Xing Shen Zhuang
(Body & Mind Method)
The Body and Mind Form constitute the second module of training in Zhineng Qigong and is focused mainly on development of internal qi (internal Hunyuan). There are ten steps in the Form, each of which exercises ligaments and joints in different parts of the body, starting from head to toes. The exercises facilitate the movement of qi to the peripherals of the body and help to clear stagnant qi in parts of the body that are seldom activated, for e.g. the shoulder blades, hip joints and ribs. It is a training to unite the mind with the body and stresses on directling qi movement with physical movements.
Unlike Peng Qi Guan Ding, each step of Xing Shen Zhuang can be isolated and practised individually. The sequence of movements are summarised below:
- This is the same as in Peng Qi Guan Ding. Place feet together, stand upright and relax arms at sides of body. Look straight ahead at the horizon. Pull in the vision slowly and close eyes gently. Touch the upper palate with the tip of tongue. Pull up b aihui , tuck in chin and lift up huiyin . Pull in the abdomen and push mingmen backward. Relax the whole body (Fig. 1).
- Leading with the little fingers, rotate the palms slowly to face backward and flex the palms to face downward, with fingers pointing to the front. Maintain right angle at wrists and straight arms. Slide the palms forward 15 degrees and then backward to sides of body. Do 3 times (Fig. 2).
- Leading with the little fingers, relax wrists and rotate palms to face each other. Carry a ball of qi upward with both hands to the front until navel level. Flex the middle fingers to direct qi into the lower dantian through the navel (Fig. 3). Rotate palms to face down and sweep arms to the back at waist height. At the back, with palms facing mingmen, direct qi into lower dantian (Fig. 4). Think of the n avel . Raise forearms upward and forward to the sides of the body and press the middle fingers onto dabao (between 6 th and 7 th ribs) with palms facing upward (Fig. 5). Think of the Qi flowing into the middle dantian (middle of chest).
- Extend the arms forward with palms facing up until at shoulder level. Flex the middle fingers and palms slightly to direct qi into the upper dantian through the yintang (Fig. 6). Leading with the elbows, spread both arms out sideways until they form a straight line, simultaneously turning palms inward (Fig. 7). Leading with the little fingers rotate the palms downward and then upward. Slowly raise both arms upward till top of head. Clasp palms together (Fig. 8). Slowly lower the clasped palms to the front of the chest to form a inverted T (Fig. 9). The upper arms should form a 45 degrees angle with the body, the forearms form a straight line, fingers pointing upward and thumbs at sanzhong position.
Step 1 - Crane Neck Dragon Head (He Shou Long Tou Qi Chong Tian)
- Separate palms, move to sides along rib cage. Turn palms up, curl back and hold onto sides of body at bottom of rib cage, with thumbs at the back (pressing jingmen - tip of 12 th ribs) and fingers in front (index fingers pressing changmen - tip of 11th ribs) (Fig. 10 & 11).
- Tuck chin in, pull chin up along neck, thus stretching neck vertebrae (Fig. 12 and 13), then tilt head back while keeping chin tucked in. Relax yuzhen, tilt chin up, rotate chin forward, downward and inward (think chin is inside chest), completing a forward rotation (Fig. 13 and 14). Then pull chin in and repeat rotation. Do 9 times.
- Reverse the circular motion by tucking in chin, moving chin downward along the chest, forward, upward, tilt head back. Pull baihui up and tuck in chin, completing a reverse rotation. Do 9 times.
- Tilt left dragon horn to the left (dragon horn is the highest point of the head directly above the ear). Pull left dragon horn up to draw an arc and back to centre. Tilt right dragon horn to the right, pull right dragon horn up to draw an arc and back to centre (Fig. 15 and 16). Do 9 times. Movement should be continuous.
Step 2 - Neck and Shoulders (Han Jian Suo Xiang Tong Pi Jian)
- Relax hands, turn palms up with the fingers pointing to the front. Move lower arms forward so that they are at 90 degrees to upper arms. Raise arms until upper arms are at shoulder height, forearms and fingers pointing upward and palms facing inward (Fig. 17). Spread upper arms out sideways into a straight line. Turn palms to face outward. Lower forearms until hands and arms are in a straight line. Raise forearms to initial position (at 90 degrees to upper arms). Do 3 times (Fig. 18).
- Lower arms to shoulder level forming a straight line with palms facing downward. Draw small ellipse with fingers in a forward direction (forward-down-back-up). Do 3 times. Reverse direction of rotation, again do 3 times (Fig. 19).
