Bone Marrow Washing

January 28, 2018 | Author: Ojl Therapies | Category: Qigong, Qi, Chinese Martial Arts, Medicine, Wellness
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What is Bone Marrow Washing? This Qigong combines meditation with moving Qigong. It is one of the popular Qigong forms therapists like to practice for detoxifying and purifying themselves. Being able to cleanse one’s body and mind at the deepest level, this practice is well known for its efficiency to purge the stagnant Qi, dirty and sickly Qi, as well as all kinds of negative emotions. Traditionally, this Qigong is also widely practiced for building up one’s stamina and inner strength, and for promoting one’s perseverance and peak performances both physically and mentally. Health Benefits of Bone Marrow Washing Qigong

1. Stimulate and activate the adult stem cells in our bone marrow for ultimate health. 2. Gently elongate the spine and keep it flexible. Alleviate and cure many spinal problems, such as: herniated disk, stiff neck and shoulder, lower back pain, etc.

3. Help cure RSI (repeated stress injury) and TOS (thoracic Outlet Syndrome). 4. Cleanse and de-toxify oneself through purging the stagnant, dirty, and sickly Qi. 5. Get rid of one’s negative emotions. 6. Brighten up one’s spirits and help cure depression. 7. Build up one’s stamina and inner strength. 8. Improve one’s eyesight and clear one’s mind. How to Practice Bone Marrow Washing Qigong?

1. Coordinate your breath with your movements. 2. Stretch out comfortably through awareness. Reach out to the sky in a leisurely and carefree way.

3. Enjoy the sensation when you open up your body. Experience how your torso feels when it is being “expanded”

4. Whenever you move one part of your body, the whole body follows. Cultivate your center-periphery awareness.

5. Using mantras to help move your Qi.

Muscle/Tendon Changing and Brain/Marrow Washing Qigong by Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming, January 25, 2010

China has more than seven thousand years of history. The greatest contribution it can make to benefit the human race is to share the knowledge it has accumulated in the field of Qi. The study of Qi has contributed to the development of medicine, religion, martial arts, and methods for maintaining health and increasing longevity. Thousands of years of Qigong experience and experimentation have built up solid proof that this ancient medical and spiritual knowledge can help the human race. In order to be content with life, you must do more than just keep your physical body alive—you need to achieve mental and spiritual balance. The happiness comes from your feelings, not just from the enjoyment of material things. Looking at American cultural history, I see that people here have considered the material sciences more important than the spiritual. The only place most people in past decades knew of to find spiritual solace was in religious institutions. But now I see an increasing number of people who can find comfort and mental balance within themselves. Until recently, Western culture has never placed much emphasis on researching the energy field which we have within ourselves, and so this spiritual inner science has never had a chance to develop. China has been a pioneer in this field, but it is now time for the West to adopt this science: to see

what it can learn from it, and what it can contribute to it. I deeply believe that Qigong is able to help people understand themselves better, re-establish their mental balance, and gain peace of mind. I believe that the 20th century was a material century, in which all humans were searching for the solutions to material lack, and the enjoyment of material satisfaction. Now, many of us have reached a stage that allows us to be free from material bondage. In the last two decades, more and more people have been searching for spiritual freedom. During this transition period, the ancient Qigong methods seem to be more important than ever. The Muscle/Tendon Changing and Brain/Marrow Washing Qigong classics have been the crucial guidelines and textbooks for the cultivation of spiritual enlightenment in Chinese Buddhist society for centuries. The methods taught in these two classics have been practiced and experienced for more than fourteen hundred years. Therefore, we should consider how they can provide us a correct path for our study today. Though many practices are not practical for today’s society, they can offer us experience and theory, which we can then interpret through modern science for logical analysis and explanation. It is hoped that through this understanding, we can find an accessible way of reaching the same spiritual goals in today’s world. We should respect the documented experience of past practitioners, and study and practice carefully. Whenever we are able to use modern science to explain something, we should dare to challenge the traditional beliefs and re-evaluate them. Only in this way will this ancient science be recognized and accepted in the present and future.

Dr. Yang performing Qigong

Longevity Qigong for Both Men and Women I have collected, translated, and cross-referenced many published documents on Yi Jin and Xi Sui Qigong. Once I understood them, I filtered out the questionable parts and, based on my own knowledge, added some theory and commentary. Although I am able to provide an in-depth discussion of these two arts, there is one deficiency, namely that we only discuss the training for the male. There are two reasons for this. The first is that the available documents have very little information on women’s training. The second is that as a male I do not have the necessary experience. I do believe, however, that it doesn’t matter whether you are male or female, the training theory remains the same. Female readers who would like more information about these two arts written specifically for women, may refer to the book "Bone Marrow Qigong", by Mantak Chia and Maneewan Chia. Muscle/Tendon Changing (Yi Jin) and Brain/Marrow Washing (Xi Sui) Qigong have been known in China since the Liang dynasty (502 a.d. ). However, they were kept secret, and only in the last fifty years has this knowledge gradually been revealed to the general public. Within a short period of time, these two arts have not only been widely adopted by Qigong practitioners, but they have also interested many Chinese medical scientists and bioscientists.

