The Eight Silken Movements
Pal Dan Gum is a set of eight Qigong exercises used for thousands of years to promote health for people of all ages and abilities. These exercises have historically been used for healthful longevity and as an aid in opening the meridian channels. They provide a natural method to stay active and fit while increasing the body's vital force. Upon completion, one feels refreshed, relaxed and energized.
Check out the movements below and the written form explaining these movements. Check out the images and read the description but most importantly get up and do them! I have also included a video at the bottom you can watch and follow along with to flow through this till you get the hang of it! When doing these exercises, stretch just to the point of comfort, relax and breathe into each movement. When you've mastered the movements you can do this sequence in about 15 minutes.
Until next time, be well
This exercise drives bad Qi (energy) from the "Three Burning Spaces" -that is, all three segments of the thorax. It thus improves circulation in all the internal organs and energizes them. It does this by stimulating the "triple Warmer" meridian.
1. Stand straight (tuck your belly button to your spine) with feet apart, toes forward and arms at your sides.
2. Turn your hands so the palms are upwards and slowly raise your hands above your head.
3. As the hands meet above the head, interlock your fingers and face your palms downwards.
4. Rotate your hands so that your palms face upward. push upward with your interlocked hands. As you do this, stretch upwards on your toes raising your heals slightly off the ground.
5. Repeat three times
"STRETCHING THE BOW"
This exercise strengthens the chest and shoulders and balances the Qi in the body. Increasing lung capacity, start by inhaling slowly through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.
1. Stand straight with your belly button pulled towards your spine and your arms at your sides.
2. Step to the left with your foot.
3. Bend the knees and push them outwards as you would to assume a horse-riding position. Cross your arms in front of you at the wrists, left arm in front of the right. Fists are clenched except for the left index finger which is extended.
4. As though holding a bow in the left hand and the bow string in the right, push out the left arm until straight, turning your head slowly to the left. At the same time, pull the right hand to the right of your chest as though pulling the string. Concentrate your attention on the tip of the index finger. As you turn, hold your breath for six seconds- exhaling slowly while you begin to change positions.
5. Relax the arms and re-cross them in front of you, this time with the right arm in front of the left and the right index finger extended.
6. Open the bow again, this time to the right side. Repeat three times.
"UPHOLDING HEAVEN AND EARTH"
This movement will harmonize the energies in the stomach and spleen, two closely-linked organs. It will strengthen digestion by giving contractile force to the large and small intestine meridians which flow along the arms.
1. Stand straight with arms at your sides and feet apart.
2. Raise your hands to the solar plexus (soft space in the center between your rib cages), palms up, elbows straight to your sides. Fingertips will slightly touch.
3. Raise your left hand above your head, rotating the arm so that the palms faces up, fingers pointed inward. At the same time, lower your right hand, palm down and fingers pointed inward, to your right side. Stretch both arms.
4. Return to the starting position.
5. Repeat the exercise on the other side.
6. Do both sides three times each.
This exercise relieves fatigue in the five yin organs (heart, spleen-pancreas (stomach), lungs, kidneys and liver) and their partners.
1. Stand straight with hands at the sides and feet apart.
2. Cross your hands several inches in front of your face, right hand will be closest to the face.
3. Pull your hands to the sides and back in front of your face, arms straight and palms forward. Turn your head to the left as far as it will go without rotating the waist. The left shoulder will dip slightly.
4. Again, cross the hands in front of you, but the left hand will be closest to your face this time as you straighten your arms to the side and turn your head to the right.
5. Repeat both sides three times each.
"SWINGING THE TRUNK AND HEAD"
This exercise was designed to get rid of fire Qi from the heart, which if in excess can cause anger and frustration, a moderate amount is healthy and natural.
1. Bend the knees and push them outwards as you would to assume a horse-riding position and place your hands above the knees, thumbs inward.
2. Bend your body to the left side, allowing your shoulders and head to tilt to the left.
3. Return to the starting position.
4. Bend your body and head to the right side.
5. Return again to the starting position.
6. Tilt your head forward, then backwards.
7. Relax your neck completely and rotate your head first counter-clockwise and then clockwise.
8. Repeat sequence twice
"STANDING ON TOES"
This exercise increases the stomach
and kidney Qi.
1. Stand straight with your belly button tucked towards your spine, arms at your sides and feet slightly apart.
2. Raise your heels up slowly, hold the extended position for several seconds and then slowly return your heals to the ground.
3. Repeat ten times
"PUNCHING WITH ANGRY EYES"
This exercise increases the strength and vitality of the bodily structure and internal organs.
1. Stand straight with your hands at your sides, your feet slightly apart.
2. Step to the left and bend the knees to mimic the horse-riding pose. Place your fists, palm side up at your waist.
3. Open your eyes very wide, as though you were angry. With the left fist, punch to the left, then return your fist to the left waist. As you punch watch your knuckles.
4. Punch to the left side with the right fist, then return.
5. Repeat these two punches on the opposite side.
6. Punch forward with your left fist and return. Punch forward with your right fist and return.
7. Re-assume a straightened posture with knees straight this time but feet still well apart.
8. Punch to the left side with the left list and return.
9. Punch to the right side with the right fist and return.
10. Punch forward with the left fist and return.
11. Punch forward with the right fist and return.
"BENDING OVER AND STRETCHING BACK"
This final exercise of this series will increase the flexibility of the waist and legs. It stimulates the kidneys, bladder, gall-bladder and stomach.
1. Stand straight with your feet slightly apart and your hands at your sides.
2. Bend your body forward, keeping your knees straight.
3. Touch your palms to the floor if possible, then grab your toes. Hold your toes for several seconds. If you can not reach your toes reach for your knees (keeping them straight, with no bend).
4. Straighten the back up slowly and place your hand on your back hips.
5, Arch your head and back backwards.
6. Do this three times.