How to practice Liu Zi Jue – The six healing sounds

Practice Tips

Liu Zi Jue is a set of Qigong exercises for health and fitness. During the exercise breath work, pronunciation and movement are combined. The following provides beginners and advanced practitioners with tips for perfecting the exercise.

Adjusting the mouth forms and feeling the air flow

Mouth forms should be done correctly with particular attention given to pronunciation and air flow. Beginners should find the right mouth form and then exhale with gently making the sound.

Combining the mind with breathing and movements

Renmai
Renmai
Dumai meridian
Dumai meridian

During practice the mind should be relaxed and in tune with the movements and the accompanying prolonged breathing and pronunciation. Excessive effort in the mind and body should be avoided. Focus should be on the breath work in a way that it is combined with physical movements that assists and compliment and enhance the practice.

It helps to relax the body and calm the mind, and dredge such meridians as Renmai (or conception vessel extending along the anterior midline of the body) to improve the circulation of the blood and vital energy.

Breathing with slight control

Liu Zi Jue should be done naturally using regress breathing.

Regress breathing occurs when inhalation is done through the nose and the chest is expanded while pulling in the abdomen. On the out breath this should be reversed through the mouth, increasing upward and downward movements diaphragm. This process both massages the organs and improves the circulation of blood and vital energy. Excessive efforts should be avoided.

Coordinating breathing with slow, realised and gentle movements

During practice even, prolonged and relaxed breathing and pronunciation will achieve the best results.

Step by step for consistency

Find a quiet place to practice in peace, be consistent in your practice. An environment that relaxes and allows the mind to be at peace is essential as is confidence in the exercises health benefits.

This article is based on studies and guidance compiled by the Chinese Health Qigong Association. 

Advertisements

Learn Liu Zi Jue, the Six Healing Sounds

Introduction

Liu Zi Jue is a traditional Chinese health practice. Liu Zi Jue or Six Healing Sounds is an exercise that regulates and controls the rise and fall of Qi inside the body and related in halation and exhalation through different mouth forms.

The six healing sounds are “XU, HE, HU,SI, CHUI and XI” and their aim is the strengthening of the liver, heart, spleen, lungs, kidneys and sanjiao (the three portions of the body cavities housing the internal organs). The exercises are designed to be completed slowly, gently, with extended and graceful movements.

Practitioners of these exercises report not only that they have experienced a general improvement in their quality of life but also that they have experienced an improvement in their social relationships. With decreased family frictions ranking among the top benefits of this practice. This is likely due to the calmness brought about by the gentile breathing movements. Other medical tests have shown positive improvements and curing of hypertension, hyperlipidemia and high blood sugar.

This article is based on the work of the Chinese Health Qigong Association.

Origins and Development of Liu Zi Jue

The term Liu Zi Jue first appears in ‘Caring for the Health of the Mind and Prolonging the Life Span’, – Tao Hongjing of the Southern and Northern Dynasties (420-589).

According to Tao Hongjing a leading figure from the Maoshan School of Taoism. “One has only one way for inhalation, but six for exhalation – CHUI, HU, XI, HE, XU and SI. CHUI gets rid of heat; HU sweeps away wind; XI eliminates worries; HE promotes the circulation of energy; XU drives away cold; and SI reduces stress. Those with heart disease should practice CHUI and HU, to drive away cold and heat. Those with lung disease should practice XU, to relieve swelling. Those who have spleen trouble should practice XI, to eliminate stress. As for those who suffer from liver disease, HE will help to cure it.”

Zou Pu’an of the Song Dynasty (960-1279) in his book ‘The Supreme Knack for Health Preservations’ recommends.

“Don’t listen to anything when pronouncing the sounds. Close your mouth, lower your head after finishing, breath in fresh air from the universe slowly through the nose. Don’t listen to anything when inhaling.”

In terms of the practice it was not until the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) that body movements where introduced.

“Open the eyes wide when doing the XU Exercise for the liver. Raise the arms when doing the SI Exercise for the lungs. Stick head up and cross the hands when doing the HE Exercise for the heart. Keep the knees level when doing the CHUI Exercise for the kidneys. Thrust and round the lips when doing the HU Exercise for the spleen, and lie down when doing the XI Exercise to drive heat from Sanjiao”

There are a number of exercises which use elements of Liu Zi Jue. These include Yi Jin Jing (Tendon-Muscle Strengthening Exercises), Emei Zhuang (Emei Stake Exercises), Xing Yi Quan (12-Animal Shadow Boxing), Bagua Zhang (Eight-Diagram Palm), and Da Yan Gong (Wild Goose Exercises). For these exercises the sounds are used to aid these dynamic physical exercises.

Theory

The theoretical basis of the Liu Zi Jue is Traditional Chinese Medicine‘s (TCM) Five Elements (metal, wood, water, fire and earth), and Five Solid Viscera (heart, liver, spleen, lungs and kidneys).

Characteristic

Mouth forms required for pronunciation

Liu Zi Jue features six special mouth forms and methods of pronunciation to regulate and control the rise and fall of qi in the body and related to inhalation and exhalation.

Combining breathing and movements with cultivation of energy

Through combined use of breath work, pronunciation, and physical movement practitioners can benefit from “proper internal circulation of energy vital for the health, and those who know the ways to apply strength and the ways to relax can expect a long life’ – Ge Hong of the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420).

