The Logos Explanation of Displaying Paw-style Palms like a White Crane Spreading Its Wings
The movement of displaying paw-style palms like a white crane spreading its wings in the Health Qigong﹒Yi Jin Jing shows the forms of open and close, front and back, left and right, stress and relax, light and heavy, rigid and flexible, and so on. From various angles, all these forms reflect the ancient cultural connotations of yin and yang philosophy. Therefore, from the view of yin and yang theory, I will have a specific research on the logos of displaying paw-style palms like a white crane spreading its wings, having a great significance of understanding and grasping the movement regularity and fitness principles of Health Qigong﹒Yi Jin Jing, as well as grasping the essentials of the exercise and improving the effect of exercise.
Culture of the exercise
Yin and yang theory elaborates the opposition and unity of yin and yang. It is the philosophy theory explaining the beginning, development, extinction, as well as the change root and the general law of everything, and also a kind of world view and methodology to understand the universe. The main contents of yin and yang theory are formed by four parts: mutual opposition, mutual interdependence, mutual waning and waxing, and mutual conversion of yin and yang. Based on the theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Health Qigong explains the body’s organization structure, physiological function and pathological changes, directly guiding the Qigong exercise with the use of yin and yang theory. As Plain Questions﹒Theory of Fair Truth and Large said: “The key of regulating the qi is the separation of yin and yang.” The concepts and ideas of mutual opposition, interdependence, waning and waxing, and conversion, are Health Qigong’s main ideas and methods to understand men’s life activities and guide the practices. For example, yin and yang theory thinks that the attributes of yin and yang are showed in the human body: up as yang, down as yin; left as yang, right as yin; back as yang, belly as yin; exterior as yang, interior as yin; six entrails as yang, five viscera as yin. Five viscera and six entrails can be also divided into the liver-yang and liver-yin, spleen-yang and spleen-yin, kidney-yang and kidney-yin, as well as stomach-yang and stomach-yin, etc. Men’s life activities often divide the motivated, warm and exciting materials and functions into yang, while divide the condensed, moist and inhibited materials and functions into yin. In the movement of displaying paw-style palms like a white crane spreading its wings in the Health Qigong﹒Yi Jin Jing, the shoulder-spreading and chest-extending on Yunmen, open and close(left and right, open and close) on Zhongfu point; the opposite stretching(front and back) of palms-pushing and back-drawing; head-up-leading (ethereal top strength) and the intention of toes grip force (up and down), all these embody the attributes of yin and yang’s mutual opposition and interdependence. Another example is that in the process of pushing hands, first pushing lightly like pushing the window, then pushing hard like overwhelming hills and sea, withdrawing is like the method of sea water recovering the tide, fully embodying the attributes of yin and yang waning and waxing, as well as conversion. The relationship between rigid and flexible is mainly showed in the whole process of shoulder-spreading and chest-extending, and palms-pushing. The rigid is mainly showed the maximum potential of shoulder-spreading and chest-extending, and palms-pushing. The relationship of rigid and flexible should meet the movement law of yin and yang theory: yin has yang, yang has yin, mutual interdependence between yin and yang, extreme yin contains yang, extreme yang contains yin, and mutual conversion of yin and yang. Therefore, the main points of the exercise have a strict requirements on rigid having flexible, flexible having rigid, mutual interdependence between rigid and flexible, moderate force, that is to say, the forces of muscle and bones should stress and relax so as to enable the practitioners to achieve a balance of yin and yang practice effect. On the contrary, if the practitioner can not achieve mutual interdependence between rigid and flexible in the exercise, it will result in the mechanical movements of the practitioner, affecting the natural breathing and producing breath-hold or shortness of breath, even destroy the peaceful state of mind. So, in the practice of Qigong, one should take moderate force, not the brute and hard force, otherwise the exercise can only be counterproductive. The above culture of exercise explains the specific application of yin and yang theory in the Health Qigong’s three-modulation.
Principle of the exercise
At the convenience of former position of pulling nine cows by their tails, this action steps forward to an open step, at same time, two palms stretch forward and embrace until the same shoulder width of the body, then the two arms closed inside, two hands become willow leaf palm standing in front of Yunmen point, the centre of two palms facing each other, fingertips upward, looking the bottom of the front and making the starting action of displaying paw-style palm like a white crane spreading its wings. Then the shoulder-spreading and chest-extending (center of palms always faces each other), then loose the shoulder, two palms slowly push forward like the lotus leaf palms, starting pushing forward hard, light like pushing windows, afterwards, push to the extreme and then hard like overwhelming hills and sea. Meanwhile, two feet and ten toes put forth effort to bend and grip the ground, stand right with two eyes open and mind concentrated, staring at the centre of the palm. Afterwards, loosing the wrist and closing the fingers, bending elbow and withdrawing arms like sea returning the tide and night tides returning to the sea, gradually turn the centre of palm facing each other and stand in front of Yunmen point, fingertip upward and making the starting action. Repeat it three to seven times.
