Integration of mind and body with a relaxed spirit
Yi Jin Jing is a qigong set and like most other qigong sets it should be practiced with a relaxed spirit and peaceful mind. The mind should thus follow the movements and should be coordinated with the circulation of qi with the body’s movements. Meanwhile concentration is required to accompany individual movements.
- The mind should concentrate on the palms during the Wei Tuo Presenting the Pestle 3 routine
- The mind should be focused on the Mingmen point at the back of the waist while fixing the eyes on the upper palm during the routine 4 of Plucking a Star and Exchanging a Star Cluster.
- The mind should be focused on the palms during the Black Dragon Displaying Its Claws routine.
Other movements require imagination, not consciousness to accompany them. Among them are:
- Three Plates Falling on the Floor
- Displaying Paw Style Palms like a White Crane Spreading Its Wings
- Pulling Nine Cows by Their Tails
- Bowing Down in Salutation
- Breathing throughout the exercise should be relaxed and easy. This is particularly important when:
- lifting the hands during the Wei Tuo Presenting the Pestle 3 routine
- when expanding the arms and chest during the Pulling Nine Cows by Their Tails routine,
- and when expanding the arms and chest and relaxing the shoulders during the Nine Ghosts Drawing Swords routine.
This is because the chest cavity expands and contracts during these movements, and should be allowed to do so freely and to the full.
Free and unrestrained inhalation is particularly required when:
- lifting the hands during the Wei Tuo Presenting the Pestle 3 routine,
- and when expanding the arms and chest during the Nine Ghosts Drawing the Swords routine,
- while natural exhalation is required when relaxing the shoulders in this routine,
- when withdrawing the arms in Pulling Nine Cows by Their Tails routine,
- and when pushing out the palms in Displaying Paw-style Palms like a White Crane Spreading Its Wings routine
The reason for this is because the chest cavity expands and contracts during these movements, and should be allowed to do so freely and to the full.
Softness in toughness with the interplay of the substantial and insubstantial
“The softness and toughness of the exercise movements interchange throughout the practice. When stretched or relaxed, they display a dialectical relationship of a unity of opposites, in the same way as the reactions of Yin and Yang, the two opposing and interactive aspects of the body according to traditional Chinese medicine. Various movements require the practitioners to relax for a while after strength is applied, and suitable force is required after softness or relaxation. In this way, the movements will not be stiff and restrained or slack and fatigued.” – Chinese Health Qigong Association
Movements should be appropriately firm and gentile instead of going to extremes. Whether with too much force or with too much slackness.
Flexibility in performance and articulation of “HAI”
The range of movements and extension of postures in Yi Jin Jing are adaptable for all ages working from easier to more difficult.
When squatting and pressing the hands down during the Three Plates Falling on the Floor routine, the sound “HAI” is made. By doing this the practitioner helps move the breath and vital energy to the Dantian. It also has the advantage of avoiding restraint of the lower limbs caused by the squatting motion and upward flow of air back to the head. It also helps to strengthen the Dantian and the kidneys. The sound should be produced from the throat and concentrated at the Yinjiao point of the upper gum.
Full video teaching the Yi Jin Jing from the Chinese Health Qigong Association.
This article has been based on the information provided from the Chinese Health Qigong Association. If you would like to learn Yi Jin Jing there are a number of special qigong retreats where this is possible.