The following information about water has been taken from GARDEN OF LIFE and other publications listed at the end of this page.
The Importance of Water
It is impossible to underestimate the importance of minerals and trace minerals for the human body, as they are truly "necessary for life". They are the catalysts for all other nutrients that your body uses in maintaining vibrant health. Minerals and trace minerals help energize and fuel your body's electrical system, and support the natural balance in every tissue, fluid, cell and organ in a healthy body. A deficiency of these elements may result in a variety of toxicities and degenerative illnesses. Research has shown that they play a significant role in the prevention of disease and in reducing the impact of environmental pollutants on the human body. Trace elements do not exist by themselves, but function in a symbiotic relationship to one another. Too much of one can lead to imbalances in others. Simply stated, trace minerals must remain in relative balance throughout the body to fulfill their contribution within the complete spectrum of health.
Rachael Carson well known author and environmentalist is quoted as saying: "Each of us carries in our veins a salty stream, in which the elements are combined in almost the same proportions as sea water. Our lime-hardened skeletons are our heritage from the calcium rich ocean of Cambrian time. Even the protoplasm within each cell of our bodies, has the chemical structure of the first simple creatures brought forth from the ancient sea. A balance of minerals and enzymes:
• Serves as catalysts and activators for other nutrients
• Produces hydrochloric acid to assist in digestion and assimilation
• Acts as building blocks for enzymes, hormones and other natural body chemicals
• Supports natural balance in every tissue, fluid, cell & organ• Balances acid/alkaline pH
• Performs as ionized conductors of the body's electrical system
• Provides electrolytes that form ionic particles carrying an electrical charge into the cellular membranes
"Whatever the nutrient content of a food, it's contribution is non-existent if it is not absorbed and transported through the mucosal intestinal lining, enter the circulatory system, and make its way to the aqueous microenvironment of the cells. There it serves its ultimate purpose, by participating in the metabolic activities on which the life of the total organism depends." Ruth L. Pike and Myrtle L. Brown; Nutrition: An Integrated Approach
The Symptoms Dehydration May Produce In The Body:
HEARTBURN: A signal of water shortage in the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract, that if treated with standard antacid medications, can in time produce a hiatal hernia, ulcers, inflammation of the stomach and duodenum, all of which could eventually lead to cancers of the gastrointestinal tract.
ANGINA: A powerful warning of water shortage in the heart/lung axis which can be quickly relieved with increased water intake until the pain subsides.
COLITIS: A signal of water shortage in the gut associated with constipation caused by impacted fecal matter, that can lead to diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, polyps and increased risk of colon and rectum cancer. Rehydration acts as a lubricant in the body, easing the constriction of water from excrements by the large intestines.
ASTHMA: Affecting 14 million children every year, is a complication of drought management caused from the obstruction by the air passages of water vapor leaving the body. Increased water intake with small amounts of salt, helps to break up the mucus plugging the lungs.
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE: A state of adaptation by the body to generalized drought, when there is not enough water to fill all the blood vessels that diffuse water into the vital cells. Not recognizing high blood pressure as one of the major indicators of dehydration, and instead treating with diuretics that can further dehydrate the body, may result in cholesterol blocking the arteries that feed into the heart and brain.
CHOLESTEROL: An early indicator of dehydration, cholesterol is a clay-like material that fills in the gaps of cell membranes to safeguard them against losing their life-sustaining water content. When not properly hydrated, there can be a taxation of other vital cells that would normally exchange water through their cell membranes, resulting in high cholesterol.
DIABETES: Another adaptive state of severe dehydration, preventing the release of insulin from pushing water into all the cells of the body. In diabetes, only some of the cells get survival rations of water, so it is vitally necessary to have adequate water circulation to replenish the brain.
1.) Batmanghelidj, F.,M.D.; Your Body's Many Cries For Water
2.) Pike, Ruth and Brown, Myrtle; Nutrition: And Integrated Approach
3.) Carson, Rachael; Silent Spring
4.) Heinerman, John, PhD; Mineral Nutrition of Coastal Cultures in Pre-Historic Times
5.) Rennert, O.M.; Metabolism of Trace Minerals in Man
6.) Anderson, Farley, B.S.; Body Mineral Balancing
7.) Schauss, Alexander, PhD; Minerals in Human Health
8.) Rosenberg, I.H. and Solomons, N.W.; Absorption and Malnutrition of Mineral Nutrients
Breath is the profound and fundamental rhythm essential to our life. Without breath we could only survive several minutes. We come into this world on our first inhale and we exit it with our final exhale. We take breathing for granted, often unaware we are holding our breath or breathing in a shallow way. When we are babies we breathe fully and deeply; as we grow older we de-program ourselves, becoming the shallow chest breathers many people are. This shallow breathing can lead to health problems and vague physiological symptoms such as: lack of energy, fatigue, low resistance to disease, anxiety and depression. It may also be tied to more complex problems such as auto-immune diseases, cancer and heart disease.
Let's look at what happens when we breath. The mouth and nose warm, filter and humidify the air we inhale. It moves down to the larynx, past the vocal cords and on to the trachea (wind pipe) which divides into the left and right bronchi. The air moves into the two lungs where there is an exchange of gases. Here oxygen is absorbed into the bloodstream and carbon dioxide, the waste product, is removed from the blood and exhaled out of the body. One needs to breath deeply to get the most out of this exchange.
If you breath diaphragmatically you will get the benefit of having more air and more gas exchange going on in the lungs. The diaphragm is a muscle which is attached to the chest wall and separates the abdomen and chest cavity. When you breath deeply and engage the diaphragm you are pushing it down into the abdomen, this in turn expands the chest cavity and creates a vacuum that sucks air into the chest. Your chest and abdominal cavities will both expand during this process. You can tell if you are doing it correctly if your abdomen moves down and out when you inhale. You can put your hand on your stomach to feel that you have it right. There are more detailed instructions and exercises at the end of this text.
Another function of deep breathing is the internal massage it provides to the major organs, such as the heart, liver, pancreas and stomach. This massage promotes circulation, increasing both lymph and blood flow, thereby increasing nutrient absorption and the removal of cellular waste. Deep breathing aids intestinal movement and can help to strengthened muscles.
Our emotions are directly linked to our breathing. The next time you are upset or angry notice how you are breathing. You may not be breathing at all! If you take the time to learn deep breathing it can become a tool to reduce the impact of negative emotions on our bodies. When we breathe deeply, we can reduce the impact of any stress on your body. Deep breathing calms the mind, which creates a sense of well being and leads to vibrant health.
Usually one feels a release of stress when breathing deeply and one generally feels more energized and peaceful. Many people who work to consciously become aware of their breathing habits find that when practicing deep breathing, conditions such as: fatigue, general pain, backaches, poor posture, allergies, depression, menstrual problems, constipation, infertility and alcoholism have been helped or alleviated. Singers will attest to the great value of proper breathing. It can help determine how much sound you can make, at what pitch and for how long you can sustain it. Athletes also understand how breath is an ally. Breath has traditionally been associated with achieving physical health and spiritual enlightenment.
If you feel you do not have the muscle tone to do deep abdominal breathing for a sustained amount of time, you can get stronger by lying down with a weight on your abdomen, pushing the weight up with each inhalation, then relaxing. In this way you can gradually build up strength and flexibility. There are expensive abdominal weights for this purpose or you can create a very inexpensive weight by filling a large plastic zip lock with kitty litter, rice or any another grain. It is important to deep breathe in a conscious way for at least 5-10 minutes once or twice a day. Learning to breathe correctly takes time and practice to perfect. It's best to start slowly and attend to the details until you can feel each area filling during a single breath. Over time it will become easier. I suggest starting by practicing the Yogic Breath , included below. Do it the first thing in the morning, before you get out of bed. Take the pillow out from under your head and do this for 3 minutes, working up to ten minutes at a time. It will have a dramatic impact on your health and sense of well being.
There are different patterns one can learn for breathing, and each has a specific advantage and purpose. There are also various schools of "Breath Work" therapies, each specifying a particular controlled breathing process that can guide you in learning these techniques. We have all heard of the Lamaze techniques for child birthing. You can research these varied techniques more as your interest grows. I hope to add more of these techniques to these pages in the future.
In the meantime, fill your lungs up with a deep breath and notice how much better you will feel. You will feel more connected to your inner self, the person you truly are. You can experience the joyful sense of well-being that is your birth right, a gift you may have forgotten. A gift that is just a breath away.