Muscle/Tendon Changing Qigong specializes in circulating Qi in the twelve primary Qi channels and the two major Qi vessels (Conception and Governing Vessels). The training will strengthen your physical body, including muscles and tendons, and maintain the smooth circulation of Qi in the primary channels and the internal organs, which is the key to maintaining health and slowing down the degeneration of the physical body. Usually, after a practitioner becomes familiar with the Muscle/Tendon Changing Qigong, he/she will enter the deeper field of Qigong training, that of Brain/Marrow Washing. This teaches the practitioner how to fill up the Qi in the “eight extraordinary Qi vessels.” In Chinese medicine, the vessels are considered reservoirs of Qi, and they regulate the Qi in the body’s primary Qi channels and organs. A strong and abundant store of Qi is the key to keeping your body healthy and extending your life. Theoretically, your body deteriorates as you age mainly because your blood loses its ability to feed and protect your body. The red and white blood cells are produced by your bone marrow, but as you grow older, the marrow becomes “dirty,” and produces fewer and fewer useful blood cells. However, if you know how to “wash” the marrow, it will start, once again, to produce fresh, healthy blood. Your body will begin to rejuvenate itself, and restore itself to the glowing health of youth. Most important of all, the practitioner of Brain/Marrow Washing Qigong is able to lead Qi to his brain to nourish it, and to raise up his spirit. To the Daoists and Buddhists, Brain/Marrow Washing Qigong is the path to reach the final goal of enlightenment or Buddhahood. Part of Brain/Marrow Washing involves stimulating the sexual organs. In their thoroughness, the ancient Qigong practitioners discovered that, in addition to providing hormones, the genitals are also a potent source of the Qi which is necessary for the training.

The Purpose of the Yi Jin Jing Yi means “to change, to replace, or to alter,” Jin means “muscles and tendons,” and Jing means “classic or bible.” Therefore, it is commonly translated as “Muscle Changing Classic, .... Tendon Changing Classic,” or “Muscle/Tendon Changing Classic.” “Muscles and tendons” does not refer only to the literal muscles and tendons. It actually refers to all of the physical system which is related to the muscles and tendons, including the internal organs. The Yi Jin Jing describes Qigong theory and training methods which are able to improve your physical body, and change it from weak to strong. Naturally, these methods are also very effective in maintaining your physical health.

The main purpose of Yi Jin Jing training is to change the physical body from weak to strong and from sick to healthy. In order to reach this goal, the physical body must be stimulated and exercised, and the Qi in the energy body must be regulated. The main goals of the training are: 

To open up the Qi channels and maintain the appropriate level of smooth Qi circulation in the twelve primary Qi channels. This maintains the health and proper functioning of the related organs. Smooth Qi circulation also makes it possible to greatly strengthen the physical body.

To fill up the Qi in the two main Qi reservoirs—the Conception and Governing Vessels (Ren Mai and Du Mai, ). The Conception Vessel is responsible for regulating the six Yin channels, while the Governing Vessel governs the six Yang channels. When an abundant supply of Qi is stored in these two vessels, the twelve primary channels can be regulated effectively.

To open the small Qi branches from the primary channels to the surface of the skin and maintain healthy conditions for the muscles and skin.

For those who also wish to train Xi Sui Jing and reach a higher level, Yi Jin Jing is the fundamental training to build up the necessary level of Qi.

Meridians and Acupuncture Points

The Purpose of the Xi Sui Jing Xi means “to wash” or “to clean.” Sui includes Gu Sui , which means “bone marrow,” and Nao Sui , which refers to the brain—including cerebrum, cerebellum, and medulla oblongata. Jing () means “classic or bible.” This work is commonly translated “Marrow Washing Classic,” but “Brain/Marrow Washing Classic” is a more accurate translation. The first translation probably became popular because of a misunderstanding of the scope of the work, which had been kept secret for a long period of time. Also, the goal of “brain washing” is enlightenment or Buddhahood, which, in addition to being difficult to understand, is less interesting to laymen. It was not until recently, when many of the secret documents were made available to the general public, that a clearer and

more complete picture of the training emerged. A correct translation shows that Xi Sui Jing training deals with the bone marrow and the brain. However, the training does not actually focus on the physical matter of the bone marrow and the brain. Instead, it emphasizes how you should take care of the Qi part of your body, and how to lead the Qi to the bone marrow and brain to nourish them and keep them functioning at an optimal level. The main purposes of Xi Sui Jing training are to use the abundant Qi generated from Yi Jin Jing training to wash the marrow, to nourish the brain, and to fill up the Qi in the other six vessels. The main goals of the training are: 

To keep the Qi at an abundant level and continue to build up the Qi to a higher level from other sources. An abundant Qi supply is the key to successful marrow washing and nourishing of the brain for raising the spirit. Experience has shown that the genitals can be an important source of extra Qi. Therefore, one of the main goals of Xi Sui Jing training is learning how to increase the production of sexual hormones and improving the efficiency of its conversion into Qi.

In order to keep an abundant supply of Qi, the Jing (Original Essence/hormones) must be conserved, protected, and firmed. Therefore, the second purpose of Xi Sui Jing is to regulate the usage of Original Essence.