Throughout the above movements, whether it is the degree of tightness on the strength of muscle, or the degree of strength on the awareness activities, it all follows the basic theory of traditional yin and yang theory, and reflects the perfect coordination (integration of three regulations) of Health Qigong between exterior movement guidance, interior mental activities and breath. Under the domination of sense, the strength of action combines with breathing, and makes the adjustment from small to big and big to small (yin and yang waning and waxing, yin and yang conversion), enabling all the muscle group and fascia of chest, back, shoulders, arms and other parts of the body, as well as the muscle tendon, ligament, joint capsules and other connective tissues of all the joints been stimulated by the stretching force with certain degree, playing an important role on releasing the viscous, lubricating joints (also playing a certain role on the adjuvant therapy of scapulohumeral periarthritis or shoulder and backache), strengthening tendons and bones, and improving the health. The spiritual sense should at first as light as sliding the window, then as hard as overwhelming hills and sea, the changes of loosing and tightening can make the guidance of two arms to put forth strength, with ease and generous stretch, it can achieve the aim of regulating qi and blood, building fitness and strengthening the heart. From the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Yunmen point is the sagged place beneath the collarbone and inside the scapulae coracoid, a point of lung meridian of hand taiyin, which starts from the lung and Yunmen and other points, passing through the meridians and collaterals of the upper limb. Yunmen point is also the place for lung meridian of hand taiyin to connect interior and exterior. While sitting wrist and lifting palms with five fingers open outside into lotus leaf palm will have corresponding and effective stimulation to the three yin and three yang meridians and collaterals of hand, especially the relative force of thumb is more effective to strengthen the lung meridian of hand taiyin. Traditional Chinese Medicine thinks: lung is one of the body’s five viscera, known as the “canopy”, its physiological function is to dominate qi and help to take breath, the converging place of hundreds of meridians. Erecting palms at Yunmen and guiding the shoulder-spreading and chest-extending can open Yunmen, Zhongfu and other points, and help the body to absorb clearer qi and promote the interaction and integration of natural clear qi and the body genuine qi, improving the respiratory function and qi-blood circulation of the whole body. In addition, there’s a proverb in Traditional Chinese Medicine goes: “If the heart and lung have disease, their qi will be left in the elbow.” Through the elbow-bending, shoulder-spreading and chest-extending, stretching forward and other movements, they can not only be effective to Xinyu point on the back, Feiyu point, Dazhu point and Gaohuang point and other points, we can see that they also have important effect on improving the heart and lung function.
Essentials of the exercise
1.Scapula guiding the chest open and closed
Shoulder-spreading and chest-extending should be driven by the adduction and abduction of scapula, guiding the chest open and closed, and the shoulder adduction and abduction. By this way, under the guidance of the sense, it can motivate the adduction and abduction of scapulae, then stimulate the movement of the shoulder and chest, so as to improve respiratory function and qi and blood circulation of whole body, strengthening the physique.
2.Thumb takes the force to whirl the wrist and support the fingers
When the two palms push forward, the thumb should take the force to whirl the palms into sitting palms and lifting palms, the lotus leaf palm. At the same time, ten fingers should support outside as far as possible, the tiger’s mouth stays round, thumb face each other, open eyes and stare, the intention is focused between the two palms, meditating and thinking as there is the moon.
3.Adduction outward, the mutual change of yin and yang
Whether it is shoulder-spreading and chest-extending, or the palms stretching forward should all comply with the movement law of yin and yang, that is to say, the law of mutual opposition, mutual interdependence, mutual waning and waxing, and mutual conversion of yin and yang. For example, when the two palms stretch forward with the internal power, they should be first as light as sliding the window, then as hard as overwhelming hills; while the palm-withdrawing is like seawater tide. Again, when the two palms push forward, the body should be upright and lead backward, forming the symmetrical and opposite relation of yin and yang, which is similar to the essentials of “back and front exist together” of Tai Chi. Another example, the power of two palms pushing forward and two feet and ten toes griping the grounding should be synchronized, up and down follows, appropriate tightness degree, coupling rigidness and inflexibility, that is to say, in the transforming process of staring action or stopping action of shoulder-spreading and chest-extending, two palms pushing forward, it should be relatively slow, relaxed and soft, no sudden force and instant relaxation. Besides, the muscle tension of these movements should be relative; it is appropriate force rather than absolute force. Because the absolute force is rigid without flexibility, the brute force is easy to make movement stiff, then all the joints can not stretch properly, muscles and other soft tissues can not be fully stretched. Therefore, the “tight” and “loose”, or “rigid” and “flexible” of the movement should be a mutual and gradual changing development. That is to say, the force of stretching the joints should be developed from a relative small one to a certain loose, soft, large force. The force to contract joint should be slowly relaxed from a relative “tight” or “rigid” of loose and flexible to a relative “loose” or “flexible”.
4.Ten toes grip the ground, erect the back to guide
When the two palms slowly push forward, the gravity center should also be moved to front feet along with two arms’ movement, meanwhile, the two feet ten toes should bend, curl and grip the ground with strength, with head up to guide and lift, forming up and down straightening back, the front push and back guiding of yin and yang is the symmetry of stretching tendons and guiding bones.
5.Pushing exhaling and withdrawing inhaling, comfortable and natural
Every pushing forward should coordinate with natural exhaling in the movement, inhaling naturally when withdrawing the palm, coordinating in order to achieve a comfortable and natural state. It must not let the front fall behind, and also can not do the opposite action.
In a word, the exterior guiding and interior leading of displaying paw-style palms like a white crane spreading its wings always show the philosophy culture of yin and yang theory, which can be regarded as a viable yin and yang theory. Through the exercise of this movement, you can indeed experience the extensive and profound Chinese traditional health culture, and also learn the essence of the essentials of the exercise. Therefore, exercising Health Qigong﹒Yi Jin Jing can not only help to learn and experience Chinese traditional culture, but also gain the effect of strengthening the body and mind, meanwhile it can also achieve the goal of longevity, why not do it?