THE YOGIC BREATH/PRANAYAMA
Take a moment to close your eyes and notice how you are breathing. What did you notice? Is your breathing deep or shallow? What part of your torso are you breathing into? Does your belly move when you breathe? Does your rib cage expand?
Yogic Breath is sometimes called 3-part breath because we breathe into 3 areas of the torso to facilitate getting a complete breath.
Step One - Belly Breath: To begin, sit up straight and tall (sitting in a straight back chair with your feet firmly on the ground works well) and place your hand on your belly. Exhale fully while pulling your belly in to expel all the stale air from your lungs. Once all the air is out, relax your belly. Notice how the belly automatically wants to expand as the air comes in. Let the belly blow up like a balloon as the air comes in. Continue breathing into the belly for a few more rounds. The belly goes in as the breath comes out, and the belly goes out as the breath comes in.
Step Two - Thoracic Breath: Now let go of the belly and place your hand on your rib cage, under your arm. As you exhale, allow the rib cage to contract. As you inhale, expand the rib cage. Let the breath be slow and full without any sense of straining. All the breathing should be through your nose. Try it a few more times.
Step Three - Upper Chest Breath: Let go of the thoracic breathing and place your hand on the soft area above your clavicle (collarbone). As you breathe in, notice how the clavicle rises slightly. Allow it to rise without lifting your shoulders. As you breathe out the clavicle falls. It should feel like the air is coming down to an area just above the breasts. Try it for a few more rounds. Remember to breathe slowly. If you feel light headed or dizzy, increase your exhalation and decrease your inhalation.
Step Four- Combination Breath: Combine three areas into one long breath. Place one hand on your belly and the other on your rib cage, under your arm. Sit up nice and straight and relax your face and jaw. Take a couple of relaxed breaths. Now exhale fully, pulling the belly in as you exhale. When you cannot exhale any further, relax the belly and allow the air to fill your belly. The belly will blow up like a balloon. Once the belly is full, allow the air to begin to expand the rib cage. When this area is full, continue breathing in and let the upper chest fill. The clavicle will rise slightly. As you exhale, it is just the opposite. The air goes out of your upper chest, then middle, then lower. It may be helpful to image a glass of water. When the water is poured into the glass, it fills the bottom then middle and then top. When you pour it out, it goes out of the top, then middle, then bottom. The breath works essentially the same way.
Breath is the basic expression of life energy. It is useful in helping us unload accumulated stress and stagnant energy when we exhale and allows us to receive abundant fresh and pure energy when we inhale. When life energy moves through us without obstruction we are in perfect harmony.
Breathe deep and allow the breath to move down the front of the body and up the back of the body. This is known as the Microcosmic Orbit. This is the distinct pathway that life energy follows in our body.So we can see that one of the easiest and most accessible ways for us to move the flow of energy through our body is through our breath. The life energy that is everywhere in our universe becomes available to us through our breath. It is our breath that connects us to all of life. I heard David Suzuki once say that when we breath out we release molecules of an element called Argon. This element is inert and does not disintergrate. Therefore, the argon we send out into the universe with each of our exhalations this moment will be the same Argon that others are breathing in and will be breathing in long into the future. It also means the Argon we are now breathing in has been given to us from the breath of our ancestors. This includes the dinosaurs and other living creatures that roamed the earth long, long ago. It really does help to put things into perspective when we think about the true inter-connectedness of all life, past, present and future and can see our breath as an essential link.
We ALL have the ability to channel life force. We receive life force through our inhalations of breath and release old stresses, stagnations and obstructions through our exhalations, we can also channel universal life force thorugh our hands. It can permeate our own body or that of anothers.
In the practice of Jin Shin Jyutsu (the art of the Creator through the person of compassion), we can learn to harmonize ourselves with simple hands on practices. Jin Shin Jyutsu was recovered by a Japanese man named Jiro Murai, out of the necessity of healing his own sick and frail body. He never brought it out of Japan himself, but taught it to a woman named Mary Burmeister in the late 1940's. Mary then brought this to the USA and Europe in the 1960's.
According to Mary, "in Jin Shin Jyutsu one gets to know and help themselves. You learns how to balance and harmonize the body/mind/spirit and discover that this knowledge is found within oneself. This awareness leads one to a feeling of complete peace, security and oneness with all of life. This then becomes something NO person, situation or thing can take away from you".
Life energy circulates throughout the universe and this same energy is within all of us. It has varying levels of density, which are called DEPTHS in the Jin Shin Jyutsu system. Each depth has a specific set of functions in the body, mind and spirit and also help us to understand how we came into being. Each depth can be considered a dimension of our being and reveals to us the order and interdependence of the various functions of our being and helps us understand how spirit becomes matter. It must be remembered that we are never separate from any of these stages. "There is an interrelatedness of the depths which reveals the link between non-physical and physical reality, thought and substance and the universe and the individual".
There are a total of nine depths associated with our becoming this manifest or dense individuated body, starting from the undifferentiated universal energy pool which we are all part of. The ninth depth being the level of pure, undifferentiated universal energy (THE ONE). The eighth level begins the contraction of this energy into the manifest or denser form. Maybe we could say this eighth depth would be something like bringing the undifferentiated vast energy into a dot. At the seventh level the spark of life ignites our individual manifest body with the sun/light of universal energy.
In the ninth, eighth and seventh depths there is always perfection. It is only through the obstruction of our energy flow (stagnation) that we create imbalance in our body/mind/spirit. This leads to disease over time. The obstructions that create physical, emotional and psychological disharmony are called ATTITUDES. These include worry, sadness, anger, fear and pretense (coverup). ALL Attitudes arise from F.E.A.R. or False Evidence Appearing Real.
Life energy moves through the body in pathways that are distinct and are called FLOWS. These flows unify and integrate the body.
There is an oval of continuous energy that moves down the front of the body when we inhale and then moves up the back of the body when we exhale.(Micro-Cosmic Orbit) This creates a complimentary relationship between the upper and lower AND the front and back of the body.
There are twenty-six sites called SAFETY ENERGY LOCKS on each side of the body that serve as circuit breakers to protect the body when the flow of energy is blocked.When any of these shut down it creates symptoms that alert us to an imbalance and also helps us understand where the source of imbalance is originating.
Even when we have disharmony there is always an underlying harmony. This harmony is always present. Once we can free up the stagnant energy it will re-emerge.
Here is a chart showing the SAFETY ENERGY LOCKS.
We can access the force of energy through our breath and can channel it through our hands, as we have already stated. In Jin Shin Jyutsu there is a process called JIMPER CABLES. This allows us to gently hold our fingers (or those of another) to create harmony. We can then unload the attitude associated at this depth and release the obstruction and stagnation of energy, therefore, creating harmony.
The following process takes us through the six material depths that are aligned with our manifest body and their related organ systems.
REMEMBER.....It is through removing obstruction at these depths and creating the free flow of energy that we create balance, harmony and vital health. Since we are always connected to all of the universal life force... it is what we are made of, we are never separated from it. It is only blockages that keep it from flowing freely through us.
Just relax, if you can not relax then be just as you are. You can sit, lie or stand when you do this, whatever is most comfortable for you. Simply apply your hands for a few minutes at each step until you feel a rhythmic pulsation. You can do this at any time of the day or night. You can do just any one depth without doing the whole sequence however, it is the sequence and daily application that will receive the best results. You can hold either hand as you like.
Here are the progressions and the attitudes associated with the sixth, first, second, third, fourth and fifth depths and their relationship to each finger. I also added the organs associated, the attitudes associated and the essence at each depth. There are other associations of season, , elements, planets, musical notes, odors and more which I have not added at this time. These associations give us clues to the needs within each depth, as adversions or attractions can all call attention to an imbalance in that particular depth.
By using our hands to jumper cable these areas we can release tension, stress and obstruction and re-connect with our true nature. As we balance, we unburden ourselves of afflicted attitudes and we can then correct the disharmony affecting the related organ. The sequence for jumper cabling is listed below.
First we will start with the palms together (prayer position) this is our access to the sixth depth. The essence here is that of Total Harmonizing. The body association here is with the diaphragm and umbilicus, The related attitude is TOTAL DESPONDENCY.
Next is the first depth which is accessed at the thumb. Its essence is Sustenance. The organ association is that of the stomach and spleen. The related attitude is WORRY.