Learning how to lead Qi to the marrow to keep the marrow fresh, and to lead Qi to the brain to raise up the spirit of vitality. Marrow is the factory which produces your red and white blood cells; when the marrow is fresh and clean the blood will be healthy. As this blood flows to every part of your body, it will slow down the degeneration of your cells. Practicing Xi Sui Jing can therefore slow down the aging process. When the brain has plenty of Qi to nourish it, you are able to maintain the normal functioning of your brain and also raise up the spirit of vitality. When the spirit is raised, the Qi in the body can be governed effectively.

For a sincere Buddhist or Daoist monk, the final goal of Xi Sui Jing is reaching enlightenment or Buddhahood. For them, the training purposes listed above are considered temporary. They are only steps in the process of building up their “spiritual baby” (Ling Tai) and nurturing it until it is independent and has eternal life.

From this brief summary, it is clear that the Yi Jin Jing and Xi Sui Jing can change both your physical and spiritual qualities and lead you to a higher level of physical and spiritual life. But to understand exactly how these two Qigong exercises help you to reach these goals, you must have

a profound understanding of the relationship between your Qi, your physical body, and your spiritual body. Only then will you be able to grasp the keys of the training. During more than 7000 years of culture, China has brought forth many brilliant accomplishments. Qigong is only one of them. In all of human history, there has never been such open communication among different cultures as is happening in our time. It is our responsibility to encourage the general public to accept, study, and research other cultures. In this way, the human race will be able to use the good parts of other cultures to live in a more peaceful and meaningful way. To learn more about Yi Yin Jing and Xi Sui Jing, read " and "" This topic is discussed in-depth in the book "Qigong-The Secret of Youth". Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming, is a renowned author and teacher of Chinese martial arts and Qigong. Born in Taiwan, he has trained and taught Taijiquan, Qigong and Chinese martial arts for over forty-five years. He is the author of over thirty books, and was elected by Inside Kung Fu magazine as one of the 10 people who has "made the greatest impact on martial arts in the past 100 years." Dr. Yang lives in Northern California.

History of Qigong: Bone Marrow Cleansing by Sifu Anthony Korahais on September 27, 2012 in Blog

When the great Bodidharma arrived at the Shaolin Temple in the 6th Century AD, he taught 3 sets of Qigong exercises to the monks: 1) The 18 Luohan Hands 2) The Classic of Sinew Metamorphosis 3) The Classic of Bone Marrow Cleansing

History and Translation This article will discuss the history, philosophy, and practice of the Classic of Bone Marrow Cleansing. Click on the links above for information about the other two sets. In romanized Chinese, the Classic of Bone Marrow Cleansing is written Xi Sui Jing (洗 髓经), which is pronounced as follows:   

Xi (like the word “she”) Sui (like the word “sway” ) Jing (rhymes with “ring”) Unlike the other two Qigong sets that Bodhidharma taught, there are no written records of the techniques for Bone Marrow Cleansing. Some people think this means that the art has been lost. But the art was not lost. Or if it was, it has been found. My teacher is an idealist, and for decades has been trying to recreate the legacy of Bodhidharma. While researching the subject extensively, he had an epiphany. What if the reason there are no drawings or descriptions of Bone Marrow Cleansing in the classics is because the art is formless? We’ve seen this phenomenon before. Many classics mention Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow, but it is never described or pictured. For those who know it, the reason is clear — there’s nothing to draw. And the description is already imbedded in the name! If we apply the same theory to Bone Marrow Cleansing, then it all makes sense! The art that Bodhidharma taught was more of a skill than a technique. But what was that skill?

The Five Levels Qigong masters have long known that Qi flows at five different levels: 1. The Skin When you perform Lifting the Sky, you may feel like there are tiny insects crawling on your skin. This is the Qi flowing at the skin level. 2. The Flesh As the Qi goes deeper, it flows along the flesh and the muscles. The Shaolin art calledGolden Bridge has this effect, making your arms solid and powerful like iron. Although you may or may not feel the energy in your muscles, your sparring partner certainly will. Years ago, my classmates nicknamed me “Iron Arms” because I practiced

a lot of Golden Bridge. They said that my arms felt like iron when we sparred. My Qi was at the muscle level. 3. The Meridians Then the Qi flows through the 12 Primary and 8 Extraordinary Meridians. These meridians, which are invisible, form a complex energy network through the body. The Small Universe Circulation and Big Universe Circulation bring Qi to this level. 4. The Organs From the meridians, the Qi flows into the internal organs. Certain exercises from the 18 Luohan Hands, like Separating Water and Nourishing Kidneys, bring Qi to the organs. 5. The Bones and the Marrow And finally, the Qi flows to the deepest level — the bones and marrow (which also includes the nerves, according to Chinese medical theory). The exercise Turning Head has this effect when practiced at an advanced level.

Bodhidharma’s Marrow Records show that Bodhidharma also talked about 5 levels of attainment. He told some of his disciples that they had attained the “skin” of his teaching, and others that they had attained the “flesh”. Only to Hei Ke, his best disciple, did Bodhidharma say, “you have attained the marrow.” Is it a coincidence that Bodhidharma’s five levels of attainment correspond exactly to the five levels of Qi flow? Bodhidharma was a powerful Qigong master as well as a Zen master. It makes perfect sense that he was able to perceive the Qi flowing at the five levels levels.