- Push in the shoulder blades, contract the neck, tilt head back with chin tucked in, and flex the coccyx back and up. Hold for a few seconds (Fig. 20 a, b). Relax and return to previous positions. Do 3 times.
- Flush arms by moving the left arm and shoulder blades inward to the right while pushing right arm and shoulder blade outward, in a wave like movement (Fig 21). Reverse the direction. Do 3 times.
Step 3 - Upper Limbs (Li Zhang Fen Zhi Chang Jing Mai)
- Straighten arms at shoulder level. Leading with the middle fingers flex palms up and fingers bent back. Thrust out palms, hold for a few seconds, then contract arms by pulling in shoulder blades, keeping arms straight all the time (Fig. 22). Do 3 times.
- Stretch arms out with palms at 90 degrees to forearms. Close fingers. Separate thumbs and little fingers, then separate second and fourth fingers. Thrust palms out. Close second and fourth fingers, then close thumbs and little fingers (Fig. 23). Do 3 times.
- Relax fingers. Like an eagle's claw, apply strength to the first two joints of the fingers and claw downward, moving fingers and hands down until fingers meet (Fig. 24). Withdraw fingers to centre of palms without touching palms (Fig. 25). Raise hands to 90 degrees with forearms and slowly relax fingers joint by joint (Fig. 26). Repeat eagle claw movement. Do 3 times.
- Relax hands to a horizontal position and in a straight line with arms. Do arms flush as in Step 2 above.
Step 4 - Thorax (Qi Yi Gu Dang Bi Lei Jian)
- Lower arms to sides, then raise arms to clasp palms at chest level (Fig. 27). Interlock fingers while raising arms to level of forehead. Turn palms up and thrust palms forward, forming an upward-slanting oval shape (Fig. 28).
- Turn upper body 90 degrees to the left while bringing hands inward till a fist width from forehead (with left hand pulling the right arm which is relaxed). The right elbow should be at shoulder height while the left elbow is higher than shoulder. Thrust right ribs upward using force from lower dantian (Fig. 29). Right elbow is now higher than shoulder and left elbow at shoulder height.
- Turn upper body back to the front, with arms (and hands) stretched out to form a wide circle, and right arm pulling left arm (Fig. 30). Continue to turn to the right. At 90 degrees, hands should be a fist width from forehead (Fig. 31). Thrust left ribs upward using force from lower dantian. Right elbow is at shoulder height and left elbow higher than shoulder (Fig. 32). Return body to centre. Do complete cycle 9 times.
Step 5 - Spinal Stretching (Fu Shen Gong Yao Song Du Mai)
- Raise interlocked fingers to top of head, with palms facing upward. Straighten arms. Stretch left wrist up while relaxing right arm (Fig. 33), then stretch right wrist up with left arm relaxed (Fig. 34), all in a circular motion. When stretching, stretch all the way down to the legs. Do 3 times.
- Separate hands with arms touching ears and palms facing front (Fig. 35). Slowly bend whole body downward with arms straight and touching ears, starting with head, chest and finally waist (fig. 36). With fingers touching ground, press down 3 times while simultaneously thrusting the waist upward Fig. 36). Turn to the left, press ground and thrust waist up 3 times (Fig. 37). Turn to the right, press ground and thrust waist up 3 times (Fig. 38). Return to front, sweep hands to the back and grab heels with thumbs and index fingers. Push head onto legs and thrust waist up 3 times.
- Relax and return to the front with arms straight and touching ears. Slowly raise body and straighten backbone, starting with waist, chest and then head. When body is upright, relax whole body with an up and down swaying motion.
- Do the entire exercise 3 times.
Step 6 - Hip Rotation (Zhuan Yao Shuan Kua Qi Gui Tian)
- At end of Step 5, straighten arms, turn palms to face each other (Fig. 39). Lower elbow, think of palms directing qi into the body. Let hands pass face, chest and along ribs to sides of body. Turn palms up and back and hold onto sides of body below rib cage. Separate feet to shoulder width. With feet parallel and body upright, squat down slightly as if you are sitting on a chair (Fig. 40).
- Rotate hip to the left, using coccyx to lead the rotation (if front is north, rotation direction is north - northwest - west - southwest - south - southeast - east - northeast - north). Do 18 times. Reverse direction. Do 18 times (Fig. 41 & 42). Return coccyx to centre.
- Slowly curl coccyx forward as far as it can go. Hold for a few seconds (Fig. 43). Slowly flex coccyx as far back as possible (Fig. 44). Hold. Then curl forward again. Do 9 times.