The second depth comes next and is accessed at the ring finger. The essential nature at this point is related to the Rhythms of Life. The organ association is with the lungs and large intestines. The related attitude is GRIEF.
The third depth is then accessed at the middle finger. Its essences is Harmonizing All Elements. The organ association is with the liver and gallbladder. The related attitude is ANGER.
The fourth depth is now accessed at the index finger. Its essence is related to Flow. The organ association is with the kidneys and bladder. The related attitude is FEAR.
The fifth and final depth is accessed at the little finger. Its essence is Intuitive Knowledge. The organ association is with the heart and small intestines. The related attitude is PRETENSE (trying to or coverup).
Remember to breath deeply and expand the entire rib cage whenever you take a breath. Move the breath, on the inhale, down the front of the body and on the exhale up the back of the body to third eye. When you exhale release all tensions and obstructions so when you inhale you can receive the gift of the universal life force. Once you have a deep rhythmic pulse that you can feel at the finger you are holding (or at palms) you can let go of this area and move on.
This jumper cable exercise, along with simply breathing can be powerful tools for attaining and maintaining balance and harmony throughout our lives. It is awesome to realize the breath and our fingers can regulate all the functions of our body/mind/spirit. It is amazing to feel the varied releases and shifts you may experience when you give it a try. It is noted that each finger affects over 14,400 functions in the body, so it is easy to see the far reaching effect this simple exercise will have.
Here is a link to more information and a graphic showing the finger holds.
HOW TO DO A DAILY TUNE UP USING JIN SHIN JYUTSU'S ENERGY FLOWS:
Compiled by Angela Rosa R.N., from the works of Mary and Alice Burmeister
For more information read "The Touch of Healing", by Alice Burmeister.
As we learn more about the energy flows within our body we increase our awareness of our deeper self. The flow patterns within all of us are the pathways that unify and integrate our body, mind and spirit. They are the pathways that nourish the body. They might be likened to rivers that bring water and nutrients to the surrounding land – life-giving water originating from the rain above and carried through mountains and valleys into the rivers below, as stated by Alice Burmeister in "The Touch of Healing".
As with all rivers, when they are blocked, the water is choked off and constricted and it can be become stagnant or turbulent. When the flow is open it can reach the surrounding banks and they can become fertile as they are nourished.
The MAIN CENTRAL FLOW in Jin Shin Jyutsu is like the main river tributary, it connects directly to the universal source of energy. It is related to the sixth depth, where universal energy becomes connected to our personal energy. This energy runs a circular path, descending the face, neck, sternum, through the abdomen and pubic bone and then ascending up the spine over the head to the forehead, where it goes back down again - a constant circle.
The MAIN CENTRAL FLOW is the first of three in the TRINITY FLOW.
The MAIN CENTRAL FLOW is a PRIMARY HARMONIZING ENERGY FLOW and according to experts in Jin Shin Jyutsu, it "keeps us in rhythm and harmony with the source of life. It is the main energy source of the body and it recharges us and revitalizes all of the other flows in the body".
This flow can be regulated with the breath. As you breathe out imagine the energy moving down the center of your body from the face to the pubic bone. Then as you breathe in see the energy move up the center of your back over your head to the forehead. In Jin Shin Jyutsu, descending energy moves down the front of the body and releases stagnations occurring above the waist. This is helpful for clearing headaches and breathing problems. As ascending energy moves up the back, tension below the waist is released. Therefore, it is useful for legs, hips, feet and any problems that occur in these areas.
Here is the sequence to use when working with the MAIN CENTRAL FLOW.
REMEMEBR, just hold each area until you feel the rhythmic pulse. This is the same as you did when holding your fingers. No real pressure is needed. Relax and breathe deeply, giving it as much time as needed. Wait until the pulsing is felt and it becomes rhythmic. You can do this sequence for yourself or others.
Begin with the right hand fingertips on the top of the head, at the crown. You will hold your fingers there until the last step. Now place your left hand fingertips slightly above and between the eyebrows. This point will revitalize deep body energy circulation and will help to improve memory and dissolve mental stress. It is also good in cases of senility. Hold for as long as it takes to feel the pulsing flow in a rhythmic way.
Now place the left hand fingertips on the tip of the nose. This point revitalizes the reproductive organs and their function. Next the left hand fingertips move down to the sternum or breastbone. At this point the lungs, breath, pelvic girdle and hips are revitalized. You are placing your hand in the central breastbone area around the third rib.
REMEMBER, the right hand is still at the top of the head as you now move the left hand fingertips to the base of the sternum just above the solar plexus. This revitalizes the descending and ascending life energy.
Next move the left hand fingertips to the top of the pubic bone. This will strengthen the spine and revitalize the descending energy particularly. With the left hand fingertips on the pubic bone move the right hand fingertips from the top of the head and put them at the base of the spine, at your coccyx. This will revitalize the ascending life energy and assists the circulation of the legs and feet.
This completes the MAIN CENTRAL FLOW. It can be applied on a daily basis to create balance and harmony. What a precious gift to give yourself or another.
The second and third sequences in the TRINITY FLOW, are the left and right SUPERVISOR FLOWS.
These flows are a branch of the MAIN CENTRAL FLOW and originate at the base of the spine and run down the inside of each leg, where at the inside of each knee they become the SUPERVISOR FLOWS.
These flows supervise the functions of the side of the body that they are on. They runs down the respective side of the body, right or left, and then up the center, each time they reach the knee the energy goes a little deeper. In this way, they reach all five depths of the body. They are helpful to clear breathing and the head, aid digestion and ease back stress.
The SUPERVISOR FLOWS oversee all bodily functions and can be used when one side feels particularly tense, or you can do both sides if time allows.
For LEFT-SIDE DESCENDING ENERGY needs, place the right hand on your left shoulder, just on the top where the neck meets the shoulder and the left hand on the left buttocks, at the sit bone area.
Reverse this procedure for RIGHT-SIDE DESCENDING ENERGY needs, by placing the left hand on the right shoulder, just on the top where the neck meets the shoulder and the right hand on the right buttocks, at the sit bone area.
For LEFT-SIDE ASCENDING ENERGY needs place the right hand on the left shoulder (as above) and hold the left hand on the left groin. Where the leg meets the hip close to the abdomen. This is called the inguinal area.
REVERSE this procedure for RIGHT-SIDE ASCENDING ENERGY needs by placing the left hand on the right shoulder and holding the right hand on the right groin or inguinal area.
REMEMEBR , just hold each area until you feel the rhythmic pulse. No real pressure is needed. Relax and breathe deeply, giving it as much time as needed, wait until the pulsing is felt and it becomes rhythmic. You can do this sequence for yourself or others. If you do not have much time available, you can do the side that feels the most tense or the area, either descending or ascending that is most appropriate for your needs.
There is another flow that has importance in that it helps to harmonize the left and right SUPERVISOR FLOWS with each other and with the MAIN CENTRAL FLOW. This flow is called the DIAGONAL MEDIATOR FLOW.
According to Jin Shin Jyutsu experts "this flow starts at the respective shoulder and traverses both sides of the body from back to front, side to side, and top to bottom, ending up at the opposite knee.
The MEDIATOR FLOW ensures that all flows within the body will cross the MAIN CENTRAL FLOW where they can constantly receive revitalizing energy from the Source." If one side of the body is so tense it is affecting the other side, you can do the side that feels the most tense to bring both sides into balance.
For the LEFT SIDE energy needs, place the left thumb pad over the left ring finger nail, at the first knuckle. This helps to clear the chest. Now place the right hand over the left shoulder to revitalize the ascending energy. Now bring the knees together so the inner sides touch each other. The feet may be apart or together, whichever is more comfortable. By having the knees together the descending energy is revitalized. Hold all three points until you feel the rhythmic pulsing as described above.
For the RIGHT SIDE energy needs, place the right thumb pad over the right ring finger nail, at the first knuckle. This helps to clear the chest. Now place the left hand over the right shoulder to revitalize the ascending energy. Now bring the knees together so the inner sides touch each other. The feet may be apart or together, whichever is more comfortable. By having the knees together the descending energy is revitalized. Hold all three points until you feel the rhythmic pulsing as described above.
As stated and to summarize, should the rivers of the MAIN CENTRAL FLOW and its branches, the RIGHT and LEFT SUPERVISOR FLOWS, become obstructed there will be pools of excess energy formed. Clearing these obstructions will release the energy back into the general flow to be distributed to all regions of the body. In this way all areas receive sufficient energy, creating abundance, balance and harmony. Such are the benefits of doing a DAILY TUNE UP .