Skills vs. Techniques

To understand Bone Marrow Cleansing, you have to understand the difference between skills and techniques. Lifting the Sky is a technique. But using

this technique to send Qi to the skin is a skill. The same technique can be used to generate a spontaneous flow of Qi through the body. Different skills; same technique. This explains why Bone Marrow Cleansing was thought to be lost — because most people can’t differentiate between skills and techniques. If I tell the average person that I can use Carrying the Moon to induce a spontaneous energy flow, or cleanse my organs, or create an internal shower of cosmic energy, they won’t understand. How can the same technique do 3 different things? It’s not the technique. In fact, I can do the same things using Lifting the Sky instead. But I prefer to use Carrying the Moon because it facilitates the skill. In other words, certain techniques make the skill more accessible. Maybe an analogy will help. Kicking a soccer ball in a certain way is a technique. But scoring a goal requires skill. Maybe you have a favorite technique for scoring a goal, but if you are skillful, you can use also use other kicks. You can use also use your favorite kick to pass the ball to a teammate, or even to play another game, like Rugby.

Bone Marrow Cleansing To direct chi to the different levels, we use selections from the 18 Luohan Hands. Why not use Sinew Metamorphosis? If you are skillful, then you can. In fact, if you are very skillful, you need not use any techniques; you can just go straight to the skill. But certain exercises from the 18 Luohan Hands are better, especially for students. We’ll use the following techniques: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

The The The The The

Skin Level – Lifting the Sky Muscle Level – Lifting the Sky Meridian Level – Pushing Mountains Organ Level – Carrying the Moon Bone Marrow Level – Turning Head

Actually, we can use other techniques too. For example, depending on which organ we want to direct the Qi to, we might choose Separating Water, Nourishing Kidneys, orPlucking Stars. Or we can use Carrying the Moon. It depends on our skill level. How do you direct the Qi? Easy. Learn from a master. When you learn face-tofacefrom a master, these skills are not just demonstrated, they are transmitted. Even if I described the steps in detail, it wouldn’t do you any good unless you already have the skill. And if you already have the skill, then you don’t need my description.

Also, it’s unwise to start sending Qi around the body unless you’ve spend a lot of time withFlowing Breeze Swaying Willow. Actually, one reason my students are able to grasp Bone Marrow Cleansing so easily is because they’ve spent years letting their Qi flow freely. By doing this, they clear a ton of energy blockages. They also learn to go deeper into the Zen mind, which is critical for success with arts like Bone Marrow Cleansing.

Bai Hui

Bai Hui (百会) is an important energy point located at the top of the head. In Chinese, the word Bai (sounds like “bye”) means “hundred”, and Hui (rhymes with “way”) means “meetings”. In Chinese classics, they often use the number 100 to signify “many”. So this point is the meeting place of many meridians — specifically the 6 yang meridians. Interestingly, it’s also a convergence of the cranial faults. Before doing Bone Marrow Cleansing, remember to open Bai Hui using your Zen mind. It is located at the intersection of a line drawn up from the nose, and a line drawn from ear to ear. Don’t worry about getting the exact spot. If you’ve been practicing regularly for some time, you should be able to feel this point pulsing with energy. This is another reason students shouldn’t rush to practice Bone Marrow Cleansing. If you have no idea what I’m talking about when I say, “open Bai Hui with your mind,” then you aren’t ready for this art. Go back to basics, like Lifting the Sky and Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow.

Benefits of Bone Marrow Cleansing Why practice Bone Marrow Cleansing? It’s a good question. Since students get such good results with the basics, why would they need more advanced techniques like this. Using Bone Marrow Cleansing is a thematic approach to Qigong, as opposed to Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow, which is holistic. In other words, Bone Marrow Cleansing moves

the Qi according to certain areas, whereas Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow moves the Qi wherever it needs to go. Of the two, the holistic approach is much, much more important. This is ironic because most Qigong schools focus on the thematic approach. If you understand Chinese medical theory, then you know that it’s insufficient to simply direct Qi to an area that hurts. The root of the problem may be in a totally different area. For my students, the thematic approach is a useful compliment to the holistic approach. It helps to “force” the Qi to areas where it is not yet flowing freely. If you’re going to use only one approach, then definitely use the holistic one. But if you have the opportunity to use both, then they compliment each other nicely. For example, let’s say that you’ve been practicing the 18 Luohan Hands and Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow for 2 years. You’ve gotten great results in many areas, but you still have some lingering health problems. After seeing a master diagnostician like my wife, you find out that the root of the problem is in the Liver Meridian. In this case, it makes sense to use the 4th Level of Bone Marrow Cleansing to direct Qi to the Liver. But how often? This is a good questin.

Practicing Bone Marrow Cleansing Don’t practice these techniques too often. They are more powerful than you think. You should treat them as if they are an acupuncture session — something that you get 1-3 times per week. The rest of the time, you should be doing other exercises, like the 18 Luohan Hands, Sinew Metamorphosis, and of course Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow or the Five Animal Play. In other words, keep your practice varied, but also balanced. I’m grateful that my teacher revived The Classic of Bone Marrow Cleansing. Whether or not the art is exactly what Bodhidharma taught doesn’t really matter. What matters is that it is useful. And it is. Students practicing this art are able to improve upon already amazing results, making Flowing Zen even more powerful medicine than it already was. It’s another tool in our already well-stocked tool box. Drop me a comment below if you have something to say. (Really, it’s that easy.) Or if you haven’t already gotten your free ebooks and free lesson, then make sure to grab them here.