Step 7 - Hip Opening (Ping Zu Kai Kua Fen Qian Hou)
- Raise body upright after completing Step 6. Turn feet so toes face outward (right toes to right and left toes to left) forming a straight line (Fig. 45). Turn palms up, fingers pointing front and elbows back. Move forearms forward until at right angle to upper arms. Raise upper arms until hands close together in front of forehead.
- Open palms outward to face front (Fig. 46). Spread arms to the sides. Lower arms to form a straight line at shoulder level (Fig. 47). Do arms flush (see Steps 2 and 3) three times. The body and thighs may sway with the wave like movement of the arms (Fig. 48).
- Bend knees and lower body, arms drawing a wide arc while going down. When thighs are parallel to ground and body upright, clasp hands and raise to chest level (Fig. 49). Draw anti-clockwise circle with the fingers (tips of fingers going out, left, in, right and out) three times. Reverse direction three times. Make sure the pivot point is the centre of the palms. The fingers and base of hands are rotating in a horizontal plane.
- Leading with the baihui, slowly raise the body, simultaneously raising clasped hands to yintang level (Fig. 50). Elbows should be within shoulder width.
- Do Steps 2 to 4 three times. At completion of the third time, raise hands to chest level instead of yintang level (Fig. 51).
- Turn left toes inward and right heel outward to form a straight line. Distance between toes about one foot length. Arch the body forward about 35 degrees, pushing buttocks out, thighs straight and abdomen thrust forward. Both arms forming an wide arch, fingers about 4 fingers width apart, and palms facing yintang. Tuck in chin and raise baihui (Fig. 52 and 53). Hold for about 5 to 10 seconds.
- Bend knees inward slightly, Sweep palms outward and upward at shoulder level, as if palms are holding a huge qi ball. Pull in abdomen and relax waist. Only bend upper body from chest to head slightly. Chin tucked in while head is leaned back slightly (Fig. 54 a, b). Hold for about 5 to 10 seconds.
- Raise baihui, raise body back to centre and arch body forward as in Step 6. Do Steps 6 and 7 three times (Figs. 52 to 54).
- In ending, after Step 7, raise body to upright position. Arms sweep upward, carrying a large ball of qi. When hands are above head, direct palms to pour qi down through the body. At the same time lower arms and hands (Fig. 55). At chest level, turn palms inward, along ribs to the sides and hold onto sides of body just below rib cage. Close feet together (Fig. 56).
Step 8 - Knees (Xi Gui Zu Mian San Jie Lian)
- Contract buttock, push out pubic area. Move shoulder blades forward, elbows forward and hollowing chest. Relax waist, raise baihui and tuck in chin. Relax knees and ankles. Slowly squat down as far as possible. Body from knee to head forming a slanted straight line. Hold this position for 3 minutes (Fig. 57).
- Leading with the baihui, slowly raise the body to an upright position.
Step 9 - Lower Limbs (Tan Tui Zhiao Zhu Miao Tai Ji)
- Shift weight to right foot. Raise left leg so that left thigh is parallel to the floor and shin hangs down vertically (Fig. 58). Flex up left foot, then flex down. Do 3 times. Draw circles with the toes, three times to the right (inward rotation) and three times to the left (outward rotation).
- Thrust left leg to the side at 45 degrees to body. Keep leg straight (Fig.59) and body facing forward. Flex up left foot, thrust heel down, then flex foot down. Do 3 times. Draw circles with the toes, three times to the right (inward rotation) and three times to the left (outward rotation).
- Curl the big toe inward and return left leg to original position with feet together and body upright. Feel the qi cruising in the legs.
- Shift weight to left foot. Raise right leg so that right thigh is parallel to the floor and shin hangs down vertically. Flex up right foot, then flex down. Do 3 times. Draw circles with the toes, three times to the left (inward rotation) and three times to the right (outward rotation).
- Thrust right leg to the side at 45 degrees to body. Keep leg straight and body facing forward. Flex up right foot, thrust heel down, then flex foot down. Do 3 times. Draw circles with the toes, three times to the left (inward rotation) and three times to the right (outward rotation).
- Curl the big toe inward and return right leg to original position with feet together and body upright.
Step 10 - Completing (Hui Qi Kui Yi Zhuan Hun Yuan)
- Turn palms to face each other and stretch forward as if carrying a big ball of qi in front of abdomen. Raise hands to level of forehead (Fig. 60). Turn upper body to the left, slowly lower elbow and hands (still carrying qi ball), bend knees and lower body (Fig. 61). Maintain upper body in a vertical plane. Lower qi ball on the left until hands reach knee level (Fig. 62). Carry qi ball to the front and then to the right, turning upper body at the same time. Raise qi ball on the right, raise body simultaneously. When body is upright continue raising qi ball to shoulder level. Turn body to the front while carrying qi ball to the forehead level. Arms should be stretched out in a relaxed manner during these movements. Turn body to the left and repeat the qi ball carrying movements on the left another two times.