Dynamics infused in calmness and flowing grace

During practice pronunciation should be even and extended and the movements relaxed and slow. Regulated breathing should be even during the postures cultivating a calm and dynamic state.

Simple, reliable and effective

The six sounds are pronounced during exhalations and accompany nice movements as well as the preparatory and concluding postures. The exercise is easy to learn and practice making it practical.

Qigong for Health and Longevity

Qigong is an essential component of Traditional Chinese Medicine and a powerful system of healing. It is the art and science of using breathing techniques, gentle movements, and meditation to cleanse, strengthen, and circulate the life energy (qi). Qigong practice leads to better health and vitality and a tranquil state of mind. Qigong can also be called nei gong (inner work) and dao yin (guiding energy). The documented history of this health and longevity art qigong goes back approximately 2,500 years. However Chinese archaeologists and historians have found references to qigong-like techniques at least five thousand years old.

Qigong is an essential component of Traditional Chinese Medicine and a powerful system of healing.

medical

Because qigong includes both dynamic and gentle techniques that can be practiced from standing, seated, and supine postures, it is suitable for both the young and the old. Practices can be tailored to individual needs making it an ideal aid to recovery from illness or injury. Qigong is a form of complementary medicine working well with other forms of therapy but should not substitute for necessary treatment by a physician.

The two major areas of qigong for health and healing are Healing qigong or Yi Going and external qi healing or Wai Qi Zhi Liao

medtreat11

Qigong for health and healing involves two major areas of application:

  1. Healing Qigong (Yi Gong). Healing Qigong (sometimes translated “Medical Qigong”) is the preventive and self-healing aspect of Chinese medicine. We are all exposed to stress. Qigong teaches us how to control our reactions to stress so that life events do not cause such symptoms as high blood pressure, frustration, or anxiety. Healthy people practice qigong to become super-healthy. Healers use qigong to prevent “healer burn-out” and to maintain a positive presence.
  2. External Qi Healing (Wai Qi Zhi Liao). Qigong includes a sophisticated system of health assessment and non-contact treatment called External Qi Healing (EQH). The healer learns to tap into a well of healing energy in nature and “funnel” it through his or her body. Unlike some purely intuitive systems, EQH includes exercises that increase sensitivity to energy fields and efficacy of treatment. The more you practice External Qi Healing exercises and meditations, the more effective your healing treatment. External Qi Healing techniques may be used as a stand alone form of wellness treatment or may be combined with qigong massage, acupuncture, Therapeutic Touch, osteopathy, or any other form of body-work. Because treatment is generally performed at a distance from the body, EQH does not violate psychotherapists’ professional ethics (which do not allow touching the patient) and is thus an ideal adjunct to body-centered psychotherapy.

Active Healing Qigong Exercises

In order to get the maximum health benefits from qigong self practice, moving or active qigong is believed to be more important than sitting or still meditation. This is because moving exercises increase qi circulation in specific organs and so restore their normal functions. Active Qigong is for maintaining health and longevity and curing illnesses caused by qi imbalances. To learn more about mediation and qigong residentially retreats. 

medqigongconference

If you’re mostly interested in qigong for health and longevity, then qigong exercises derived from the Bone/ Marrow Washing Classics are typical qigong sets famous for being able to bestow strong and healthy bodies on dedicated practitioners. Qigong exercises derived from the Muscle/ Tendon Changing Classics (Yi Jin Jing) however, are said not only good for health but also have the added benefit of being able to increase the power of martial arts techniques.

It is said Da Mo imparted these works to the Shaolin priests because he believed they where not strong enough for the rigorous demands of training for enlightenment.

f64383e28e3b936924b074560f268ed8Both these books are often attributed to Da Mo the famous Indian Buddhist priest who brought Zen or Chan Buddhism to China, however it is more likely they were written and re-written by a number of different scholars and schools of thought before and after the fabled Da Mo. Nevertheless if we follow the traditional Shaolin view it is said Da Mo imparted these works to the Shaolin priests because he believed they where not strong enough for the rigorous demands of training for enlightenment. 

In truth a combination of exercises derived from the brain washing and tendon changing classic are likely to be the most beneficial depending on your purpose and existing age and health. The main four main health qigong exercises recognised and promoted by the Chinese Health Qigong Association are as follows.  

  • Muscle-Tendon Change Classic (Yì Jīn Jīng 易筋经).
  • Five Animals (Wu Qin Xi 五禽戲).
  • Six Healing Sounds (Liu Zi Jue 六字訣).
  • Eight Pieces of Brocade (Ba Duan Jin 八段錦).

In 2010, the Chinese Health Qigong Association officially recognized five additional health qigong forms:

  • Tai Chi Yang Sheng Zhang (太极养生杖): a tai chi form from the stick tradition.
  • Shi Er Duan Jin (十二段锦): seated exercises to strengthen the neck, shoulders, waist, and legs.
  • Daoyin Yang Sheng Gong Shi Er Fa (导引养生功十二法): 12 routines from Daoyin tradition of guiding and pulling qi.
  • Mawangdui Daoyin (马王堆导引术): guiding qi along the meridians with synchronous movement and awareness.
  • Da Wu (大舞): choreographed exercises to lubricate joints and guide qi.

Below is an official video from the Chinese Health Qigong Association providing an introduction to Qigong as a health exercise.

 

Learn more about mediation and qigong retreats for health and longevity.