Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The mythical eight psychic channels: opening your shouder joints

Those who are familiar with traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture or meditation will likely be familiar with the concept of eight psychic channels. In Chinese these are called mythical eight psychic channels (奇經八脈). The interesting thing about these channels is that these are not "stand-alone" channels supplying nutrients to the organs but rather channels crisscrossing the body and, in totality, connecting all "stand-alone" channels. As a result, different practices have different (but similar) ways of connecting the standalone channels, hence different definition of the eight channels.

In Taoist Yoga, Zhao BiChen presented an ingenious and organized way to clear the channels using one's initial chi-energy generated by microcosmic circulation. Unfortunately, Charles Luk left it out in his English translation, I shall deal with it in a future post. In this post, I shall talked about opening one's shoulder joints using chi along two psychic channels.

Opening one's shoulder joints is very important for a martial artist. Zhao being one, he certainly knew its importance and therefore conceptualized two psychic channels to open a practitioner's shoulder joints. And his way of opening went well with his other purpose of clearing channels for Neidan practice. One stone with two birds killed. Clever!

He defined two channels for the arms:

1. Yang yu (陽瑜): channels in the outer sides of the both arms linking both shoulders with the center of the palm passing through the middle fingers.

2. Yin Yu (陰瑜): Linking the middle fingers to the center of the palm and up to the chest.

Whereas Zhao had a organized way to clear all eight channels in one go, specific attention to individual channels will also be needed. One example is the clearing or opening of the Ren (任脈) and Du (督脈) channels in microcosmic circulation. As for opening the shoulder joints, a practitioner will find it very useful to do chi flow along the Yang Yu and Yin Yu channels as defined by the Master.

I shall talk about other channels in future posts.

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