Welcome to the MIT Qigong Blog

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

MIT Qigong with Coach Jim Roselando

MIT Qigong Club
Time: 7:00-8:00
Location: Student Center/Room 491
Cost: $0- (FREE)
10 Gather
5/5 Crane
5 Turning Cow
5 Gather
20 Zhuang #1
10 Zhuang #3
Seal & Wash
Standing Alone And Unchanging,
One Can Observe Every Mystery,
Present At Every Moment And Ceaselessly Continuing-
This Is The Gateway To Indescribable Marvels.
Lao Tzu - Tao Teh Ching

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Uniting the Three into One

The Chronicles of Tao
By Deng Ming-Dao

The poor temple room was a simple cell. Whitewashed walls had been so worn by time, so abraded by dust, and milky layers that they ceased to be dirty or coarse. They had acquired a patina of antiquity. A distant bell sounded and a faint scent of sandalwood lingered far in the background like ancestral memory. The atmosphere was dense in its stillness. Quietude was a heavy, palpable presence. Serenity had pooled deeply within the confines of the temple and he submerged himself in it. He sank to its very depths and came to rest in a perfect pyramidal posture.

Perhaps this was what it was like to drown; to feel the liquid invade your nose, your mouth, every aperture down to your pores and soak to your bones in a few seconds time. Only here, he breathed in the temple air, heavy enough to feel liquid. He became a rock. A large stone icon at the bottom of a sea of tranquillity.

Outside became inside. Inside became indistinguishable from outside. Nothing existed save the world of his meditation. Was time the cycle of the universe, or merely the measured cadence of his energy moving up his spine? He felt it was true when his masters had told him that the body was a microcosm of the universe. Wasn't he now the universe?

In the first darkness, it was his thought that created a thousand suns, a hundred galaxies. It was his breath that set the cosmos whirling. His universe evolved into five elements, the ten thousand things. He could hear his body's functions. He could listen to his nerves firing and even detect the subtle electrical flows. He could smell different smells, some fragrant, some putrid, as they rose from the complex worlds of his organs. He could taste the flows of liquids and gases. The universe was not a mechanism. It couldn't be compared to the pathetic inventions of puny men. It wasn't an organism. It was eternal. It wasn't a divine being. It embraced both thought and nonthought, being and nonbeing. All those definitions and metaphors had to be inverted. The universe was of an infinite magnitude. He was a microcosm of the universe.

The masters said the world was illusion. By simple logic, if a human being was a microcosm of the external world, he also was illusion, a phantasm imagining himself to exist in a nonexistent reality. He understood that meditation was not merely a state, but a vehicle to understanding. Existing or nonexisting, he commanded the forces inside him, concentrated them, directed them to one point. Illusion nevertheless had substance. He would pierce the veil to find the answer to his question.

The flow of his breath rose in his body, and he felt warm. He concentrated deeply, inhaling deeply. His mind seemed to dive deep into his body, down to its base, stirring the sexual fluids. Conserved by a lifetime of celibacy, trained since childhood in meditation, it was easy to stir his basic chemistry. He unified semen, breath, and spirit - what the Taoists called "Uniting the Three into One," and directed the resulting essence upward like a flow of liquid light. The brilliance ascended to his skull.

His meditation was succeeding. He quickly realized that the ascension of energy meant that he was similarly rising toward the spiritual heights. The movement of energy was perfectly precise. He felt his psychic centers opening, whirling. Saihung felt great power.

All the abilities of his masters, which had seemed so unattainable before, now seemed within his grasp. In fact, they seemed absurdly simple. They were as easy to grasp as toys were for a child. He was ecstatic. But in that moment he understood that, even then, pride and ego had leapt up. By reveling in the power, he knew that temptation loomed all the more strongly. Balanced at the top of that slender shaft of high-voltage human energy, Saihung finally understood how easy it was to topple off.

The brilliance grew like a sun condensed, contained, but now bursting and burning. Flowing. Here was the golden light streaming through the Mysterious Portal. Here was the blinding stream of infinity. He felt a hesitation. A great inner tension. He knew these feelings were the "guardians." It was his self objecting to its imminent negation. He wanted to go, but something held him back. The light flickered.

Saihung saw the light again, flooding through the portal. It built in power. All he had to do was give in. All he had to do was let the light take his being over. He paused only a moment this time, and then plunged into the rising radiance.

