A simple qigong exercise is introduced here that will help you increase your energy and help focus it into your dantien, the energy center at about 1 1/2 inches below your navel in the center of your body. Practice this exercise first thing in the morning. For those who are challenged with disorders, practice of this exercise can be done as many as three times a day. You can do the first six steps slowly, letting tension dissolve and drain downward from your body.
This standing posture is the basic form from which all qigong and tai chi movements begin and it is necessary to practice it regularly. (1) Standing Taoist Meditation is based on this posture, but it has several variations. Tranquility and letting go of distracting thoughts are required. The muscles of your body should neither be too tense or too relaxed. Be calm and relaxed but alert. Wear shoes if you are in a place that has a cold floor. Here are the tips on how to do it:
1. Place your feet at about shoulder-width apart, feet are parallel and pointing straight ahead. The knees are bent and the knee caps do not go past the toes. Relax the knees and the hips, allowing the hips to scoop forward a bit so that the tailbone points to the ground. When you are doing this, do not force the hips into this position, allow it to relax to a comfortable position. Let the weight of your body relax and be centered around your dantien.
2. Place your tip of your tongue on the hard palate, letting it gently rest there. This connects the Du and Ren meridians. Note your head position, using a mirror for feedback if you have no one else with you, making sure that it is not tilted to either side nor is it leaning forward or backward. Then, look straight ahead to a point that is directly in front of you and close you eyes, which will help you relax. Relax your face and neck muscles. To help relax the neck, visualize a string attached to the top of your head which is holding it up.
3. Allow the shoulders to relax downward, then relax the elbows and wrists. Keep some space open at the arm pits since this is the top of the right and left extraordinary energy channels which extend down the torso to the hips.
4. Relax the chest downward and relax the belly and the sides of your body.
5. Relax your upper and then the lower back. Relaxing the lower back is essential for helping build up energy in the lower dantien. If this is difficult, then other exercises will be suggested later that can help you work towards that goal.
6. Relax your upper thighs, knees, calves, ankles and feet all the way to your toes, allowing the energy to drain into the floor.
7. Gently contract the anus and then pull in the buttock muscles as if you need to stop a bowel movement, then relax.
8. Gently click the teeth together 36 times (36 is a magic number in Taoism) and then roll the tongue 3 times in one direction and then 3 times in the other direction. Then do a rinsing motion like you have mouthwash and do this until the saliva builds up. Then swallow and imagine it going down to your lower dantien. You can do this exercise three times.
Notes: This Taoist meditation exercise is recommended in situations that are described in Traditional Chinese Medicine as having excessive heat. It helps with digestion and boosts the immune system, and it has been recommended for patients with cancer. (2)