First you have to conceive that the body has its main energy centres situated in the midline, starting from the perineal region ( area immediately in front of the anus ) and ending on the highest point of your head. Many of you may be familiar with the pictures of these energy centres, more popularly known as chakras. There are many other subsidiary energy centres all over the body, but as a beginner you need to know only the main centre which is about 3 finger-breadths below your umbilicus, and the subsidiary ones at the centre of your palms. They have different names according to the Chinese, Indian and Sufi traditions. From these energy centres, energy channels or meridians traverse the body feeding all the organ systems.
The energy we are referring to is qi, or life force ( also called prana, ki, tenaga hayat, latifa, etc.) , that is the energy that initiates and sustains life, and is therefore vital for health and healing. It is different from the energy required for physical work which we acquire from food ( measured in calories ). Qi has not yet been understood by science, and therefore has no scientific calibration!
Imagine qi as brilliant white light. Thus the energy centres will appear to you like extremely bright light globes. They are actually spinning in the chakras, with each spinning in the opposite direction from the ones nearby. They also have different colours, as qi itself has different forms. But for now you only need to imagine them as brilliant white light.
Now imagine that this brilliant light disperses like electricity from the chakras across all the meridians or “wires” to your entire body. If you look at the diagram of chakras and meridians first, it will help you a lot.
Now you are ready for some simple exercises to train your mind to direct the qi to follow your commands.
THE ONE FINGER EXERCISE
First, find a place where you will not be disturbed. You can do this while sitting or standing comfortably. If you already know the basic qigong stance, it is even better. Have your right index finger about 30-40cm in front of you, at eye level. Make sure it is not tensed up, but relaxed ( with the other fingers also lightly closed in a fist ). In the actual qigong exercise, the back of the hand should be facing you, with the thumb also extended, and the other fingers only half-clenched.
From the main energy centre below your umbilicus ( Dan tien ), bring the brilliant light-energy upwards towards your chest and then across the shoulder into your arms and finally focus it in your index finger. Breathe comfortably ( if you know, then do relaxed abdominal breathing ). Concentrate on this task until you feel the finger getting tensed up ( together with the fist and finally even the whole arm ). You may feel nothing in your first few attempts, but if you are able to visualize the energy clearly, you will start feeling something.
This is also a good way to understand the concept of creative visualization. If you have no idea of qi and chakras before, your imagination or visualization of the energy will manifest in actual physical movements.
If you are already experienced at directing qi, you will actually feel the qi coming up both in front ( the chest ) and behind ( the back ). Your abdomen and back may tense up and your body may writhe before the arm, the fist and finally the finger become tensed up with qi. Your whole arm will then vibrate when it is fully charged with qi.
Practise this as often as possible as it is the simplest exercise to connect with your qi, and to learn to direct and command your qi to do greater things, be it for healing yourself, healing others, or for self-defence. If you practise enough, then one day you may even be able to do one-finger push-ups. This is also one of the exercises that those who want to excel in the Secret Treasures Qigong ( for male sexual prowess ) must do a lot. They have to acquire expertise in directing their qi to the finger before they can do so to their appendage! Sexual energy is indeed another form of qi.
Qi can also be used to do fantastic stunts like becoming invincible against weapons or creating fire, but I do not encourage such practice as they would deplete you of qi and cause ill-health and even early death. Such powers can however be summoned in times of emergency like when you are attacked.
Those of you who watched the movie “Fearless” will remember how the hero was poisoned during his last martial art combat but knew that he could not save himself from the poisoning because he had already used too much of his mu power ( that form of qi required for healing ) to recover from all the beatings during his fight against his formidable Japanese opponent ( who was also using ki power ). Although he had enough strength to continue fighting for his dignity, it was a sad ending as he had depleted his qi and finally succumbed.
TWO PALMS EXERCISE
The next exercise is to have both your palms facing each other ( about 20-3-cm apart ), at the same distance in front of you, also at eye level.
As above, while breathing in a relaxed manner, visualize the qi coming up from the Dan tien up your body across both shoulders into both arms until it reaches the hands. Finally imagine the qi shining out of the middle of your palms to the opposite side.
Beginners may first feel some tingling sensation on the palms, and some gentle movements may start when the qi flows. As the qi gets stronger the arms will move more, and you may feel like there is a cushion of thick air in between your palms.
After much practice, and if your qi is strong, your whole body will tense and writhe, and your arms will move a lot. The effect is certainly much stronger than the one-finger exercise.
Those of you who have experience of creating and playing with energy balls between your palms can now increase your level of commanding your qi by starting right from the Dan tien.
This exercise is a good way to nourish the organs systems that have meridians going to the arms, hands and fingers ( eg. the heart meridian ). If you know the actual meridian paths, then the exercise will have more benefit when you visualize the qi travelling along them.
In the next article I will describe the Seven Chakras exercise, which is an extension of the qigong and Healing Tao micro-cosmic orbit exercise. It is an exercise to not only enhance your qi flow, but to also connect with your inner-self, your emotions, your character, and your future.
The universe was created from energy and is sustained by energy. Life was created with energy; and health, healing, disease and death are all energy phenomena. To understand life, you must understand energy.