History of Qigong: Sinew Metamorphosis by Sifu Anthony Korahais on September 5, 2012 in Blog

When the great Bodidharma arrived at the Shaolin Temple in the 6th Centuray AD, he taught 3 sets of Qigong exercises to the monks: 1) The 18 Luohan Hands 2) The Classic of Sinew Metamorphosis 3) The Classic of Bone Marrow Cleansing

History and Translation This article will discuss the history, philosophy, and practice of The Classic of Sinew Metamorphosis. Click on the links above for information about the other two sets. In romanized Chinese, The Classic of Sinew Metamorphosis is written Yi Jin Jing (易筋 經), which is pronounced as follows:   

ee (rhymes with “see”) gin (rhymes with “pin”) jing (rhymes with “sing”) Yi Jin Jing is sometimes translated as The Tendon Changing Classic. Grandmaster Wong and I both prefer the translation Classic of Sinew Metamorphosis, or simply Sinew Metamorphosis. In the Tai Chi and Qigong community, the term Yi Jin Jing is also widely used, even in the U.S. Actually, the word jin refers not only to the sinews, but also the bones. This is a good example of how tricky it can be to interpret classical Chinese. When writing, scholars

would often leave out words that would be obvious to other scholars. For example, the scholar who translated the Heart Sutra in the 6th Century, Xuan Zhang, abbreviated many Buddhist terms because he knew that the they were understood by other scholars. (To see what he left out, click here.) In Bodhidharma’s time, scholars would understand that jin refers to jingu. (Unfortunately, not all modern scholars still know this.) So Yi Jin Jing is an abbreviation of Yi Jin-Gu Jing, or The Classic of Sinew and Bone Metamorphosis. But it gets even more confusing! Jin-gu means more than just sinews and bones. In Chinese medicine, jin is related to the muscles, and is closely connected with the Gall Bladder Meridian. Gu refers to Internal Force, which is the internal power that manifests when you develop an abundance of Qi, especially through Tai Chi Chuan and Shaolin Kung Fu practice. Inside the gu is the sui (sounds like “sway”), which is literally translated as “marrow”. But in Chinese medical theory, sui is more than just the bone marrow. It also refers to the nervous system. In other words, training gu also trains sui, which benefits the nervous system.

The Benefits of Sinew Metamorphosis Thus, Sinew Metamorphosis is not just a set of calisthenics to develop tendons, muscles, and bones (which is how some people view it). It is a set of powerful Qigong techniques that bring a wide range of benefits:      

It It It It It It

nurtures the tendons, muscles, and bones. develops fast reflexes. develops courage and righteousness develops Internal Force clears deep-rooted emotional blockages. is wonderful for spiritual cultivation.

Interestingly, when a Chinese person says gu qi (literally “bone energy”), he means “integrity and righteousness.” And when he says da dan (literally “big gallbladder”), he means “courage.” So we can see how Qigong and Chinese medicine have influence the Chinese language over centuries. The spiritual side of Sinew Metamorphosis is simply amazing. In Zen terms, it helps you to see your Original Face. What is your Original Face? It’s your face before you were born, before the stars were born, before the galaxy was born. In other words, when you

see your Original Face, you catch a glimpse of timeless, cosmic reality. I will say that this is one of the most beautiful and indescribable experiences I’ve ever had.

Hard Qigong? The 12 postures of Sinew Metamorphosis involve subtle, internal contractions. This is why they are sometimes classified as “Hard Qigong”. It’s true that these techniques involve slightly more tension than other techniques, but “hard” isn’t quite the right word. If your contractions are too hard, you’ll miss the essence. On the other hand, if they’re too soft, you’ll also miss it. In most of the postures, there is hardly any visible movement at all. To a casual observer, it might look like the technique is static. Those who haven’t spent time with the basics like the 18 Luohan Hands and Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow simply won’t be able to appreciate Sinew Metamorphosis. It’s too subtle, and too advanced. Even if you mimic the postures perfectly, it won’t work, just like mimicking a perfect lotus position won’t automatically make you a meditation master. You need real skill to appreciate Sinew Metamorphosis.

How Does it Work? For those with skill, Sinew Metamorphosis is surprisingly powerful. For me, even after years of practicing these techniques, I still get a kick out of how powerful they are. With hardly any movement, and with just a dozen repetitions, suddenly there’s a ton of energy surging through my body. Cool! How does it work? I can only speculate. My best guess is that the subtle contractions stimulate the energy meridians in the body, as if plucking a string on a guitar. Because the string has some tension in it, when you pluck it, the string resonates. It’s not a perfect analogy, but it’s probably the best we can do to explain what’s happening with Sinew Metamorphosis.

How to Practice It goes without saying that you can’t learn Sinew Metamorphosis from a book or a video. It must be learned face-to-face. If have read about Sinew Metamorphosis in my teacher’s books (or other books), and you are baffled, it’s because you haven’t learned the techniques in person. Once you do, you’ll be amazed.

