parallel, or turned slightly outward; unlock your knees. Let your hands hang loosely by your sides and drop your shoulders. Imagine that, like a puppet, your whole body is hanging, suspended from your head. A string holds your head from a point at the top of your skull, directly in line with the tips of your ears. Feel yourself sinking down, relaxing, as you hang from the string. Breathe calmly and naturally through the nose. Stand quietly, allowing your whole system to calm down, for up to five minutes. As you do this, mentally follow through the points on the illustration, starting at the top of your head. Your eyes look forward and slightly downward; drop your chin so that your throat is not pushed forward. Release any tension in your neck. Relax your hips and belly. Let the bottom of your spine unfold downward so that neither your belly nor your bottom is sticking out. The dantien lies 3-6 inches below your navel, one third of the way into your body. It is in line with the suspension point at the top of your head. From below your kneecaps, your roots extend downward. From your knees upward you rise like a tree, resting calmly between the earth and the sky. Your weight is evenly distributed between your left and right feet. These roots sink deep into the earth. The weight of your body rests in the middle of the soles of your feet. Return to these points again and again until you are able to assume the Wu Chi position naturally and perfectly.
Slowly bring both your arms upward and forward to form an open circle in front of your face. Visualize holding a full moon or a crystal ball.
Stand like a crane with arms extended and fully stretched from shoulders. Hands raise no higher than shoulders and hang limp with fingers pointing to the ground.
Imagine that you are standing in a stream with the current flowing toward you. Bend your knees, and sink down about 4 inches. Imagine that you are suspended from the top of your skull and that your wrists are supported by an invisible strap that runs from the back of your neck. Two balls float on the surface of a running stream, you remain motionless, steadying them. Your body sinks down so that your feet and calves reach down into the soil of the bed of the stream and take root.
Raise palms to face outward at shoulder/ heart level.
Raise your hands outward so that the backs of your hands are level with your cheeks. Make a pyramid with your arms with your face in the middle. Imagine that your wrists are supported by a strap that runs around the back of your neck. Your open hands hold an imaginary balloon in front of your face. Press gently outward on the balloon as if to guide it away from you, but do not tense.
Slowly bring both your arms upward and forward to form an open circle in front of your chest at about shoulder level. Your open palms face your chest. (The distance between the fingertips of your hands is 6-9 inches. The tops of your thumbs are no higher than your shoulders. Your wrists are as wide apart as your shoulders. Your elbows are sightly lower than your wrists and shoulders. The inner angle between your upper arm and forearm is slightly more than 90 degrees.) Imagine that you are holding (resting on) a large inflated balloon between your hands, forearms, and chest. Your armpits and upper arms rest on two small balloons. Your thighs gently hold one balloon in place. A huge balloon takes you weight behind you, like a beach ball on the sand. The weight on your feet remains slightly forward.
Begin in wu chi, turn the palms forward, lift the hands until they are at hip level and parallel with the ground as if holding a big bag of rice.
Stand until calm and relaxed.
Points to remember:
An inner smile radiates powerful healing energy. Starting with the eyes, practice the inner smile by closing your eyes and smiling sincerely into them. Relax and let a deep, loving smile shine through your eyes. By relaxing your eyes you can calm your entire nervous system. Continue by smiling down the front line (from the eyes down through your vital organs towards the genitals effortlessly like a waterfall): into the face (especially the jaws), neck, heart and blood circulatory system, the lungs, liver, kidneys, adrenals, pancreas, spleen, bladder and genitals. The Middle Line: Smile down from the mouth to the stomach, small intestine, large intestine and rectum, simultaneously swallowing saliva. The Back Line: smile down the inside of the vertebrae of your spine, one by one.
4. Arm Swings -
5. Slap the Thighs -
6. Ocean Waves -
7. Open the Heart - Cross wrists right over left at groin, head bent down. Feet in wu chi. Inhale as arms are spread wide at shoulder height. Pinch shoulder blades together while looking up. Exhale while returning to start position.
