(5 pages total)
The body is the basis of life and is dependent on the Qi and the mind. If the body is not correct, then the Qi does not circulate smoothly. And if the Qi does not circulate smoothly, then the mind is not at peace. When practicing Qigong, it is necessary to maintain the correctness of the body and to meet the requirements for posture so that one may practice Qigong well.
The body posture is mainly guided by the four principles (including the twenty-four requirements) of keeping the head erect, the body straight, the feet flat and the upper arms rounded. It also integrates the five pairs, three bows and one circle to make the body into one organic whole. The following article, although it certainly could stand by itself, is the continuation of the article by the same title that was printed in the Autumn 1996 (Volume 6, Number 3) issue of our quarterly journal.
The Upper Arms are Rounded
The arms form an arc when the back is raised, shoulders relaxed, elbows suspended and wrists opened out. No matter what movement is done it is necessary to pay attention that there is a rounded arc formed between the middle fingers of the hands so that the two arms form a circular shape. Whatever the posture, one must always have the middle fingers facing each other and think of the outside of the two arms joining towards the inside and the insides supporting the outside so that the energies of the two hands are joined firmly and the upper arms are rounded. The head is then protected above, the feet are protected below and the spine is protected in back. One can then naturally feel full of "stretching energy." (the middle fingers face each other and the qi goes to the dan-tian)
If the upper arms can be rounded, then the arms form a bow and the movements of the upper limbs form an organic whole along with the trunk of the body. The top part of the body brings along the bottom and the bottom pushes the top. This better coordinates the movements of the entire body and also plays a role in defense and offense in technique. It is necessary to raise the back, relax the shoulders, hang the elbows, open out the wrists and have the middle fingers face each other to be able to make the upper arms rounded. There are eight requirements for making the upper arms rounded.
1. When Raising the Back-Make it Rounded
It is necessary to raise open the area of the spine between the two arms towards the hands but the shoulder blades cannot be made to jut out. In this way, the back is raised to accord with the size of the arc of the bent and stretched out arms so that the arms make an arch. The two arms cannot be stretched out straight nor can they be formed into an inverse bow shape (when straight, the back is not raised). Whether the arms are bent, opened or closed, one must always keep the back raised open on the left and right and have a rounded feeling in the middle fingers. In this way, the arms can be formed into one line, the movements can be integrated and one can issue forth "rounded stretching power."
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