Because these techniques are very powerful, we have to shorten the practice routine. Think of them like that super-concentrated laundry detergent which requires a smaller amount. Duration: 10-12 minutes. Frequency: Once weekly (beginners), or alternating days (intermediate). 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Opening Sequence (1 min) Choose 1 technique x12 repetitions (1 min) Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow or Five Animal Play (5-7 mins) Stillness (2 mins) Closing Sequence (1 min)

Remember to breathe spontaneously through the 12 repetitions, but then add a relaxed exhalation through the mouth at the end of the repetitions. This exhalation activates the energy flow. If you are new to Sinew Metamorphosis, don’t practice it every day. Do it once or twice a a week for starters. If you enjoy it (like many people do), then gradually work up to every other day. After a few months of that, you can try doing it every day.

The 12 Postures Historical records give descriptions, but no names for the postures. For years, my teacher used names like “Flicking Fingers” and “Stretching Palms”, which are not very poetic. A few years ago, he created his own names in the classical Chinese style. Personally, I think they are great.

1. Golden Dragon Taps on Earth

2. Sacred Tree Grows Branches

3. Gold Hidden in Fists

4. Immortal Ties Belt

5. Immortal Reaching for Heaven

6. Luohan Emerging from Water

7. Lohan Playing with Bamboo

8. Immortal Clears Eyes

9. White Crane Carries Heaven

10. Black Bear Grips Paws

11. Lohan Offers Blessings

12. Double Holding Sun & Moon

History of Qigong: The 18 Luohan Hands by Sifu Anthony Korahais on September 26, 2012 in Blog

When the great Bodidharma arrived at the Shaolin Temple in the 6th Centuray AD, he taught 3 sets of Qigong exercises to the monks: 1) The 18 Luohan Hands 2) The Classic of Sinew Metamorphosis 3) The Classic of Bone Marrow Cleansing

History and Translation This article will discuss the history, philosophy, and practice of The 18 Luohan Hands. Click on the links above for information about the other two sets. In romanized Chinese, the 18 Luohan Hands is written Shiba Luohan Shou (十八羅漢 手), which is pronounced as follows:     

Shi (like the word “ship” but without the “p”) Ba (rhymes with “La”, ) Luo (rhymes with “claw”) Han (rhymes with “con”) Shou (sounds like “show”) Who are these 18 Luohans, and why are we interested in their hands? The word Luohancomes from the Sanskrit word Arhat. Both words refer to a person who has cultivated a high level of spirituality, somewhat like a Christian Saint. After the Buddha passed away roughly 2500 years ago, 500 of his top disciples gathered together in a grand council. Together, they reviewed and discussed his teachings word by word. These disciples became known as the 500 Arhats. When Buddhism spread from India to China, there were some cultural adjustments. For example, the Chinese paid special homage to 18 of the 500 Arhats. Statues of these 18 Luohan are often found in Buddhist temples today. When Bodhidharma taught at the Shaolin Temple (roughly 1000 years after the passing of the Buddha), he chose to pay homage to these 18 Luohan, perhaps in an effort to reach across the cultural divide. So he named a set of Qigong techniques after them.

(As an aside, I feel that my teacher did something similar by not only writing his books in English, but by translating these arts into Western culture.) The word Shou means “hands”, but refers to the 18 techniques. So a figurative translation would be the 18 Techniques of the Enlightened Ones. Over time, the 18 Luohan Hands evolved into the 18 Luohan Fists. Here, “fists” also refers to the techniques, but implies that they are not just for health. In other words, it was a form of Kung Fu. This was the birth of Shaolin Kung Fu, a martial art that would becomelegendary.

Internal and External The 18 Luohan Hands are the fundamental Qigong exercises that I teach. The first exercise, Lifting The Sky, is the very first exercise I teach to new students. (Click on that link if you want to start learning it.) Over the years, I’ve used selections from the 18 Luohan Hands to help my students do some powerful healing. If you practice these exercises on a physical level (which is the norm today), then you won’t get the same results that my students get. If you’ve read my free eBook, then you know that the visible form is the least important aspect in Qigong. It’s what happens on the inside that matters most (and that kind of thing really needs to be learned face-toface). The secrets lie not in the visible form, but in the internal dimensions of energy and mind. All over the world, students practice the visible form correctly, often for years, but the don’t get the results they deserve because they don’t understand this important point. Don’t be one of them. If you want to learn these techniques, it’s okay to start with a book, but do yourself a favor and find a teacher as soon as you can.

The Benefits of Luohan Qigong In theory, the benefits of The 18 Luohan Hands are limitless. Most of my students spend most of their time practicing these techniques. So most of their results also come from these techniques. This is why we say that The 18 Luohan Hands can heal “1000” diseases. I’m not sure if we’ve healed 1000 different diseases yet, but in Chinese medical theory, each person is unique, so in that sense, we definitely have! Here are some general benefits of this type of Qigong: 

Open the energy meridians.

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Get the energy flowing. Heal 1000 diseases Loosen the joins. Loosen the muscles. Relax the nervous system. Flowing meditation. To heal “1000” diseases, you need to know the secrets of the 15-Minute Routine, includingFlowing Breeze Swaying Willow.