Besides the TRINITY FLOW, which consists of the MAIN CENTRAL and the RIGHT AND LEFT SUPERVISOR FLOWS and the integrating DIAGONAL MEDIATOR FLOW, which supports the Trinity Flow, there are three other sequences one can learn to balance the energy systems of the body.
These include: the anterior ascending and descending energy sequence as well as the posterior decending energy sequence.
THE ANTERIOR ASCENDING ENERGY SEQUENCE revitalizes Spleen function. It will help to deliver "solar energy" from the spleen giving an energy boost when one is feeling run down or fatigued. It also helps to calm nerves and alleviate worry and has an influence, as does the spleen, on digestive function. This sequence can be done on the right and left sides.
Start at the RIGHT SIDE and place the left hand at the base of the spine at the coccyx. Place the fingertips of the right hand between the inside of the right ankle, between the bone and the inside heel. You can feel the depression there between the bones. If you cannot reach this point of the foot easily or comfortably, you can use put the fingers on the inside of the right knee, just below the kneecap, or on the pubic bone, instead.
After you feel the rhythmic pulsing you can move the right hand to the base of the left side of the front rib cage. Find the indent at the center of the rib cage, it is just underneath, this is the point you are looking for.
Next move the left hand to the center of the right side third rib, which is above the breast area. You can find this rib by counting the third rib down from the collarbone. Again, REMEMBER , you are waiting to feel the rhythmic pulsing. Once you do, move onto the next point.
Move the left hand to the center of the left collarbone where you will feel a depression right underneath it. Wait patiently for the rhythmic pulsing. This completes the RIGHT SIDE of the body.
Now move on to the LEFT SIDE of the body. Start at the left side and place the right hand at the base of the spine at the coccyx. Place the fingertips of the left hand between the inside of the left ankle, between the bone and the inside heel. You can feel the depression there between the bones. If you cannot reach this point of the foot easily or comfortably, you can use put the fingers on the inside of the left knee, just below the kneecap, or on the pubic bone, instead.
After you feel the rhythmic pulsing you can move the left hand to the base of the right side of the front rib cage. Find the indent at the center of the rib cage, it is just underneath, this is the point you are looking for.
Next move your right hand to the center of the left third rib, which is above the left breast area. You can find this rib by counting to the third rib down from the collarbone. Again, REMEMBER , you are waiting to feel the rhythmic pulsing. Once you do, move onto the next point. Now move the right hand to the center of the right collarbone where you will feel a depression. Wait patiently for the rhythmic pulsing.
As you can see you are traversing the body in this sequence. It may seem tricky at first but once you get the feeling of this sequence and practice it a few time you will see it is easy to apply and will be helpful when feeling stressed and fatigued.
THE ANTERIOR DESCENDING ENERGY SEQUENCE works directly on stomach function and moves along the front of the body flowing from head to toe. It helps to relieve worry and stress. It clears congestion above the waist and has been helpful for those dealing with weight issues.
For the RIGHT SIDE of the body place the left fingertips at the base of the right cheekbone. They will stay there for the entire sequence. Place the right fingertips at the space just below the center of the right collarbone. You will feel a depression there.
After you feel the rhythmic pulsing you move the right fingers to the left side of the small of the back, just under the rib cage, close to the spine. Again, REMEMBER , you are waiting to feel the rhythmic pulsing.
Once you feel this move the right fingers to the front of the rib cage at the base in the center just below the ribs. Then move the right fingers half way down the left calf between the knee and ankle, just off of the left shinbone on the outer side (lateral). You will feel the depression. Finally move the right fingers to the left middle toe, holding it between the index finger and thumb.
For the LEFT SIDE of the body you will reverse the sequence. When you do not have enough time to do both sides it is best do the side that has more tension.
Place the right fingertips at the base of the left cheekbone. It will stay there for the entire sequence. Place the left fingertips at the space just below the center of the left collarbone. You will feel a depression there.
After you feel the rhythmic pulsing you move the left fingers to the right side of the small of the back, just under the rib cage, close to the spine. Again, REMEMBER , you are waiting to feel the rhythmic pulsing.
Once you feel this, move the left fingers to the front of the rib cage at the base in the center just below the ribs. Then move the left fingers half way down the right calf between the knee and the ankle, just off of the right shinbone on the outer side (lateral). You will feel the depression. Finally move the left fingers to the right middle toe, holding it between the index finger and thumb.
THE POSTERIOR DESCENDING ENERGY SEQUENCE revitalizes the bladder function and helps elimination processes. It also helps clear headaches, back stress and muscle and leg discomforts.
For the RIGHT SIDE of the body place the right fingertips on the left side of the neck, in the area between the ear and the spine, they remain there for the entire sequence. Again you will feel the depression there. Place the left hand at the base of the coccyx. After you feel the rhythmic pulsing move the left fingertips to the back of the left knee.
After the rhythmic pulsing is again sensed move the left fingertips to the left ankle just below the outside bone (malleolus). Finally, move the left fingertips to the left little toe and hold it between the thumb and index finger.
For the LEFT SIDE of the body place the left fingertips on the right side of the neck in the area between the ear and the spine, they remain there for the entire sequence. Again you will feel the depression there. Place the right hand at the base of the coccyx. After you feel the rhythmic pulsing move the right fingertips to the back of the right knee.
After the rhythmic pulsing is again sensed move the right fingertips to the right ankle just below the outside bone (Malleolus). Finally, move the right fingertips to the right little toe and hold it between the thumb and index finger.
SHOULD ANY POSITION IN THIS SEQUENCE FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE TO HOLD OR ACCESS, JUST MOVE ON TO THE NEXT POSITION.
ALSO, when you are searching for the point to hold, it will appear as a slight depression. Jin Shin Jyutsu points are not on muscles or bones but rather in the spaces between these areas. IF you are not precisely on the point it is okay, as there is a three-inch area that surrounds the point that is effective in achieving results.
The sequences that you have just learned will be invaluable to you. They can help balance energy and remove stagnation. Stagnation creates dis-ease. Applying these flows and sequences will ensure good health and serve you for a lifetime. I hope you will enjoy using them. They may seem too simple to be effective. Do not be fooled. Though simple, they are also very profound and bring deep-seated change. I encourage you to take the time to learn these flows and sequences and then see for yourself.
For more information about Jin Shin Jyutsu go to http://www.jinshinjyutsu.com
You can also read "The Touch Of Healing" by Alice Burmeister
Western science has identified Qi energy as the bioelectric potential in the body.
Qi has been called "breath," "air," "energy" and "vitality". Gong relates to "work" as in acquiring
a skill/technique that requires effort and practice to be proficient at. Qi Gong can be seen as
a system of self-improvement bringing energy and vitality into the body to prolong life expectancy
as well as bringing about spiritual awareness and insight. These practices help to maintain good
health, prevent and cure diseases, restore vitality, calm the mind, and enhance the spirit.
According to Chinese tradition, practitioners use Qi Gong to harness the energies of the universe, bringing them into balance with the energies of nature that are within our body. This harmonizes the "Three Treasures' of human existence called essence (jing), energy (qi) and spirit (shen). They have been used for centuries by seekers of a long, healthy, energetic and ethical life. They provide an integrated mind-body practice leading toward enlightenment and harmony with ALL that is.
There are many Qi Gong forms. All have benefit. The one I was taught is the "Eight Pieces of Brocade" I learned it from Dr. Jim Berg. I have found it to be a simple, yet profound way to maintain strength, flexibility, balance and agility while boosting the immune system. Each of the 8 movements in the Eight Pieces of Brocades are related to qi meridians and their associated internal organs such as the liver, stomach, spleen and heart. By moving briskly in these movements, digestion is improved, the blood vessels are opened, and illnesses are prevented. By practicing the "eight Pieces of Brocade" you can strengthen the muscles, especially of the back, shoulders, neck and legs. Also by toning the internal organs the body is purged of toxins and stagnant Qi. Muscles and tendons are additionally stretched during practice.
To see a demo go to Dr. Berg's page demonstrating the techniques.
The brocades are very old, with estimates of their origin ranging between 800 to a few thousand years old. The exact origins of the exercises are not clear and if you do a search you'll find many stories about them Just as there are many stories about their origin, I have found many different names for the 8 movements of this exercise form. I have also seen different sequencing for the 8 movements. What seems most important is doing the entire set once each day, using a pace and doing a number of repetitions that are suitable to your current level of physical conditioning and the overall state of your health, and recognizing any exercise regime has its own limits.