He felt a brief but powerful sensation, like being torn by a great explosion. And then he felt nothing. There was no longer a he to feel. There was only golden light and the trace of his surrender.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Monday night Qigong with Jim Roselando

MIT Qigong Club
Time: 7:00-8:00
Location: BUILDING 1/ROOM 242
Cost: FREE
20 gathering qi
5/5 heaven&earth
5min #1 zhang zhuang
5min #5 zhang zhuang
10min #1 zhang zhuang
5min #3 zhang zhuang
Seal n wash
Qigong forges a direct link between the conscious mind and the immune system, a link already acknowledged though not well understood in Western medicine as 'psychoneuroimmunology'.  Master Luo Teh Hsiou cites the 'harmony of the nervous and endocrine systems' as the very essence of Qigong practice, and modern medical science has clearly established a close biofeedback connection between neurochemicals and hormones.  Stress and excitement activate the sympathetic circuit of the autonomous nervous system, which triggers release of adrenalin, cortisol, and other hormones.  These hormones then further reinforce sympathetic nervous response by biofeedback, setting up a continuous cycle of depletion and exhaustion.  Qigong, from moving exercises to still, counteracts the exhausting stress and excitement of daily life by turning on the calming parasympathetic circuit of the autonomous nervous system, which releases neurochemicals that stimulate secretions of hormones with healing, relaxing, and restorative properties.  These hormones in turn sustain secretions of parasympathetic neurochemicals by biofeedback, establishing a cycle of repair and rejuvenation.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Efficacy of Medical Qigong - Standing Meditation

Qi The Journal of Traditional Eastern Health & Fitness
Volume 17, No. 2
Summer 2007 

Storing Qi in the Dantian 
     While all forms of meditation can provide a state of quiescence, standing meditation offers the mutual benefit of calming the spirit and augmenting qi to strengthen physical constitution. Ancient Chinese masters developed specific meditations to effectively promote the movement of qi. Once qi is stimulated and meridians are cleared from stagnation, the opportunity for further qi cultivation and storage arises by storing it in the lower dantian (field of elixir).
     The dantians are energetic spheres of qi, and through standing meditation and qigong training, one can develop and integrate more qi. The lower dantian is regarded as teh root of life that unites the kidneys with the mingmen (gate of destiny) located at acupuncture location du-4. Not only does cultivation of the lower dantian rekindle primordial qi, it also regulates the liver and chong meridians.
     Under further magnification, the Three Treasures: earth, man and heaven, are understood with the earth representing yin, the heavens representing yang and man being the conduit of both. In parallel to jing (essence), qi (energy), shen (spirit), the jing is associated with the lower dantian, the qi is associated with middle dantian, and the shen is associated with the upper dantian. With qi being the instrument for integration of jing and shen, a practitioner can be a means of expression for earth and heavenly qi.

Uniqueness of Standing Meditation
     The concept of standing meditation stems from primordial Daoist philosophy. The idiom, "as above, so below" illustrates an individual as a microcosmic reflection of heaven. With standing meditation, practitioners can root into the earth and draw qi into and through their feet. Simultaneously, qi from the heavens filters down and enters through the bai hui (acupuncture point du-20) at the top of the head.
One goal of standing meditation offers the ability to to enhance the flow and assimilation of yin and yang qi. Heaven, the cosmos, is considered yang. The earth is considered yin. By drawing up the earth qi from the feet and attracting heaven qi from the stars, moon, sun and planets via the bai hui, an amalgam of universal qi is gathered and stored within the lower dantian.
     With standing meditation, a practitioner can optimally augment the current of qi because the entire length of the person can be capitalized to harness the most flow of qi from the feet to the head. This standing position "takes maximum advantage of an energy factor called 'potent gradient', which determines the strength of the polar field in the human energy system between the Yang pole at the crown of the head and the Yin pole at the soles of the feet." In other words, the more distance between two opposite forces of energy, the more likely qi can be cultivated.
     The gateways for these two opposite poles of energy are bai hui and yong kuan (k-1), the acupuncture location on the bottom of the foot, is another noteworthy qigong location used for allowing qi from the earth to enter and exit.

Proper Posture and Breath
     Qi can be activated via three essential foundations: proper posture, conscientious breath, and guided visualization. In China, many of the Medical Qigong masters and doctors have a solid foundation in martial arts, specifically nei gong, meaning "inward training". It is no coincidence that proper posture, through breath, and clear mental focus remain fundamental training techniques in martial arts, taiji and medical qigong. During standing meditation, incorporation of these basics permits the practitioner to optimize the confluence of qi from the heavens and the earth.
     Proper posture provides the foundation for optimal flow of qi. Accurate alignment of bones, muscles, tendons and fascia allows the most advantageous way for qi to move.
Increased movement of qi frees energy obstructions; this may manifest in sudden jerking or spiraling of the body, head, arms, legs or spine as congestion of qi is cleared from the meridians.
     Correct body structure, from the feet upward, pave the way for maximum benefit from standing meditation. The human body is a tuning fork, therefore, proper posture begins at the foundation with the feet shoulder-width apart and parallel to each other. Become aware of yong kuan, one can imagine and ultimately feel a slight tingling or sensation of heat as yong kuan beings to open and receive the earth qi.

