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Xu Ming Gong (Qigong Exercise for Psychosomatic Emptiness and Serenity) is a systematic exercise combining the characteristics of both the static and dynamic forms of Qigong. It is so named because if a person can perform the exercise perfectly well, he/she can enter the state of mental emptiness and serenity. It consists of three parts: 1) regulating postures of the body, 2) regulating respiration, and 3) regulating the mind.
  • Regulating Posture of the Body

The sitting and lying postures are mainly adopted for the exercise.
A. The Sitting Posture
The sitting posture can be subdivided into the following four postures.
a) The natural cross-legged sitting posture:
Sit cross-legged with the feet put under the contralateral thighs, the neck upright and torso erect (but refrain from trying to throwing out the chest and retracting the abdomen); gently close the eyes, put the overlapped hands on the thighs in front of the abdomen, or place the hands on the thighs with fingers of both hands crossed (see Fig. 2-8).

b) The shank-overlapped sitting posture:
Sit with the left shank placed on the right shank, the left instep against the right thigh, and the sole turned upward. Or conversely sit with the right shank put on the left shank, the right instep against the left thigh, and the sole facing upward. The alternate change of the position between the two shanks is allowed during the performance. But the upper body should always keep upright even when changing the position of the shanks (see Fig. 2-9).

c) The shank-crossed sitting posture:
This posture is most favoured by Buddhists, and by Qigong experts in various historical periods of China. The posture is described as the the following.
Sit with the right shank put the left one which is then lifted and placed on the right shank, thus both shanks are crossed each other with the soles turned upward (see Fig. 2-10).

d) The sitting-on-stool posture
Sit upright on a stool, with the feet separated shoulder-width apart, the knees bent at a right angle, and the shanks vertical to the ground. Place the overlapped hands before the abdomen with the palms facing upward (see Fig. 2-11); or put each hand on the distal end of the ipsilateral thigh with the palms facing downward.

B. The Lying Posture
Three different lying positions can be chosen for Xu Ming Gong, i.e., the supine lying posture, the semirecumbent lying posture, and the latericumbent lying posture.
a) The supine lying posture:
Lie supine on bed with a pillow of suitable height put under the head to make the neck a little bit flexed. Naturally straighten the arms, or slightly bend the elbow joints, the hands placed on bilateral sides of the body. As for the position of the legs, the supine lying posture can be further divided into the following types as described below.
The feet-apart posture: Lie supine and straighten the knee joints with the feet separated shoulder-width apart, and the tips of the feet pointing naturally outward (see Fig. 2-12).

The feet-closed posture: Lie supine with the heels touching together but the tips of the feet parted (see Fig. 2-13).

The knee-flexed posture: Bend the knees in an angle of 120 degrees and cushion the knee joints with some soft materials, the feet being separated shoulder-width apart (see Fig. 2-14). Sometimes, the buttocks are somewhat cushioned as well (see Fig. 2-15).


b) The semirecumbent lying posture:
Lie semirecumbently in an angle of 35°- 70° on a rattan chair or an armchair. Keep the head and neck straight, cushion the occipital region with a soft pillow to make the neck a little bit flexed. Bend the knees in an angle of 120°, separate the feet shoulder-width apart and put them on the ground, and place the hands in front of the abdomen with the palms facing inward (see Fig. 2-16), or put the hands on the ipsilateral thighs.

c) The latericumbent lying posture:
Lie latericumbently on bed on either the left or right side, with the knee joints slightly flexed, and the hands put as shown in Fig. 2-17.