I enjoy the benefits of the form I was taught by Dr. Jim and will give you a brief outline of those in these pages. It is probably best to be shown how to do the movements by someone who has practiced the form. You can look in your local directory for a Qi Gong instructor or find one of the many videos or digital discs available on the Eight Brocades, sometimes called the "Eight Pieces of Silk". Do a web search and you will be amazed at the amount of information available on this topic.
Remember, when doing any exercise should you experience pain, dizziness, uneasiness, or real discomfort you should STOP. Always stay within your comfort zone, don't over stretch, and don't try to imitate another person. Do not go beyond your physical limits and abilities. Be kind to yourself, take your time, advance slowly and be careful to remain injury free. Always exercise in fresh air, if possible outdoors, or at least with the windows wide open. Be patient and practice daily, if possible at the same time each day. You will begin to look forward to these exercises and will see the great value they bring to your life. The ancients Taoists said, "Only after a hundred days of concentrated work is the light real, only then is it the fire of spirit. To set up the foundation requires a hundred days." The Secret of the Golden Flower, Translated by Thomas Cleary, p. 17, 49.
According to Michael P. Garofalo, who has a very extensive website related to the "Eight Brocades," It is important to relax, breathe naturally and fully, move slowly and sink/ground into the earth. Don't be attached to your ordinary mind of free associations, worries, and concerns. You can observe them and then release them into nothingness. Free your mind of mundane concerns and cultivate calmness, inner peace. No thinking. Allow yourself to feel your body and take pleasure from it during the movements. Be fully aware of your surroundings through all of your senses. Listen to your body. All of these aims can be summarized by the term "Sung", he says. Sung denotes relaxation, alertness, looseness, openness, sensitivity, awareness, calmness, and a tranquil mind.
With all this in mind, I will share the sequence I was taught. This is being shared not as a definitive instruction but rather as a "taste" that will hopefully inspire you to seek out a skilled practitioner, one who can start you on your daily practice of these time honored movements.
I want to thank Michael P. Garofalo for all of the research his pages offer. Much of the health benefit information that I site on this page has come from his research and the many other excellent web pages I have found as I searched to compile this report. This info, along with the words of wisdom of my teacher Dr. Jim Berg and my own experiences, form the basis for this paper. I offer it in service to those that wish to improve their health.
Let's begin. We start the sequence of the Eight Pieces of Brocade with the prayer position. Start by standing up straight. Your feet are close together and touching each other at the heels, in a v-shaped position, similar to the first position in ballet training. This position aids in the improvement of balance. Both feet are flat on the floor. Keep your knees slightly bent, not rigid. Relax your body. Stay balanced and centered. Your hands are at heart level at your chest in a praying position. All fingers are touching with your palms together. Clear you mind and set aside the worries of the day. I like to have a soft smile on my face. You can refer to Mantak Chia's comments on the benefits of the smile, in his many books. Keep your head up and look straight ahead. Your eyes are open, with a soft and wide-angle focus. Breathe in through the nose and out from the mouth in a relaxed, easy and regular manner. Keep your lips parted slightly. Keep the tip of your tongue lightly touching the roof of your mouth at the palate. This keeps the circulation of energy as a circular circuit in our body. This is a resting position, the position before any motion begins. It is the state of "emptiness." Of course, our bodies are never completely at rest, our hearts contract and relax, our blood moves up and down as we breathe in and out. However, from this position we will center and then begin the active sequence of the Eight Pieces of Brocade.
Gazing backward is the first movement in the sequence. As you continue to stand straight, look straight ahead and gaze at some distant point. Hands are at your side with your palms facing inward. Relax. Lift your head up, chin tucked in a bit. Inhale slowly through your nose and slowly and gently turn your head to the left side as your arms rise and open backward. Your palms will turn upward and your thumbs will arch backward as far as they can go. This opens the shoulder girdle. Looking behind you as far as you can turn your eyes to the far left. Exhale slowly from your mouth and return your head slowly and gently to the front. Look straight ahead and gaze at some distant point. Now do this while turning your head to the right. This is one complete movement. You can do this complete, left and right gazing movement, 4 or 8 or more times. Just make sure you do an even numbered amount so both sides will have equal numbers of repetitions. As you warm up your neck muscles, turn a little farther to the side and back. Move gently and slowly. DO not strain in your stretching backward. Be sure to gaze as far backward and downward as possible when looking to the back. As you become more limber you will be able to see your heels behind you.
I have read this movement is likened to a wise old owl turning his head from side to side. This movement exercises the neck muscles and the eye muscles. Balance as well as brain function improve from this movement. Stretching of the neck and shoulders helps contribute to the relaxation of stiff and tense muscles. Using both sides of the body can have positive effects on the structural alignment of the body and enhances coordination. Slow, deep and regular breathing brings extra oxygen into your blood. Deep breathing improves the mechanical functioning of the lungs, opens and stretches the chest and abdominal muscles, as well as, the shoulders and upper arms to some degree. This movement of the ribcage, combined with deep breathing, helps the lungs take in and expel a larger volume of air than normal. A clear and peaceful mind, induced by this movement helps reduce negative stress on the body.
Persons with neck ailments should be very careful when doing this movement. Turn very little! Do not overly bend your head backward towards your back - this hyper extends the neck and puts stress on the vertebrate in the neck. Keep your head straight, chin slightly down and just turn your head from side to side
The next movement in the sequence is called by some sources pressing the sky with two hands supporting the heavens. You are still in the same starting position with both feet flat on the floor and in a v-shaped position, heels touching. Hands are at your side with your palms facing inward. Relax your body and slowly breath in deeply from your nose while you bring your arms up to your waist with your palms turned upward and fingertips almost touching one another (maybe about 2 inches apart). As your hands move up the front of the body and reach your face you will start to rotate the palms, continuing in an upward motion push them toward the heavens. Palms are facing the heavens, as if you are pressing against it. Legs and arms should be slightly bent; don't lock your knees or elbows. Your fingers are pointing to each other. Gently stretch the whole body upward as the arms press upward. When moving your palms up imagine your internal energy (Qi) moving up from the waist, then up the spine and into the head.
As you breathe out from your mouth, your hands will push down at your sides, with the palms facing your sides. Feel the energy coming out your middle finger as the palms move toward your sides, as if your hands are pressing against something. Repeat this complete in and out breathing movement as many times as the number of repetitions you chose for the first movement. When complete return to the neutral standing position.
This movement with its deep soft breathing helps to lower your heartbeat and blood pressure. Deep breathing improves the mechanical functioning of the lungs, opens and stretches the chest and abdominal muscles, as well as the shoulders and upper arms to some degree. This movement of the ribcage, combined with deep breathing, helps the lungs take in and expel a larger volume of air than normal. Stretching helps contribute to the relaxation of stiff and tense muscles and the realignment of the back muscles and spine. Many Chinese healers believe that this movement helps regulate and improve the heart, lungs, stomach, spleen and liver. It stimulates the internal organs in the upper trunk area and the triple warmer. Most people find this to be pleasurable, energizing and revitalizing. A clear and peaceful mind induced by this movement helps reduce negative stress on the body.
The next movement in the sequence is called separating heaven and earth. In this movement you are still in the same starting position with both feet flat on the floor and in a v-shaped position, heels touching. Hands are at your side with your palms facing inward. Relax your body and slowly breath in deeply from your nose while you bring your arms up to your waist with your palms turned upward and fingertips almost touching one another (maybe about 2 inches apart). As your hands move up the front of the body and reach your heart your left hand continues to move upward with the palm facing upward toward the heavens and your right hand presses downward with the palm facing down. It is a separating motion. Gently stretch the body upward on the side pressing upward and downward on the side pressing downward. On the out breath, which is from your open mouth, each hand moves back to the center. Now the right arm will move upward and the left arm downward. Remember, there is energy in the pushing, as if you are pushing against an invisible resistance. Each pair counts as a whole movement, so do as many repetitions as you have been doing for the other two movements. Keep your head facing forward. When complete return to the neutral standing position.
