Robust health, resistance to disease, clarity of mind, being who we are: the holistic paradigm of Oriental Medicine (OM) recognizes that these are the natural and logical result of the smooth and harmonious flow of qi, commonly translated as subtle life force energy.
Qi flowing smoothly and harmoniously often goes unnoticed. System functioning is so optimal we don’t even know what’s happening. We take it for granted. It’s when the qi does not flow smoothly and harmoniously that we’re like oh whoa, I gotta go see someone about this : the myriad forms of disease in mind and body.
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Skeptics–abundant in supply–claim that OM is nothing more than quackery, that neither the channel/meridian system nor qi exists. As a student of the science for over two decades who in the beginning grappled with his own doubts about whether all this material being taught at school wasn’t a bunch of bullshit, I can say confidently that all this business about qi flow is not bullshit.
Personal study, practice, and experience in qigong, taiji, and yogic meditative practices have shown that what the ancients described over two millennia ago is of value and substance. It’s independently verifiable by anyone of reasonably sound mind, provided they are willing to undergo the proper training by a qualified teacher.
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Qi stagnation is like a pond of stagnant water with an algal bloom and dead fish floating on the surface. Qi flow is like a river whose waters run continuously, clear and with living fish darting about below.
With respect to the pelvis and hips, qi stagnation is decreased sexual potency, prolapse, the leaking of urine and stool from weak sphincters, prostate problems in males, feeble-mindedness; qi flow is age-appropriate sexual potency, organs maintained in their right place, the muscular sphincters holding in urine and stool functioning properly, absence of prostate problems in males, a strong and flexible mind that can root down into a position yet give it up upon Love’s request.
Today’s post features an exercise that can serve as a starting point to counter the insidious progression of qi stagnation that can result from the combo of a sedentary lifestyle and misuse of sexual energy.
Exercise: Huiyin Trace Grand Circles
Method: start by standing with body in horse stance: 1) feet parallel to each other and a little wider than shoulder width, 2) knee and hip joints with a slight bend. Gyrate the pelvis clockwise for the decided-upon number of repetitions, then anticlockwise for the same number of times.
Feeling: let there be full, expansive, spirited movement of the pelvis and surrounding muscles. Sexual energy dwells here, be comfortable experiencing this natural psycho-physiological potency when it is felt. Practice un-tensing the muscles of the lower back (while maintaining an upright, relaxed spinal column) so the pelvis can swivel freely. When done properly, at various points throughout the movement you will feel the muscles of the 1) lower back lengthen and contract, 2) inner thighs (adductor group) alternately stretch and relax.
Let the perineum region–known in certain yoga systems as the root chakra and as the huiyin acupoint in OM–be the prime mover of the exercise, not the muscles of the lower back. Practicing this idea–as weird as it may seem at the moment–is an important detail for realizing the benefits of practice.
The following image roughly illustrates the concept: picture a young dog in the park leashed to a sapling while its owners set up the picnic spot, with squirrels scampering about on various sides. Excited, the dog’s instincts are to chase these critters. So what does she do–runs outward from the tree and in the direction of the squirrels, limited by the length of the cord; then she proceeds to run in circles while maintaining that outward force–in other words, there is a centrifugal character to the dog’s movement.
Now take that idea of an outward-circular (or centrifugal) force, make it the result of your clear mental intent, and perform it on the slower side: this is the feeling you want to practice. Huiyin is the dog, the upright spine is the sapling. All other connected structures move secondary to the perineum. The spine is upright and stable yet relaxed, free of clenching; the thoracic (where the ribs connect to the spine bones) and cervical (neck) segments move little, mainly as a stabilizing counter-force.
In case you’ve forgotten, the relevant anatomy is pictured below (aaaand cue the dirty jokes..haha). The perineum is labeled perineal body on the right:
If you make the muscles of the lower back the prime mover of the exercise, you won’t get the beneficial energizing of the pelvic floor muscles (the muscle bands in the above diagram). You may also risk further irritating any pre-existing habitual muscle tension in the lower back muscles. So mind these details carefully, dear friends.
Suggested Dose: 4-8 times each direction constitute one set. Perform one set daily, ideally teamed up with other spinal column mobilizing exercises to create a balanced routine. Combining this practice with an equal number of repetitions of Huiyin Gathering and Spreading (a different way of promoting healthier circulation in the pelvic floor region which, among other things, gently tones the muscles) is also worth a go.
Caution: if pain arises in the spinal column while practicing, gauge it: is it a matter of tight structures being woken up, in which case gently pushing through is beneficial? Or is the pain a sign from the body that you should not do this exercise anymore as it’s further irritating already-irritated nerves? If in doubt, discontinue and advise a qualified healthcare provider of this symptom. The same goes for pain sensed in the hip &/or knee joints.
Hope this helps you in your search for health, wholeness, and fulfillment! See you down the road, J*
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Copyright (c) 2018, Justin Jaucian