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Chi Kung
the art of breathing: the fundamental basis of tai chi

Chi Kung Exercises

 

The Chinese Brocade
is a kind of multi-coloured cloth, woven normally with silk threads of bright colours. Because of its colourful and attractive appearance, the brocade to the Chinese is always a symbol of good things; such as happiness, beauty, prosperity and good health. The term has somehow come to be adopted to name a set of Chi Kung exercises. This is known as the Eight Pieces of Brocade. It can be imagined that as Chi Kung it is designed to enhance human health, which is an essential associate with happiness. As the numerical part of the name implies, the exercise is composed of eight sets of movements.

Natural Standing Position
1. Stand comfortable, quietly and relaxed for a few moments.
2. Place the feet parallel to each other and shoulder width apart. Bend the knees a little until directly over the toes, assimilating a slight sitting position.
3. Ensure that your body weight is fifty percent in each leg and feel as if the entire foot area is supporting the whole body weight.
4. Hold the chest slightly in but do not allow your back to curve.
5. Keep your upper and lower back (full length of the spine) straight and relaxed.
6. Keep both hips level and remaining in a natural position.
7. Do not protrude the buttocks, i.e. contract the anus and withdraw the buttocks.
8. There should be no tension in the shoulders (keep low), elbows and wrists.
9. The upper arms should not be tight to the body. The armpits should be slightly ,open".
10. Both hands should rest in a natural position by your side. The fingers should be slightly tensed and separate from each other.
11. The neck muscles should not be tensed.
12. The head must remain upright, neither leaning forward or backward, or slanting left or right.
13. The upper and lower jaws are slightly closed with the lips gently making contact. Touch the hard palate behind the upper teeth with the tip of the tongue. Breathe in and out through the nose.
14. Half close the eyes and look naturally downward and forward.

Horse Riding Stance
1. Stand comfortable, for a few moments.
2. Place the feet together.
3. Keeping the toes stationary, turn both heels outward as far as possible.
4. Keeping the heels stationary, forward.
5. Keeping the toes stationary, again turn both heels outward as far as possible.
6. Finally, with the heels remaining stationary, turn the toes to point forward and feet parallel to each other.
7. Ensure that your body weight is fifty percent each leg and feel as if the entire foot area supporting the whole body weight.
8. Hold the chest slightly in but do not allow your back to curve.
9. Keep your upper and lower back (full length of the spine) straight and relaxed.
10. Keep both hips level and remaining in a natural position.
11. Do not protrude the buttocks, i.e. contract the anus and withdraw the buttocks.
12. There should be no tension in the shoulders (keep low), elbows and wrists.
13. The upper arms should not~ be tight to the body. The armpits should be slightly "open".
14. Both hands should rest in a natural position by your side. The fingers should be slightly tensed and separate from each other.
15. The neck muscles should not be tensed.
16. The head must remain upright, neither leaning forward or backward, or slanting left or right.
17. The upper and lower jaws. are slightly closed with the lips gently making contact. Touch the hard palate behind the upper teeth with the tip of the tongue. Breathe in and out through the nose.
18. Half close the eyes and look naturally downward and forward.


 

Exercise 1 - Turn the head
1. Assume a Natural Standing Position.
2. Inhale and slowly turn the head toward the left to look to the rear.
3. Exhale and slowly turn the head to the original front position.
4. Inhale and slowly turn the head toward the right to look to the rear.
5. Exhale and slowly turn the head to the original front position.

Exercise 2 - Raise both hands to the sky
1. Assume a Natural Standing Position.
2. Inhale and raise both arms until your hands are in front of the body at abdomen height - palms facing inward to hold an invisible balloon in front of you.
3. Exhale and interlock your fingers (palms upward).
4. Rotate your palms over (palms downward) . Inhale and raise both arms in an arc to position the hands (palms upward) one inch above the head. Exhale and press both hands (palms upward) vertically, straightening your arms as fully as possible (you will feel the stretch in the arms and wrists). Simultaneously, raise your heels so that you are on the balls of the feet. This will enable you to stretch the entire body. Your vision should follow the hand movements, i.e. the head is tilted backward to keep the eyes looking at the back of the hands. Remain in this posture.
5. Inhale and rotate the hands so that the palms face your head, then lower the hands to a position one inch above the head. Exhale and lower the arms in an arc to the original position in front of your abdomen. Simultaneously, lower the heel to the ground.