8. Open the Bubbling Springs - Heel Toe - Shift all weight to one leg; sink as if into mud or sand, relaxing the muscles of the feet. Align top of head, heart, center of abdomen and perineum as a straight line over the weight-bearing foot. Hands on hips or use chair as balancing aid. Place heel of other foot out in front, then pick it up as high as knee and place toe on floor behind. Sink to stretch back of leg and press heel to floor.
9. Leg Swings - Shift all weight to one leg; sink as if into mud or sand, relaxing the muscles of the feet. Align top of head, heart, center of abdomen and perineum as a straight line over the weight-bearing foot (a vertical line both front to back and side to side). Swing other leg with a loose, open hip. Point fingers of opposite hand towards the swinging foot. Shoulders can be slightly forward. Look out rather than down.
10. Finger Rolls - Form fists, palm up, shoulders relaxed, elbows down, feet in wu chi, keep breathing. Roll out fingers starting with thumbs and ending with pinkies; stretch all fingers towards floor; roll each finger back separately starting with pinkies and ending with thumbs.
11. Finger Flicking - Wrap thumbs over fingernails in open fist. Apply pressure and, starting with pinky, flick each finger down towards floor. Keep shoulders relaxed, elbows down, feet in wu chi, keep breathing.
12. Wrist Flaps - Vigorously shake or flap wrists horizontally in front of torso then hold small ball of chi and take a deep breath and relax every part of body. Repeat with vertical wrist flaps. Keep shoulders relaxed, elbows down, feet in wu chi. Slowly lower hands to wu chi position at sides and vigorously rotate wrists. Hold, take a deep breath and relax.
14. Arm Shakes -
15. Bounce on Heels -
16. Drop the Fence Post -
Reverses the process of aging, builds up and releases an extraordinary flow of natural energy that is dormant inside us, raises the body and mind to remarkably high levels of fitness, relaxes the nervous and muscular systems simultaneously, clears the entire network of Chi channels ("meridians"), speeds up blood circulation by controlling the breath.
Natural breathing is centered on the dantien inside your abdomen. The dantien lies 2 inches below the navel, one third of the way into your body, just in front of the sacrum. You may find the following visualization helpful. Start by following your breath as it enters your nostrils. On the next breath follow it part way down your throat. By "follow" I mean be able to imagine or fed your breath or a point of light or a crest of a wave or whatever works for you to "be" at the front of your breath as it travels. With each breath let it travel further and further down through your body: throat, base of neck, top of lungs, middle of lungs, bottom of lungs, through diaphragm, into stomach (top of abdomen), into dantien (very important center, at this point your belly, instead of your lungs, should be expanding as you breathe; what happens is your diaphragm is a upside down bowl and when you breathe it contracts and flattens, pushing out the contents of the abdomen. The ribs do not expand. You must relax the abdominal muscles to allow this to happen, into top of thighs, middle thigh, lower thigh, through knee, upper calf, lower calf, ankle, foot (on the bottom, center ofthe foot is the opening through which earth energy enters the body as chi). As you push or better yet open up channels to allow the breath to flow all the way down to your feet you will flow breath out of your feet down into the ground. Allow the breath to flow through an underground channel, a few feet further each time, towards the tree until you reach the tree and breathe further up the tree each time you inhale. It takes practice to follow it. Try to push it further each day. It may take several weeks to get it up into the tree. At length you can be breathing for yourself and for all that your vision can hold. Finally you can cycle the breath from the trees back into you through the crown.
Warming up your knees and shoulders is essential for beginners. Practicing tai chi accomplishes this as well. KNEES - Stand with your feet together. Bend your knees slightly. With your hands supporting your knees, rotate your knees in tiny circles 30 times to the left and 30 times to the right. Remain relaxed from your waist up. SHOULDERS - Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointing forward. Slowly raise your arms as if you were holding a beach ball between your palms. When your hands are above the top of your head, turn them outward then lower them in an arc down toward your sides. Be careful not to hunch your shoulders. As your arms reach hip level, bring them forward gently so that they can hold the imaginary beach ball again before they start to move slowly upward. Make 30 to 40 complete circles. Breathe in as your arms raise and out as they lower. An alternative is to swing arms straight above the head without rotating hands.