01. Extreme Emptiness
Practice Method and Details
The following is from our book on Wudang Qigong, originally published in 1999. Photos of Professor Liu here are from 2006.
Set 1 Extreme Emptiness Exercise
Extreme emptiness method combines heaven and earth,
simple and natural, no things, push up from below through the head and suspend.
The intention is at the Lao Gong raise the Yong Quan,
empty the Mind, fill the belly and the Breath will correctly ascend.
The body faces south standing straight with the two feet together, both arms naturally hang down, the index finger is slightly raised. The eyes look front, the INTENTION is on the palm, LAO GONG acupuncture point. (Illustration 1-1)
After naturally breathing out and breathing in two times, the body turns left 45 degrees. The heel of the left foot presses along the ground toward the left side pushing out 30 centimeters, the toes close inward, the toes grip the ground, the center of the foot, the YONG QUAN acupuncture point, raises upward. The eyes follow the turning of the body, the INTENTION is on the YONG QUAN, the BREATH circulates through the foot’s JUE YIN GAN channel. (Illustration 1-2)
The previous movement pauses slightly, the center of gravity shifts left, the body turns toward the right 90 degrees, the heel of the right foot presses along the ground toward the right pushing out 15 centimeters, the right toes close to the inside and press on the ground. The eyes follow the turning of the body, the INTENTION is on the XUAN GUAN opening. (Illustration 1-3)
The previous movement does not stop, the body turns toward the left 45 degrees, still facing toward the south and standing straight, the lower jaw is slightly drawn back, the crown of the head, the BAI HUI acupuncture point, raises upward; empty the MIND, fill the belly and breathe naturally. The eyes look forward, the INTENTION observes the lower DAN TIAN. (Illustration 1-4)
2) Raise Upward and Rub Downward
After adjusting the respiration two times, both hands from the sides of the body describe an arc in front of the abdomen. The palms face inward, (because yin and yang in men and women are not the same) women have the right hand outside, men have the left hand outside, the LAO GONG of both hands fold together and press against each other, lightly pressing above the lower DAN TIAN (the place 4.2 centimeters below the naval also known as the QI HAI acupuncture point). The eyes look slightly downward, the INTENTION observes the DAN TIAN. (Illustration 1-5)
The previous movement does not stop, both arms slightly revolve outward, the palms face inward and stick to the body traveling upward and stopping in front of the chest. The palms, the LAO GONG acupuncture points with the centers of both breasts, the DAN ZHONG acupuncture points face each other, mutually attracting each other. At the same time as this, the DAN TIAN sinks inward, breathe in. The tongue presses against the upper palate, the teeth are slightly closed, the eyes look front, the INTENTION observes the LAO GONG acupuncture points. (Illustration 1-6)
The previous movement does not stop, the body’s center of gravity lowers, both legs bend at the knees and squat down changing into a horse stance. At the same time, both arms slightly revolve inward, the palms face downward at an angle, sticking to the body and smoothly moving downward, stopping in front of the navel. At the same time as this, the DAN TIAN sticks outward, breathe out. (Practice until the BREATH sinks to the DAN TIAN. Afterwards when breathing out and breathing in the tongue presses against the upper palate, not using the repeated up and down movement.) The tongue is close to the lower palate, the teeth are lightly closed. The eyes look front, the INTENTION observes the Bai Hui. (Illustration 1-7)
3) Blend the Elements with One Breath
The previous movement pauses slightly, after adjusting the respiration two times, both legs straighten, naturally standing erect, at the same time, both hands from the front of the body open and turn downwards in an arc stopping at the sides of the body. The eyes look forward, the INTENTION observes the DAN TIAN. (Illustration 1-8)
Main Points and Functions
The main point of the Extreme Emptiness exercise is to refine and cultivate the inner BREATH in the DAN TIAN. When breathing in, the center of the foot YONG QUAN acupuncture point, the palms LAO GONG acupuncture points, the center of the head, the BAI HUI acupuncture point, these three centers breathe in taking in from above, in the middle, and below (yang, middle, yin) three BREATHS are carried to the DAN TIAN. The middle of the three centers has a slightly cool, numb, or tingling feeling. When breathing out, from the three centers toward the outside discharge the BREATH, the three centers have a slightly warm feeling (after practicing this skill for 100 days, the warm feeling will increase). When the BREATH in the DAN TIAN is sufficient, then water will succeed in reaching the channel, ENERGY and BREATH will go out and return through the large and small heavenly circles. When first studying Wudang Daoist Qigong, and one’s BREATH seems not too great, one can concentrate on the INTENTION observing the centers of the LAO GONG acupuncture points, paying attention to regulating the breathing.
When breathing in and raising the arms, the shoulders must relax, the elbows must sink down. When pressing down and breathing out, the feet must support and the hips must sit. The sphincter in the vicinity of the HUI YIN must lift up. In revealing the secret it is said: “Tightly bring together the anus lifting from inside, clear eyes very brilliant rise flying.”
The INTENTION must observe the breath in the DAN TIAN, with the thoughts not accepting any outside interference. The SPIRIT and the form join and comply with each other, the person then and only then can exist. Extreme Emptiness Exercise is the beginning of a practice which builds strong inner skill, it is possible through this practice, to step-by-step achieve a practice in which the SPIRIT returns to emptiness, restoring and returning to WU JI and reaching a higher plane.
Each time, practice 6 times or 9 times to make one set, practicing again and again in succession is fine. The size of the movements, large or small, high or low is not restricted, but depends on the age or youth, the extent of physical strength, and the strength or weakness in the physique of the one who is practicing.
09/17/2016 Terri Morgan