- At the end of the three left cycles, pause at forehead, then reverse direction and carry qi ball to the right while lowering body. Repeat the qi carrying movements from the right 3 times.
- At the end of the 3 right cycles, centre the body and carry qi to above head (Fig. 63) With chin tucked in, move chin up along neck to the maximum and tilt head back. Relax head, tilt chin up, rotate chin to the front, then down and then tuck into body (forward Crane Neck movements from Step 1). Do forward Crane Neck movements 3 times.
- Lower hands with base of palms coming together and fingers further apart (in a V-shape as in Fig. 64). Just above head close the two palms together (but not touching). Then open base of palms apart (forming inverted V) and slide palms down sides of head (not touching head at all times). When palms are at ear level, move palms up again in an inverted V direction. At top of head, close palms together (palms not touching). Then open palms and move up in a V direction. Repeat movements another two cycles.
- Raise hands to above head, with palms diagonally facing top of head. Lower hands and pour qi down through the head into the body. Continue lowering hands, passing face. At chest, turn palms inward and continue lowering to abdomen (Fig. 65), front of thighs, bend body, along inside of legs, down to top of feet. Place hands on top of feet. Press down with palms, bending knees and body downward (Fig. 66). Lift up, lifting body and knees. Palms still touching feet at all times. Repeat another 2 times.
- Scoop up qi. Move palms to inside of feet with palms facing feet. Move palms up inside of legs, abdomen, and on to chest. At chest level, turn palms out to face front in front of armpits, elbows tucked back (Fig. 67). Push right palm out until arms are almost straight. Relax wrist and turn palm to the left (Fig. 68). Turn upper body to the left, scooping up qi with right palm. At 90 degrees to body, press tip of thumb on middle segment of middle finger (Fig. 69), continue moving right arm to the back, tracing right fingers across left shoulder to press middle finger on qihu (just beneath collar bone and directly above left nipple) while at the same time turning the upper body to the front (Fig. 70). Hold middle finger there.
- Push left palm out until arms are almost straight. Relax wrist and turn palm to the right. Turn upper body to the right, scooping up qi with left palm. At 90 degrees to body, press tip of thumb on middle segment of middle finger (zhongkui), continue moving left arm to the back, tracing left fingers across right shoulder to press middle finger on right qihu while at the same time turning the upper body to the front. Hold middle finger there. Arms are now crossed in front of chest and 45 degrees out from the body (Fig. 71).
- Breathe in, press qihu. Breathe out and enunciate "tong" quietly. Do 3 times.
- Release fingers and push the crossed arms forward. With wrists touching, open out palms to form a lotus flower (Fig. 72). Close and clasp palms in front of chest. With the thumbs at mid chest, open and close palms 3 times (la qi). Open no wider than the nipples and close so palms do not touch (Fig. 73). Raise hands till first joint of thumbs are in front of nose. Again do open and close 3 times. Open to not wider than cheekbones and close without palms touching. Raise palms till thumb joints are at mid brow level (yintang). Open (not wider than outer edges of eyes) and close (palms not touching) 3 times. Raise palms to the top of forehead. Palms are in an inclined position. Open (not wider than dragon horns) and close 3 times. Raise palms to about 10 cm above baihui, with fingers pointing upward. Open (not wider than dragon horns) and close 3 times.
- Close palms together and straighten arms. Stretch arms and palms upwards. Turn palms to face front. Slowly lower arms to the sides so they form a straight line at shoulder height. Leading with the little fingers turn palms up and sweep arms slowly to the front until both palms at shoulder width. Flex middle fingers to direct qi into the yintang. Withdraw elbows backward, at the same time turn elbows out to the sides of the body and press middle fingers on dabao (Fig. 74). Extend palms to the back with palms facing up and above waist height. When arms are straight, sweep both arms to the front. At sides of body, turn palms to face front, scooping up qi in the process (Fig. 75). Continue to sweep palms to the front, directing qi into the navel. Close palms in front of navel (not touching navel), right palm over left palm for men and reverse for ladies (Fig. 76).
- Rotate palms 9 times outward anticlockwise (left, up, right, down and left) from navel in increasing circles (not larger than diaphragm and pubic area). Then rotate inward clockwise 9 times in an inward spiral. Place palms on navel and nourish qi for a few minutes (Fig. 76). Separate hands to the sides and open eyes slowly.