The 8 Pieces of Brocade Yue Fei, a famous Shaolin master in the 12 Century AD, is famous for “inventing” a Qigong set called The 8 Pieces of Brocade (八段錦氣功, Ba Duan Jin Qigong). This is one of the most widely practiced Qigong sets in the world. Although practiced as a separate set, these 8 exercises correspond to the first 8 exercises in the 18 Luohan Hands.

There are countless versions and interpretations of the 18 Luohan Hands. Because my teacher is an idealist, he worked hard researching classical texts in order to recreate the most traditional version. The set that I inherited from him is probably as close as we’ll ever get to the original without traveling back in time. But whether or not the set is the same as the original is not as important. What matters is this: It works. The exercises that I teach in my school are amazingly effective. It’s possible that they’re even more effective that the ones that Bodhidharma taught. After all, they’ve had 1500 years to perfect them. Where did Bodhidharma get these exercises? It’s impossible to say, but a good guess is that he was originally taught some form of Yoga in India. Legend says that Bodhidharma meditated in the cave near the Shaolin Temple for 9 years. It’s possible that, in his deep meditation, Bodhidharma modified the techniques he had learned as a prince into the three sets of techniques. In that sense, he may have plucked the exercises from the cosmos.

Does that sound woo woo to you? I admit that, 20 years ago, it might have sounded pretty weird to me too. But now I realize that all great art happens in a deep state of meditation and is essentially plucked from the cosmos. Mozart said that his music flowed to him from God. Da Vinci went into a deep state of meditation before creating his great works. When you look carefully at artists throughout history (and across all cultures), you find one thing in common — they all tapped into the power of meditation. Wherever these exercises came from, they are a godsend. They have changed my life, and the lives of my students. If I had to teach only one set of exercises for the rest of my life, it would be an easy choice: The 18 Lohan Hands.

The 18 Exercises I’ve chosen to use old pictures of my Sifu from the 1980 for two reasons. One, because I think they look cool, almost like ancient drawings. And two, because if you’re trying to learn the patterns from the pictures, you’re going to have a very hard time. And that’s a good thing. Let it be a reminder that the visible form is the least important aspect, and that it’s important to learn face-to-face from a teacher.

1. Lifting the Sky

雙手托天 shuang shou tuo tian Both Hands Lift Sky Useful for: postural problems, back pain, neck pain, hemorrhoids, incontinence, stress relief.

This pattern is arguably the best single Qigong pattern in the world. Its forte is that it promotes a holistic Qi flow throughout the body. The exercise works on the Triple Warmer Meridian (San Jiao Mai) and thus harmonizes the upper, middle, and lower energies.

2. Shooting Arrows 左右開弓 zuo you kai gong Shoot Arrows Left Right Useful for: skin problems, respiratory issues, excessive or inadequate grieving, high blood pressure (hypertension), depression, self confidence issues, memory issues. This exercise uses the One Finger Zen hand form, which is a special Shaolin technique that must be learned from a master. Practicing Shooting Arrows is an excellent way to massage the Lung and Heart Meridians.

3. Plucking Stars 摘星換斗 zhai xing huan dou Pluck Stars Change Galaxies Useful for: indigestion, acid reflux, diarrhea, constipation,diabetes, liver and gallbladder problems, Crohn’s disease, and diverticulosis, tennis elbow, Endometriosis, yeast infections, dysmenorrhea, vaginitis, and ovarian cysts. This exercise nourishes the Spleen and Stomach Meridians, which relate to the Western concept of the digestive system. According to Chinese medical theory, good digestion is a prime ingredient for good health and vitality. This exercise can help with virtually any digestive or gastrointestinal problem. It also opens up the 8 Extraordinary Meridians along the sides of the body, which are important energy reservoirs.

4. Turning Head

轆轤旋轉 lu lu xuan zhuan Rotating Winch Useful for: tension in their neck and shoulders, headaches, migraines, neuralgia, thyroid issues, Parkinson’s disease, stroke recovery, preventing colds and flus. This exercise isn’t just for loosening your neck. Energetically, Turning Head is used to powerfully cleanse the Chinese concept of the Sea of Marrow, which loosely translates to the head, spine, and nervous system. The exercise brings energy to the entire spine, the brain, as well as the throat, ears, and eyes.

5. Merry-Go-Round 大轉乾坤 da zhuan qian kun Big Turning of the Cosmos Useful for: anxiety, acid reflux, diarrhea, constipation,diabetes, liver and gallbladder problems, Crohn’s disease, diverticulosis, back pain, tinnitus, rheumatism, indigestion. This exercise stimulates Water energy at the vital point known as the “gate of life” (mingmen) thereby giving an energy boost that is far superior to coffee. This exercise is a great pick-me-up. It is also nourishing for the Stomach, Liver, Spleen, and Kidney Meridians.

6. Punching with Eyes Wide 怒目衝拳 nu mu chong quan Punch with Eyes Wide Useful for: excess or insufficient anger, hemorrhoids, myopia and other eye problems, liver disease, stress relief, lack of self confidence. This pattern helps to develop powerful punches for martial artists. But the power comes from the Qi, not from the muscles. If the muscles are tensed, then the Qi has trouble flowing to the end of the punch. Besides developing internal force for martial arts, this exercise massages and strengthens the Heart and Small Intestine Meridians. In order to obtain the benefits listed above, it’s critical to make the appropriate sounds and use correct breathing, both of which should be learned face-to-face from a master.