Exercise 3 - Raise one hand to the sky
1. Assume a Natural Standing Position.
2. Inhale and raise both arms until your hands are in front of the body at abdomen height - palms facing inward to hold an invisible balloon in front of you.
3. Turn both palms over to face downward. Inhale and raise the left arm vertically until it is fully stretched above the shoulder. The left palm to face upward and the fingers point to the right. Your vision should follow the movement of the left hand.
4. Simultaneously, push downward with the right palm to the outside of your right thigh. The palm will face the floor and the fingers point to the front. Fully stretch the arm.
5. Raise up onto the balls of both feet and fully stretch the entire body. Remain in this posture.
6. Exhale and by reverse movements withdraw both hands to the starting position (ball holding position in front of chest), and lower the heels to the floor. This completes the first half of the exercise.
7. Continue the exercise substituting right for left and repeat the sequence, always returning to the start position.

Exercise 4 - Draw a bow to shoot an arrow
1. Assume a Horse Riding Stance.
2. Raise your hands to chest height - palms facing inward toward the body and fingers pointing to each other (imagine holding a large ball on your chest).
3. Cross both arms in front of the chest with the right arm on the outside of the left arm.
4. Curl the middle, ring and little finger of the left hand, but keep the forefinger extended forward and the thumb pointed upward.
5. Inhale as you open your left arm horizontally at shoulder height to the left. Push and stretch away your hand palm and index finger (at right-angles to your arm). Keep the vision of the eyes on the left hand throughout the movement. Image that your left palm is pressing flat against the wood of an archer's bow.
6. Simultaneously, and corresponding to the movement of the left hand, clench the right hand into a loose fist and pull it horizontally at shoulder height to the right. Imagine you are drawing back a taut bowstring by leading with the right elbow and keeping the back of the fist facing outward. Hold the position for one second.
7. Exhale as you release botb fists and return the arms to a crossed position in front of the chest (left arm on the outside of the right arm).
8. Repeat the exercise to the right side of the body.

Exercise 5 - Lean body sideways
1. Assume a Horse Riding Stance.
2. Place both hands on your upper legs slightly above the knees; with the thumb of each hand on the outside of the leg facing backward, and the other four fingers on the inside of the leg.
3. The upper part of the body, including the head, is kept vertical and the two arms are slightly bent.
4. Exhale and lean the upper body to the left as far as possible. This is performed without moving the feet and legs, or removing the hands from the knees.
5. Inhale and return the body to the starting posture. 6. Exhale and lean the upper body to the right as far as possible. This is performed without moving the feet and legs, or removing the hands from the knees.
7. Inhale and return the body to the starting posture.

Exercise 6 - Row the boat
1. Assume a Natural Standing Position.
2. Raise your hands to chest height - palms facing inward toward the body and fingers pointing to each other (imagine holding a large ball on your chest).
3. Turn both palms downward. with both legs and ankles fully stretched, exhale and bend the upper body forward to press the hands vertically downward as far as possible to touch the back of the ankles. The head and back of the body is maintained in a straight line.
4. Inhale, and with the palms upward, swing the arms outward and upward as you straighten the body. Turn the palms forward as you bring the hands to the starting position.

Exercise 7 - Punching
1. Assume a Horse Riding Stance.
2. Fold the thumbs inside the palm of each hand, then form two fists. Inhale and slightly bend the knees. Simultaneously place the fists on the hips(knuckles downward).
3. Exhale through the nose and extend your left arm slowly forward at chest height toward the centre of the body. Corkscrew the arm inward so that you turn the fist over to finish with the knuckles facing upward. This must be performed slowly and calmly with great concentration. Each movement begins gently. By squeezing the fist the full power comes in only at the end of the extension. Clench your teeth tightly. Bulge your eyes as wide as you can and stare intently at the left fist. Hold this position for one second.
4. Release the tension in the left fist. Inhale and gradually bring the fist back to your hip, returning along the same path.
5. Repeat the exercise with the right fist.

Exercise 8 - Bounce on the heels
1. Assume a Natural Standing Position.
2. With ankles and legs fully stretched, inhale and raise the heels of both feet as high as possible.
3. Exhale and lower the heels to the floor in a sharp jerky action, allowing the body to shake.


 

text from Ray Wood (possibly attributed to an an original unknown author)

 

 

The Chinese Brocade is a kind of multi-coloured cloth, woven normally with silk threads of bright colours. Because of its colourful and attractive appearance, the brocade to the Chinese is always a symbol of good things; such as happiness, beauty, prosperity and good health. The term has somehow come to be adopted to name a set of Chi Kung exercises.

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