This movement will condition and stretching the arm, shoulder, back, and abdominal muscles, while opening up the chest for deeper breathing. Many Chinese healers believe that this exercise helps regulate and improve the spleen and stomach. Balance and brain functions are improved by doing this coordinated movement. Stretching helps relax stiff and tense muscles. A clear and peaceful mind reduces negative stress on the body. Increased heart and breathing rates provide some cardiovascular benefit, while using both sides of the body can have positive effects on the structural alignment of the body and enhance coordination. Slow, deep and regular breathing positively affects mood, energy levels, and ones alertness. Deep breathing improves the mechanical functioning of the lung, opens and stretches the chest and abdominal muscles, as well as, the shoulders and upper arms to some degree. This movement of the ribcage, combined with deep breathing, helps the lungs take in and expel a larger volume of air than normal. Most people find this to be pleasurable, energizing and revitalizing.
The next movement is often called drawing the bow and letting the arrow fly. It seems an appropriate name as the movement looks as if one is shooting an arrow with a bow. In this movement you move from the feet together position to a horse stance. Now feet are squared to your shoulders and pointed forward, knees bent and your tail bone tucked under as you squat down slightly. You can feel the weight on your thighs in this position. Your back is straight and your head held up while you look straight ahead. Gently raise your hands to your chest, left over right. Imagine you are holding the string of a bow and then pulling on the bow string with your right arm look to the left as you draw the bow and string. Aiming the bow with the index and middle fingers of your left hand raised and extended. Breath in deeply through your nose as you pull back strongly on the bow. Release the fingers of the right hand to let the arrow fly. As you release the arrow, begin to slowly breathe out from your mouth and relax. Remember the mouth is slightly open and the tongue is on your palate. Now bring your hands back to your chest with the right hand over the left. The movement of the two arms should mimic the drawing of a bows string and arrow, aiming the arrow, and releasing the arrow. Coordinate the movement of the arms and feel the tension in the bow and string as your draw them apart from each other to fire the arrow. Aim the arrow and watch the target. Watch the arrow fly to its target. Concentrate on the target. Repeat the movement, back and forth, from side to side, for a number of repetitions, preferably the number you have done in previous movements the Eight Pieces of Brocade sequence.
You can imagine aiming at and letting an arrow fly to many types of targets. These could be one's perceived individual faults, shortcomings, and negative behaviors; or hitting the targets of wisdom or enlightenment. You might imagine targeting and striking at tension or hitting the targets of health, energy, vitality, and longevity. Maybe your target is selfishness, disrespect, greed and ignorance, or hitting the targets of social harmony, cooperation and integrity. Maybe you are aiming at love and forgiveness, or universal brotherhood and caring for others. Think about what negative behaviors, attitudes, and ideas you wish to eliminate and what positive goals, aims, or objectives you wish to target.
By doing this movement in the horse stance, you will condition and strengthen the legs, knees, waist and back muscles. The shoulders, biceps and forearms are conditioned and strengthened by pulling back on the bow. This movement expands the chest, relieves functional disturbances of the lung qi, and limbers up arms and shoulders. Many Chinese healers believe that this exercise helps regulate and improve the kidneys. Balance and brain functions are improved by performing the coordinated movements. Stretching helps contribute to the relaxation of stiff and tense muscles. Standing up straight in a horse stance helps realign the back muscles and the spine. With the increasing of the heart and breathing rates, one can be provided with some cardiovascular benefit while practicing this movement. Using both sides of the body can have positive effects on the structural alignment of the body and enhances coordination. Slow, deep and regular breathing positively affects mood, energy levels and alertness, as well as improving the mechanical functioning of the lungs. Using the eyes in this movement helps strengthen the eye muscles.
In the next movement of the Eight Pieces of Brocade we are turning from side to side, while looking behind . As in the previous movement, this movement is done in the horse stance, with feet squared to your shoulders and pointed forward, knees bent and your tail bone tucked under as your squat down. You can feel the weight on your thighs in this position. Your back is straight and your head held up while you look straight ahead. The depth of the squat will depend upon your level of conditioning or any injury issues you may have. Squat down a little more with every second repetition of this exercise, ONLY if you can.
Remember your back is straight and the torso centered and upright. Rest your hands lightly on your knees, palms facing inward. Your elbows pointing out to the sides at a 90° angle from the direction you are facing. Take a wide angle and soft focus with your eyes. Breath naturally and deeply from your mouth as you bend down breathe out, inhale through your nose as you turn to each side. Slowly turn your waist to the left and inhale completely as your turn your torso and head look back behind yourself. Slowly exhale from a slightly open mouth as you come back to center. Then inhale completely as you turn your torso and your head, to look back behind you. Repeat the movement, back and forth, from side to side, for a number of repetitions, preferably the number you have done in previous movements for each side. Get the feel of slowly swinging from side to side. Turn at the waist. Stay centered in your waist.
This exercise benefits the heart, and gets rid of "heart fire." Exercising the lungs (metal) helps absorb the heat and controls the fire. It may be helpful for heartburn conditions. The horse stance will strengthen and condition the legs and lower back. When done with a deeper stance it will have some aerobic conditioning effect, especially if done for many repetitions. Bending and turning at the waist will strengthen and stretch the hips, abdominal, and lower back muscles. The upper back and triceps will be tightened and stretched as you turn from side to side.
By gently turning the spine realignment can occur and any stiffness present will be addressed. "Thus, exercising the waist area regularly will enable qi to circulate freely in the Tu Mo and will also stimulate the Shen Yu point. As a result, the kidneys will be full of energy. Since the kidney stores jing - the fundamental substance - it follows that when the kidneys have an abundant supply of energy, then jing qi, the essential energy of life, will also be richly available and yuan qi, the primary vital energy, will be vigorous in the maintenance of health. For this reason, the traditional Chinese fitness exercises pay special attention to the training the waist region." (reference from Michael P. Garofalo's site)
Counter-indications for this movement: Persons with uncontrolled blood pressure should not have their head lower than their heart. Persons with hip, abdominal or lower back injuries should avoid deep bending from the waist.
Punching with angry eyes is next in the sequence of the Eight Pieces of Brocade.You are still standing in horse stance, with your feet squared to your shoulders and pointed forward, knees bent. Your tail bone is tucked under as you squat down slightly. You can feel the weight on your thighs in this position. Your back is straight and your head held up while you look straight ahead. Arms are positioned at the waist. Hands are held in a soft and relaxed fist. Palms are up. Slowly extend the right arm to the front, turning the fist as the arm moves forward. The arm is gently lifted up and extended. The arm ends at about chest level. The fist should be palm down at the end of the extension. Do not use muscular force to strike forward. Exhale through the mouth as the arm moves outward, inhale through the nose as the arm moves back in. Remember, as in all positions, the lips are slightly parted, with the tongue at the top of the mouth. Eyes are wide open, staring forward, the gaze is meant to be intense. Project fierceness through your eyes. Imagine that energy is projected outward from the fist and moves into an imaginary opponent. The right arms returns to the waist as the left arm duplicates the previous movement, punching outward. The combined movement is an alternating soft punch thrown by each arm. Repeat with each hand for the same number of repetitions you have done for the other movements… 2, 4, 8, 16, 36, etc. Stay relaxed, keep your head up, and keep your back straight.
As I have already stated the horse stance strengthen the thighs, back and cardiovascular system. Shoulders and wrists are exercised. Balance and coordination are improved. Angry and tense feelings are dispelled. Eye and face muscles are exercised. Breathing is deep, adding oxygen to the blood. In traditional Chinese medical theory this movement helps stimulate and revitalize the liver and helps engender courage and toughness. Use this movement to push stress away from your physical and mental being as you punch outward and as you pull your hands to you belly visualize that you are drawing in strength and energy from the abundance of the universe. The hara, (Japanese word) also known as the Dan Tien (Chinese word) is the area this movement is centered on.
The next movement is touching the toes then bending backwards . As in the previous movement, you are standing in the horse stance with feet squared to your shoulders and pointed forward, knees bent and your tail bone tucked under as you squat down slightly. You can feel the weight on your thighs in this position. Your back is straight and your head held up while you look straight ahead. Let your arms relax at your sides and the inside of your hands are touching the sides of your thighs. Breathe easily and deeply inhale through your nose as your hands move upward and outward in a wide semi circle. You reach back to extend the back in a full stretch from the chest and shoulders. Slowly bend forward from the hips as your hands move back in and slowly down your legs. Exhale from your open mouth as you bend forward, drawing the abdomen slightly inward. Bend your knees and lower your head, relax your shoulders and back as you are bending forward. Move both hands down until you reach your ankles (or go to the floor if you can and hold under your toes). Hold for a few seconds in this position. Now inhaling through your nose, slowly move both of your hands up the back of the legs as you unbend and lift your head and back, one vertebra at a time. Keep the knees bent. Slowly trace the hands up the hamstrings and up over the gluteal muscles as you do this. Remember you are slowly inhaling as you bring your hands from your ankles to your lower back. Place your hands on your lower back, touching the area where the kidneys are located.
