Qi Gong (chi kung) or energy work is a system of postures, movements, breathwork and meditations that promote health through the development, conservation and movement of vital energy. This basic posture called ‘Holding Dan Tien’ is the foundation for all other Qi Gong. It strengthens the legs, teaches proper structure and posture, creates root and ultimately opens the meridians so that energy can move freely through the body.
Start by kneeling with your right knee into the instep of the left foot to measure exactly one shin length. As you stand back up keep your right foot planted. This creates a stance that is the correct width for your body. Now with your feet parallel or slightly toed in, bend your knees just a little and push them out slightly so that they are over your toes and not pointed inwards. The legs should be rounded as if holding a large ball between your knees. Then tuck your tailbone under so as to flatten the lower back. Hold it there for a minute then let the pelvis settle back to a natural position. Don’t try to hold the pelvis tucked, just position it then let it settle back.
Next fill and lift the chest, then allow the chest to relax and settle. Hold your arms in a circular shape in front of your belly so that your hands are a fist distance from your body and the palms point at your center. This connects the dan-tien below the navel in the center of the body with the lao-gung points in the palm of the hand. Imagine you have eaten a very satisfying meal and you are patting and holding your belly, then move the arms out a little from the body. Let the shoulders relax but don’t droop. Tuck your chin and lift the back of the head, straightening the neck as if you were hanging by a thread attached to the back of the head. Let the tongue rest lightly against the roof of the mouth just behind the teeth and relax the jaw.
Let the body relax. Breathe slowly and deeply through the nose into the lower abdomen. Fill up to the middle and upper belly then on up to the chest and neck like a wave. As you let the breath out relax deeper into the stance. Don’t slouch or droop but rather sink into your bones. Feel the support that the bones provide. Soften the focus of your eyes and look within your body. Feel the ground support your feet. Let your feet spread into the ground so that the whole foot supports you. Imagine you are taking root into the ground. Feel the energy rise up from Kidney 1 point, the Bubbling Well, located in the middle and just behind the ball of the foot. Let the energy rise up the inside of the legs to the pelvis then up the spine and out the crown of the head as well as into the arms, infusing the whole body with energy. Breathe, relax, notice.
Check your position. Bend the knees, tuck and release the pelvis, raise and lower the chest, tuck the chin and raise the head, circle the arms and breathe. Gently rock and shift your weight from side to side and forward and back. Using very small movements feel how your structure changes. Feel how the body finds support and sink into the bones.
At first the legs and arms will get tired and shaky, then once your strength builds you will be able to feel the energy rise. There are many other postures and various meditations and breath patterns used to open energy gates or the circulate energy in specific ways. Start with 5 minutes a day and build slowly to 20 minutes a day.