  • Regulating Qi

There are three stages for regulating qi, namely, Zhu Dan (cultivating qi,) Yun Dan (manoeuvring qi ), and Zhen Dan (stationing qi).
A. Cultivating Qi
‘cultivating qi’ refers to the process of training the congenital inherent qi by regulating the respiration, being called in Chinese Zhu Dan. Described below are several methods for cultivating qi.
a) The method of expelling the stale and take in the fresh: At the beginning of each exercise, slowly exhale through the mouth while imagining that the turbid, impure qi is being expelled out of the body; and then inhale through the nose, imagining that the clean and pure qi is taken into the body. In this way, a long exhalation followed by a relatively short inhalation will help to induce tranquility and serenity.
b) The smooth-breathing method: Being natural and harmonious is the principle for deciding the rhythm of respiration. When breathing has become fluent and natural, conduct breathing by mental means rather than by exertion of force so as to make it soft, gentle and smooth.
c) The breath-counting method: This is a primary skill for concentrating the mind on breathing. One may count the numbers of respiration from 1 to 10 or to 100, with the attention focused on the numbers being counted. But it should be done after the smooth-breathing method, otherwise the counting of numbers may induce restlessness.
d) The breath-following mind-concentration method: This is another method for concentrating the mind on breathing. The mind follows both inhalation and exhalation, leading qi to go slowly downward to Dantian by both of them.
B. Manoeuvring Qi
‘ Manoeuvring qi’being called in Chinese Yun Dan, refers to conduction of the genuine qi. It can only be performed after the process of cultivating qi. The four methods described below are commonly used for this purpose.
a) Conduct qi with the mind to the perineum: When inhaling, conduct qi down to the perineum (if this has been practised long enough, qi will be gathered around the lumbosacral region, and then scattered around). When exhaling, continue to further scatter qi. Or, qi can be gathered in Dantian during inhalation, and then scattered around during exhalation. In order to enhance the effect, contract the anus while inhaling.
b) Conduct qi with the mind to the soles: During the exercise, thoracic respiration is usually adopted to conduct qi from Dantian down to the soles or to bilateral Yongquan (KI1) Jing-Well Point points (KI 1); or qi may also descend from the head down to the soles.
c) Conduct qi downward with ‘ kneading qi ’ around Santian: Here, Santian refers to the area involving the three points of Qihai (CV6) (RN 6), Huiyin (CV1) (RN 1) and Mingmen (GV4) (DU 4). In this method, ‘kneading qi’ by imagination is the key to success, which starts with inhalation from Qihai (RN 6) to Huiyin (RN 1) where the breathing stops for a movement before the next round of exhaling begins with ‘kneading qi’ from Huiyin (RN 1) via Mingmen (DU 4) back to Qihai (RN 6) again. Such is the repetition that goes on and on during the exercise to make qi from the three points mixed and joined together.
d) Conduct qi with the mind along the Ren and Du channels: Being natural is the principle of the method, and it should be practised by following a fixed procedure, that is, conduct qi downward along the Ren Channel during exhalation and then upward along the Du Channel during inhalation.
C. Stationing Qi
Stationing qi is the third stage of regulating qi. It refers to the process of purifying the inherent genuine qi by turning it slowly from moving to a relatively stationary state.
  • Regulating the Mind

A. Concentrating the Mind on Breathing
It is advisable for the beginners to concentrate the mind on breathing, being free from anxiety to preserve a serene mind.
B. Concentrating the Mind on Dantian
The term Dantian here refers to a fairly large round space in the abdomen in volving the points of Shenque (CV8) (RN 8), Mingmen (DU 4) and Huiyin (RN 1). Concentrating the mind on Dantian means to have one's mind focused on the round space.
C. Concentrating the Mind on the Manouvring of qi
In fact, it means to concentrate the mind on the image or feeling of the essential, inner qi. Such image and feeling of qi vary with different routes along which qi moves or with different parts of the body where qi stays. Generally, there are the following four mind-concentration method for manouvring qi.
a) Concentrating the mind on gathering and scattering qi: In fact, this means concentrating the mind on the image and feeling. When inhaling, the inner qi arises naturally from the upper edge of Dantian, and then gathers slowly in the front of the lumbar region. The inner qi gathered is soft and quiet. The mind should be concentrated both on the shape of the gathering qi and on its soft and quiet state as well. When exhaling, the inner qi rises from the outer rim of Dantian and scatters downward and outward. The mind should, at this moment, be focused on the scattering state of the inner qi as well as the melting comfortable feeling.
b) Concentrating the mind on the descending and scattering of qi: This means concentrating the mind on the image and feeling while descending and scattering qi. When inhaling to descend qi, the mind is concentrated on the image of qi which is in a soft and thick state and gives a feeling of softness and serenity. When exhaling to scattter qi, try to experience the melting comfortale sensation.
c) Concentrating the mind on conduction of qi around Santian: Try to experience the subjective feeling while conducting qi downward with ‘kneading qi’around Santian (described in (2) B c) of this section).
d) Concentrating the mind on conducting qi along the Ren and Du channels: Try to experience the subjective feeling while conducting qi along the Ren and Du Channels.
D. Experiencing Pleasure with a Smiling Look
With the help of some smile-inducing words and through self-controlling, put a smiling look on the face to experience pleasure.
E. Getting Rid of the Distracting Thoughts
The beginners are often disturbed by various distracting thoughts originating from some troubles in their work, family affairs, and other aspects, and consequently, unable to get into the state of mental quietness and serenity. In this case, they should try to dispel the thoughts by emotionlessness, and have a longing for the state of ‘mental emptiness’ or ‘mental blankness’ instead.
F. Curing Disease by Imagination:
This method falls into the category of medical psychology. It has proved to be an effective measure for treating and preventing diseases.
G. Psychosomatic Relaxation:
First try to relax all the joints and muscles, adopting the principles of psychosomatic relaxation exercise. And then, realize further the state of a thorough relaxation all over the body.
H. Conceiving of Tranquility and Comfort:
Tranquility and comfort both mentally and physically are what the Qigong Exercise for Psychosomatic Emptiness and serenity aims at. Conceiving of tranquility and comfort is, in fact, a suggestion therapy for initiating the reflex of tranquility and comfort induced by some proper pleasing words in combination with the effects of inner-qi.
I. The Distinct and Indistinct Fancies:
This is a special fancy-inducing method, a sophisticatedly alternate use of the distinct and indistinct fancies, by which a non-sleepy and non-woken state is kept during the exercise.


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