In some sites I noticed you are asked to massage the kidneys gently in a circular motion for about 30 seconds. Whether you do the massaging or not the next step is to slowly and gently bend backwards, keeping your hands on your lower back as you inhale through your nose. Look upwards and backwards as you bend backwards. Lift your chest upwards and back. Your head should be bent back gently. Bend only to the degree that you feel safe and comfortable. Hold for 20 seconds or more. Keep the backs of your hands on your lower back. Exhale deeply and slowly unwind forward as your hands move from your back to your sides again. Gently straighten the back and neck till you are standing up straight. Repeat this movement for as many repetitions as you have been doing throughout the Eight Pieces of Brocade sequence.
This movement is stretching and lengthening to the muscles of the lower back. Bending backwards brings more blood into the upper torso. It works the quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors and abductors. Back bends strengthen both the abdominal and lower back muscles. This movement stimulates many meridians. Massaging the kidneys increases the blood flow to these vital organs.
Counter-indications for this movement: Persons with uncontrolled high blood pressure problems should avoid moving their head below their heart. Persons with lower back stiffness or pain should avoid bending forward or backward too deeply from the waist. Avoid bending forward with the knees locked in a straight position as this places undue stress on the lower back and hamstring muscles. Make sure you are thoroughly warmed up before doing forward bending. When bending backwards it is advised you "tuck the butt" and tense the gluteal muscles, squeezing the anal sphincter muscle as if you were holding in a bowel movement. This movement strengthens the pelvic diaphragm and the muscles of the pelvic floor.
The next movement is called bouncing on the toes. As you stand up straight in this movement your feet are close together touching each other at the heels, in a v-shaped position, similar to the first position in ballet training. This is the position we first started the Eight Pieces of Brocade in. This position aids in the improvement of balance. Both feet should be flat on the floor. Keep your knees slightly bent, not rigid. Relax your body. Stay balanced and centered. This is the same position we used when we began the Eight Pieces of Brocade sequence. Your arms are at your sides, with your palms facing down. Inhale through your nose as you rise up on your toes and strongly shrug your shoulder upwards. On the exhale, through your open mouth, you will push down with your hands, palms down, as you come down to a flat footed position. Press down with your palms. Keep your hands flexed. Always keep the knees slightly bent. Raise your body up and down. Your heels move up as you go up on your toes and your shoulder shrugs upward with this movement and then your shoulder and feet drop down as your body moves down. Do as many repetitions in a slow and deliberate manner as you have already been doing. Breathe in as you move up and breathe out as you move down. Stretch and lengthen your spine as you move up on your toes.
In this movement the calves and thighs are exercised. In Chinese medical theory, bouncing in this manner stimulates the immune system. The hips and lower back are exercised. Stretching and lengthening the spine can align and strengthen the back. The muscles in the feet and ankles are exercised and stretched. The Achilles tendons are stretched. Leg muscles are strengthened.
We end the sequence of the Eight Pieces of Brocade as we started with the prayer position. Standing up straight. Your feet are close together touching each other at the heels, in a v-shaped position, similar to the first position in ballet training. This position aids in the improvement of balance. Both feet should be flat on the floor. Keep your knees slightly bent, not rigid. Relax your body. Stay balanced and centered. Your hands are at heart level at your chest in a praying position. All fingers are touching with your palms together. Your mind is centered and without thoughts. I like to have a soft smile on my face. Keep your head up and look straight ahead. Your eyes are open, with a soft and wide-angle focus. Breathe in through the nose and out from the mouth in a relaxed, easy, and regular manner. Keep your lips parted slightly. Keep the tip of your tongue lightly touching the roof of your mouth, at your palate. This keeps the circulation of energy as a circular circuit in our body.
You may now notice the peaceful feeling and hum of energy that is flowing through your body now that you have completed the full sequence of the Eight Pieces of Brocade. Hold this feeling and remember it throughout your day. Thank yourself for doing a good job and seeking the benefits of this powerful Qi Gong form.
A Compilation by Angela Rosa RN LMT, Barefoot Doctor
AWAKENING THE TAO OF HEALING, THE SECRET OF CIRCULATING INTERNAL POWER by MANTAK CHI Aurora Press 1983
As you have often heard, ones' body is their temple. Indeed your body is your home, the place your spirit, thoughts, emotions and a vast community of inter- networking cells reside. When you begin to think of your body in this way you realize that taking care of your home makes sense. You can abuse your body or take care of it in a loving way. It is that simple. The "INNER SMILE" is a simple meditation that one can do to send quiet, calming and loving energy to the body organs and systems.
As with any meditation, begin by finding a quiet place to sit. Dress in appropriate clothing to keep you warm. They should be loose fitting so energy will not be restricted or bound. The room is best to be well ventilated, with not too much light to be distracting or too little light to make you feel sleepy. Food and drink are generally best restricted for about an hour before meditating and the avoidance of foods that are too cooling is recommended. Warm foods are more energy saving, as having to warm up cold food with your own body heat leads to a great expenditure of energy. These cold foods are also extremely yin, which creates imbalance. Setting the environment helps to make for less distraction so you can focus and concentrate your energy on the task at hand.
You can stimulate the flow of chi by rubbing your face, ears, eyes, and feet before you begin. Rotating your head 12 times in both directions, as well as, your trunk 36 times in a circular motion will do a lot to open up the channels. Finally, come to sit at the edge of a chair, balancing on your sit bones, which are at the center of each buttock. This will help to create balance and an erect posture.
Men should allow the scrotum to hang freely in the air, so they can more easily draw in energy. Women sit the same, though they should cover the genitalia to avoid energy loss. The back is erect, though the head is bowed slightly forward and the feet are on the floor. In this way the feet are acting as a ground. By tilting forward slightly we can be more relaxed and the energy can move downward instead of getting lodged in the chest as it does when we sit with an extremely erect posture. The hands are placed in the lap with the right hand resting in the left palm, completing the circle and keeping the energy from leaking out of the palms.
Once you create calm in the environment you can now create it in yourself by starting with 36 deep abdominal breaths. You can read more about abdominal breathing on these pages. These breaths will begin to relax the body and mind. It makes no sense to try to circulate chi energy throughout a body that is tense, with muscles and jaws clenched. The breath should be long, soft and smooth. Do not distract your mind by focusing too much on your breath, it is more important to focus on drawing energy to the desire point. After some practice you will learn how to bring energy into every pore of your body as you breathe in and exhale from every pore as you breathe out.
The tongue is the bridge between the functional and governor channels, which run energy at the front and back of the body, so it is important that you place the tongue on the roof of the mouth so these channels can communicate. This creates a vital current and energy loop known as the "microcosmic orbit", which gives the cells needed energy to grow, heal and function.
Remember it is best to meditate when you are feeling refreshed. If you find you are too tired or worried, taking a walk, nap, bath or having a small warm drink may help to refresh you before you begin. Creating a relaxed mind and body is essential to developing a feeling of inward peace.
If we are to feel psychologically serene, as stated by Mantak Chia, in his book, AWAKENING HEALING ENERGY THROUGH THE TAO , it is important to follow the steps and guidelines mentioned above. We are reminded and instructed in this book about how to achieve this serenity in our vital organs, like the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys and stomach, nervous system and circulatory system using this simple yet, profound, ancient Taoist secret called "THE INNER SMILE".
BEGINNING THE PRACTICE OF "THE INNER SMILE"
A smile radiates powerful healing energies. Think about how you feel when you smile at someone or receive a smile. Taoists taught that a constant inner smile to oneself insured health, happiness and longevity. When you smile inwardly you are basking in love, creating harmony and sending love to your inner being. You are sending love where it is needed. Our body organs and systems are the "filter for all our perceptions, feelings, thoughts as well as the store house, for our memory and our very sense of identity and ill health is the direct accumulation of years or stress and abuse to our physical body".