7. Carrying the Moon 回頭抱月 hui tou bao yue Look Back Carry Moon Useful for: back pain, neck pain, emotional cleansing, herniated discs, bulging discs, neuralgia, sciatica, Parkinson’s disease, stroke recovery, scoliosis, youthfulness. Students love this exercise because it makes them look and feel young. It cleanses away negative energy in the body, especially the nervous system, by stimulating an internal shower of energy. According to a Chinese proverb, you need not worry about getting old as long as your spine stays healthy and erect. This exercise is a great way to do that.

8. Nourishing Kidneys

攀足固腰 pan zu gu yao Touch Toes Nourish Kidneys Useful for: sexual dysfunction, memory problems, sciatica, low back pain, incontinence, phobias, fertility, impotence, low libido, self discipline. A Western doctor will tell you that your kidneys have nothing to do with sex. A Chinese physician will tell you that your kidneys have everything to do with sex. This exercise, as the name implies, powerfully nourishes the Kidney Meridian.

9. Three Levels to Ground 三盆落地 san pan luo di Three Levels Down Ground Useful for: knee pain, palpitations, cardiovascular health, hypertension, flexibility, strength, weight loss. On a physical level, Three Levels to Ground will make your legs strong and flexible. As a Qigong exercise, it can strengthen your Heart system, generate better energy flow, and increase your vitality. It’s also useful for opening the Small Universe Circulation. (Note: if you have serious heart problems, then don’t try this on your own. You must learn it face-to-face from a master.)

10. Dancing Crane 仙鶴起舞 xian he qi wu Divine Crane Begins Dancing Useful for: knee pain, kidney stones, strength, flexibility, longevity, weight loss. This exercise helps to channel energy down the legs. Because everything is interconnected via our energy matrix, channeling energy to the legs sometimes helps to solve problems in other parts of the body. Of course, this exercises also helps build strength and flexibility.

11. Carrying Mountains 二郎擔山 er lang dan shan Second Son Carries Mountains Useful for: back pain, neurological disorders, bulging discs, herniated discs. This exercise opens up the spine energetically (but in a different way than Carrying the Moon). It also channels energy down the arms, which is useful for martial artists.

12. Drawing Sword 羅漢發刀 luo han fa dao Luohan Draws Saber Useful for: neck and shoulder problems, headaches, migraines, tennis elbow. The The Eight Wondrous Meridians (Qi Jing Ba Mai) are often mentioned in Qigong texts, but seldom understood. Drawing Sword is an effective way to generate energy flow to these eight meridians.

13. Pushing Mountains 猛虎推山 meng hu tui shan Fierce Tiger Pushes Mountains

Useful for: arthritis, tendonitis, impotence, low back pain, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, grief, memory problems. This is one of the best exercises for channeling Qi to the hands. Because of this, it’s part of the method for an advanced Kung Fu art called Cosmos Palm. In combination with other exercises, it’s also excellent for stimulating the Five Animal Play.

14. Separating Water 青龍分水 qing long fen shui Green Dragon Separates Water Useful for: depression, anxiety, COPD, lung disorders, excessive or insufficient grieving, fibrocystic breast disease, general breast health, self confidence issues. This is an excellent exercise to open and nourish the Heart and the Lung systems. It is especially useful to cure clinical Depression. Interestingly, it will also give you powerful arms for martial arts.

15. Presenting Claws 青龍現爪 qing long xian xhua Green Dragon Presents Claws Useful for: kidney stones, diabetes, anxiety, arthritis, This exercise channels energy to the Spleen, Pancreas, and Kidney Meridians, as well as all ten fingers (and the Meridians associated with them). It is also used to develop the Art of the Dragon Claw in Shaolin Kung Fu, which is a compassionate way to disable an opponent without doing serious damage.

16. Big Windmill 大風車手 da feng che shou Big Windmill Hand Useful for: diabetes, arthritis, tendonitis, tennis elbow, shoulder pain.

Do you want to break a brick with your palm? This exercise, when done correctly, will give you the internal power to do that, without any other conditioning. Those problems related to the Liver and Spleen Meridians will also find this exercise useful.

17. Lifting Heels 提踭彎膝 qi zheng wan zuo Lift Heels Bend Knees Useful for: arthritis, knee pain, edema, varicose veins, sacroiliac pain, long leg disorder. This is another excellent exercise for the lower body. It opens up the meridians in the legs so that negative energy from other parts of the body can be efficiently drained out into the ground. It’s also useful for opening the Small Universe Circulation.

18. Rotating Knees 仙鶴轉膝 xian he zhuan xi Divine Crane Rotates Knees Useful for: knee pain, sexual dysfunction, edema, varicose veins, incontinence, impotence. You may be surprised, but Rotating Knees can help to overcome sexual problems, and it can enhance sexual performance and enjoyment. Like Lifting Heels, it also helps to drain negative energy down the legs. Since this energy often gets stuck in the knees, this exercise is extremely useful.

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