     Breath is used to coordinate the individual with his or her jing and shen. Breathing should be even and full, yet without force. By means of proper breath and attunement within oneself, a practitioner can then direct the breath to harmonize with the environs. This integration provides further cultivation of qi to be stored in the lower dantian. Inhalation and exhalation is through the nose. The breath needs to be smooth, gentle, and deep, inhaling all the way down to the lower dantian.

Standing Meditation
     Start standing meditation with the awareness that one is a conduit of heavenly and earthly qi. Have the intention of sinking deeply into the earth, drawing the earthly qi up through yong kuan: "the deeper into the earth you go, the more the energy will come up". The more your body relaxes down into the earth, an equal and opposite energetic response will occur with the earth's qi pushing upward while a sensation of lengthening the spine should occur as the head is considered to be a beautiful pearl being suspended by a string from the heavens above.
The knees, slightly bent, should be aligned over the feet. If knees are locked with legs completely straight, the qi tends to bog around the knees. Hindering free flow, this "tension in any area of the body restricts the structural system as a whole." Also, the knees should not bend beyond the plane of the tips of the toes.
The hips are relaxed with the coccyx dropping downward to straighten the curvature of the spine. The slight tucking of the buttocks lets the qi flow better through the ming men area of the lower lumber. This is a common area for qi to stagnate.
     The abdomen should be relaxed and prepared to receive the gentle even inhalation. The shoulders and elbows should feel loose and heavy to allow the qi to clear any energy obstructions. The eyes are half closed to keep the cultivation of qi inwards. The tongue rests on the upper palate behind the teeth to connect the ren and du meridians. The shoulders should be relaxed as the qi draws up the base of the occiput, this important region is known as the jade pillow. To improve fluidity of qi movement, the chin should be slightly tucked to allow the qi to flow smoothly up the du meridian.
After the qi is drawn up and over the head along the du merdian, upon exhalation the qi is guided down the ren meridian. The qi cascades down the front of the body, ultimately filling the lower dantian. To further supplement and tonify the lower dantian, swallow and excess saliva down to the lower dantian. In closing the standing meditation, place both hands with laogong (acupuncture point pericardium 8) onto the lower dantian.

Precautions for Medical Qigong Standing Meditation
     Some basic guidelines for standing meditation are used to avoid qi deviations and leakage. Prevent exposure to wind, as it scatters the qi. Also beginners should not practice standing meditation during weather extremes--thunderstorms, earthquakes, typhoons, hurricanes heat-waves, as the receptivity to extreme imbalances in nature can occur during meditation. Avoid loud and startling noises because they can disperse the shen. Allow adequate space before and after standing meditation from eating, intercourse, or bathing. And finally, do not practice when ill or fatigued.

Article by L. Francesca Ferrari, L.Ac. DMQ, DTCM (China); Associate Dean of Medical Qigong Science at Five Branches Institute, College of TCM Dean of TCM Theory International Institute of Medical Qigong; 80th lineage disciple of Maoshan Daoist Monastery in China. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Coach Roselando's Soft Qigong Sayings Over the Years

Remember the 
Posture, Relaxation, Breathing

Head up, sensitivity at the crown point (bai hui)

Head suspended from above 

Straight spine

Slight bend in the knees

Let the body relax onto the ground

Let the Flesh hang off the bones

Hold the hands as if you have cotton between the fingers

Ankle, Hip, and Shoulder

Posture supported by the Yang parts, let the Yin parts sink.

Stance is like the Eiffel tower.

Slight curl of the toes, weight on outside blade of the foot.

Chest is hollow like the inside of a Coke can.

Breathe in thought the nose slowly, 
breathe out through the nose more slowly.

Sip the air.

Deep soft breathing below the belly button.

Breath in, let the body slightly open---
Breath out, let the body slightly close.

Relax the face, the jaw, the shoulders, relax the chest, the armpits.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Monday Night Qigong with Coach Jim Roselando

MIT Qigong Club
Time: 7:00-8:00
Location: Student Center/Room 491 

5min Gathering Qi
5min Left Crane
5min Right Crane
5min Left Shi Li
5min Right Shi Li
5min Gathering Qi
5min Left Hun Yun
5min Right Hun Yun
5min Turning Cow
5min Universal Post
5min Low Post

Notes from Master Wang Xiang Zhai:
     "The standing exercise represents a very special accumulation of knowledge in China.  But in the past there were very few people who paid attention to it because most people thought it was too simple.  They wondered how, by sitting or standing in a single posture without moving, can you improve health?  When people wonder this, it is because they do not really understand the essence of standing.  In reality, in practicing the exercise of standing without moving, we can not only increase physical strength, but also awaken healing processes within the body, allowing the body to cure itself of all kinds of chronic diseases it might have accumulated during a lifetime.  Therefore, in preventative medicine, standing exercises have great value.  In fact, it is on of the most appropriate ways of exercising."