To begin the "INNER SMILE" meditation start with your eyes. Create a relaxed environment as suggested above, then close your eyes and smile directly into them. This will calm your whole nervous system. The eyes are connected to the autonomic nervous system, which has two parts. There is the sympathetic (this controls flight or fight systems) and the parasympathetic (this is associated with relaxation and a feeling of security). Since these two systems are linked to every organ and gland via the nervous system you can effectively relax tension in your eyes, thus your mind, which frees your concentration to be used to send energy to your organs.
Using the "INNER SMILE" you can direct love through a smile, to your organs. As mentioned above, there is a front line that extends to the face, neck, heart and blood circulation systems, the lungs, liver, kidneys, adrenals, pancreas and spleen. The middle line goes from the mouth, to the stomach, the small and large intestines and the rectum. When we run this line we simultaneously swallow our saliva. The back line goes down the inside of each vertebra, one by one.
The smile you generate at your eyes needs to be effortless. As you practice you will learn to send your chi to these organs more easily. When you start by smiling down to your face and jaw, you will begin to feel tension releasing. Sometimes the release will be accompanied by a tingling sensation or noises. This is normal and you do not need to be alarmed. Remember your tongue is on your palate behind your front teeth to create a bridge between the back (yang) and the front (yin). As you move down into the neck and throat you are entering an area where there is a direct link to your brain. There are many blood vessels and nerves here in the neck and a lot of tension may be stored here. If you tuck you chin down toward your chest you can help to relax your neck muscles.
Keep smiling down into these areas and make your way next to the heart. According to the Taoists the heart, along with the kidneys, are the main transformers of chi energy. By smiling to the heart you increase the exchange of yang energy associated with the arteries and yin energy associated with the veins. You can relieve stored tension in this region and help your heart to be less stressed. Next radiate your smiling love to the lungs. Feel them lighten up and fill with energy.
As we travel down the body, smile next into the left side of your abdomen at your liver, which is just below the rib cage. Smile to soften your liver and help it to rejuvenate. Then move on to your kidneys on either side of your spine, just below the rib cage. Your adrenal glands sit right on top of the kidneys as well. "Like the heart, smiling to the kidneys will increase the flow of chi circulating through them and into your system".
As you smile into your abdomen allow the energy to go into the pancreas on the left side and the spleen. This sends a message of appreciation to these organs, gratitude for the endless work they do each day for you, pumping and purifying your blood and turning your food into useable energy.
Once you have completed the front line, it is time to bring your smile back to your eyes. Now you will smile into your mouth and swish you tongue around to collect saliva. With your tongue still on your palate behind your front teeth, tighten your neck muscles and swallow hard and quickly as your inner smile follows down your esophagus through your digestive tract to your navel. If you have nervous energy in your gut, smile it away. Relax your intestines and your rectum. Circulate your chi in this area to help make it easier to digest you food.
Now bring your focus back to your eyes and smile into your eyes, then your tongue and begin to bring this smile down your vertebra, on the inside of your spinal column. Be sure you are sitting up straight with your shoulders slightly rounded forward. Start at the top and go down to your coccyx. You may feel a sense of warmth, comfort and ease. This will open up the flow of energy that can circulate from your spine which is part of the central nervous system and connects to all body organs and systems.
You can end the session by collecting the energy at your navel, one and a half inches deep. Here the energy can be stored safely. At first you may find it takes a long time to do this meditation, though as you practice you will be able to do the entire circuit in just minutes. Many times the ill effects of meditation are caused by excess energy in the head. Once the energy is felt in your navel you can start it spinning in a slow, outwardly spiraling movement, twenty four times. Men spiral clockwise and women spiral counter clockwise.
Practicing the "INNER SMILE" will help you to relax and to create a meditative environment around yourself. You will find that from this place you can withstand external disruption much easier and negativity will not take hold. You give love to yourself with this practice. You will give love and appreciation to your many organs and systems that work hard for you each moment. By treating these parts of your being with respect and affection you are giving a positive message and setting up a resonate field that will blossom. When you hold more love inwardly you can extend more love outwardly, helping to create a better place for all beings.
The Five Tibetan Rites are a set of simple exercises. Done regularly they can provide great benefit to one's health and well being. These ancient exercises where discovered by Western culture in the 1900's and have spread far and wide. They stimulate key organs and strengthen muscles, increase circulation and support a healthy nervous system. They take only 15-20 minutes a day and can add years to your life.
Here is a video demonstrating the technique.
Here is another link where you can read an Essay on the Five Tibetan Rites
I met Judith Aston back in the 1980's when she was speaking at a venue in my community. She was demonstrating how one could create less stress and find the most support for their body during the common situations we all experience in our daily lives - situations like sitting, standing, moving and resting.
I was very impressed with this woman, how she herself moved and looked, she seemed so youthful, she was at ease and very graceful in a relaxed and unconstrained way.
Since that time I have taken a few of her fitness classes. I have become more aware of how uniquely different we all move and what postures we each assume. Self awareness, learning how to listen to and work with your own unique body, as well as with the forces of the earth, rather than assuming a certain "correct" posture or way to move, is very important according to Judith.
There is NO set posture for everyone. Our posture and movement styles depend on many things, including how we are feeling and how each of our bodies have been shaped by our history, injuries, emotional wounds and habits. In fact, our posture is changing all the time. Have you noticed that when you are feeling sad you are not in the same posture as when you are feeling happy?
Our body does the best it can with the information that has been given to it. When we give our body useful information it can recognize how this is better for it and it will respond accordingly to that new information. This is core in the Aston-Patterning work and why it works so well.
The best position for a body to be in is a neutral place, a place where it is without contraction. From this place we are working with the forces of the body and earth, not against them. From this place we can move with more ease, grace, strength and can find a way to heal faster. Our joints, muscles and internal organs function at a higher level when we are operating out of neutral. We are supported in remaining healthy for longer periods of time from this neutral place of higher functioning and the chances of injury are diminished as well. From this vantage point, we can learn how to move through our holding patterns and physical limitations, while increasing our level of performance.
In order to help people find their optimal level of functioning, Judith Aston assists people in integrating body, mind, spirit and environment. She does this with her bodywork and movement concepts, which she calls, Aston-Patterning. She is a definitely a pioneer in the field of movement, bodywork and expression. She is someone who walks her talk, a master in her field. She helps people become aware of what they are doing with their body and how their posture is expressing itself in its own unique way.
This deeper awareness gives people an understanding of their emotions and life patterns and from there they can change unnecessary patterns of the past and bring in the new. This happens at all levels, not just in the physical. She stresses how important it is to notice and let go of functional patterns before they become structural ones, which they will do as we repeat them over and over again. These ingrained holding patterns compromise various parts of the body and can result in limitations of hydration, oxygenation and nutrition to various body segments. All of this leads to functional impairment. Learning new movement patterns can lead to change and improvement, often immediately. There is increased benefit over time and a new expression of physical ease and comfort develops.
When we learn to work with the earth's natural forces we can go beyond the downward force of gravity that causes everything to sag and sink. In Aston-Patterning you learn how to work with the ground reaction force (GRF) that pushes upward and can help support and make your movements more efficient. Learning these concepts from Judith has been well worth my time and the resource spent to take her classes.
My life was changed when I came to understand more about GRF. I can not thank Judith enough for helping me to see how important it is to utilize this concept everyday, in everything I do. Using GRF, rather than contracting and holding the muscles, one can lengthen and gain support for their structure. When we can learn how to release into gravity, we can use GRF in its full capacity to support all of our movements.
Using GRF is like getting a massage that increases the circulation of blood and lymph of the entire body. The soft tissue of the body is being stretched and more hydrated and there is more space available between the joints. We can now move from a place of ease and grace. This concept can be used to include all movement, including breathing. It is very profound.
Another thing I learned from Judith is that even though many exercise programs, including weight lifting, yoga and palates, can increase muscle tone and cardiovascular benefit, they can also lead to a compromised shape and function of the body while doing them. It has been good for me to have this understanding and adjust accordingly.
I feel Aston-Patterning concepts in movement and body work are integrated and can fit into other programs you may already be involved with. This makes those programs even more supportive in the process of unraveling structural and movement holding patterns and creating fitness. Judith works with many health providers, body-workers and exercise coaches to help them understand these principles and learn how to add this added depth to the work they are doing.
Do your self a favor and read more about Judith Aston's work. You can find more info at www.astonenterprises.com. It will open you up to a whole new way of thinking about your body.
Judith offers classes world-wide. If you have a group that is interested in learning she may be willing to come to your area. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.