Everyone needs a “quick-and-dirty” qigong technique for shaking off negativity, gathering up good Qi and for circulating and harmonizing one’s energy. That is why I have decided to present to you this very useful qigong exercise called “Pulling Down the Heavens.” It is very useful because it can accomplish all three tasks in one simple and effective exercise.
In qigong practice, there are three functions that one generally tries to achieve: purgation, tonification and harmonization. Purgation is releasing that which you no longer need. Energy and emotions can become stuck in tissues or organs of the body and purgation is a tool to move this stuck energy out. Tonification is strengthening something that is weakened. By tonifying a specific organ or the entire system, one can achieve greater levels of function. Harmonization is the balancing out of energy already present in a system. Harmonization implies moving or invigorating already-present but perhaps stagnant energy. We usually perform these in that order: first purge that which is excessive and unnecessary, then build energy where there is vacuity and finally harmonize so that energy can become balanced and regulated within the whole system. “Pulling Down The Heavens” exercise can be used for any of these purposes or for all three simultaneously. It is the intent of the practitioner which determines the purpose and focus of practice.
Generally speaking, this is the qigong exercise we most commonly use to begin and end our qigong practice. It should be repeated a minimum of 3 times. Feel free to do any other qigong exercises you may know (including the one I presented to you in an earlier post called Ren Wu Zang Meditation) in-between an inital and ending Pulling Down the Heavens.
Practice this qigong as slowly and smoothly as possible. There are no pauses between the movement and when the exercise is performed in sequence, one Pulling Down the Heavens follows the next with no breaks in-between. Adjust the speed of your exercise to match your rate of breathing, always striving for slower, deeper breaths. The exercise is actually more effective the more slowly it is performed.
Here are the steps to accomplishing this exercise (please also refer to the illustration above):
1. Stand with your feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart, feet facing forward and parallel to each other.
2. Bend your knees slightly so that you can achieve a firm yet comfortable stance. You should still be able to look down as see your feet past your knees if you are doing this correctly.
3. Tilt the pelvis forward to lengthen and flatten the spine.
4. Allow the arms to hang loosely at your sides, palms facing inward. There should be a small space (chicken egg-sized) in your armpits.
5. Relax the shoulders and let them sink downward.
6. Make the chest concave in shape and relaxed (opposite of “military stance” with the chest pushed out).
7. Imagine that you head is suspended from on high by a thread. Tilt the chin toward the chest to further lengthen the spine.
8. Close the mouth and lightly place the tip of the tongue at the upper palate where it meets the teeth.
9. Breathe through the nose. Use abdominal breathing, allowing the lower abdomen to expand with inhalation and contract with exhalation. Breath deeply at a rate that feels comfortable (the slower, the better).
10. Close your eyes or keep them only slightly open with a gaze not fixed on anything specific.
11. Take another inhalation and with the palms facing the ground, raise your arms upwards at your sides and imagine that you are pulling golden-yellow Earth Qi into your palms and into your body.
12. Continue inhaling and when your arms reach shoulder level, turn the palms upward, now gathering white light Heavenly Qi and pulling it into your palms and your body.
13. Once your hands are at their peak above your head, conclude the inhalation and turn the palms again to face the top of your head.
14. As you begin to exhale, allow the hands to float downward and direct the golden Earth and white Heavenly Qi into the top of your head.
15. As you continue to exhale, direct the Qi into all the parts of you body as your hands float downward in a continuous motion, palms facing your body or facing the ground.
16. Allow the hands to come to rest just above the knees at your sides and end the exhalation.
17. Repeat steps 1-16 2x more.
That’s it! Pretty simple once you get the hang of it. This qigong exercise can be performed by anyone, anywhere. A standing posture is preferable but it can easily be accomplished while sitting as well. Feel free to give it a try today. Until next time, dear readers, be well!
The above illustration is taken from: Volume 2 – Chinese Medical Qigong Therapy – Energetic Alchemy; Dao Yin Therapy and Qi Deviations by Jerry Alan Johnson