Saturday, August 10, 2013

Doing chi kung with your tongue

Doing chi kung with my tongue?  Yes.

The practice of chi kung and meditation always make use of the tips of our body to generate and manage chi. The most important tip is our set of fingers. We make use of our fingers with a stretched hands (in doing zhan zhuang, tai chi and other internal martial art) and in special hand-forms called mudra (in doing seated meditation). We can actually make use of our tongue too. This subject has not been discussed much in the literature.

Most chi kung teachers will ask you to stick your tongue to the palate, probably without giving you any reason, probably you feel nothing, probably you don't know why it has to be done this way, and probably you do not dare to ask you teacher because you reckon that he will say Just do it! You teacher is doing the right thing, if you might suspect otherwise.

In tai chi and chi kung, the best way to search for theory is to venture into a practice and formulate your own hypothesis or theory based on your own experience. Mere memorizing what your teacher (or me for that matter) said is useless unless you have got the same internal feeling. And with practice you build up and refine your own hypothesis or theory as you progress. When you are there, you can hear your teacher have told you before and appreciate what you have read previously.

Back to your tongue.

The gist of the matter is body connectedness or muscles-as-one. In chi kung, we aim at connecting our muscles (and everything else) together into an inseparable mass, as defined by one's internal feeling and perception. In regard to the tongue, it connects everything in your torso to your head. Without such connection, your head will never be a part of your whole body connectedness. Microcosmic circulation cannot be done correctly without the bridge of the tongue. Taoist mediation therefore put a heavy emphasis on the tongue.

In the beginning, a student has to train himself to "feel the existence of his tongue", in all its parts and detail. The next step is to connect his tongue via the central part of his torso with his perineum (some say to the genital, which is unnecessary and tends to complicate matters). If you can do this next step, you can easily connect the whole torso with trial and error. The key point is use the tongue to push against the palate to generate subtle power, like when you're doing zhan zhuang, your feet, because of gravity, push against the ground. The difference, and their relative degree of difficulty, is that one is against gravity and one works with gravity - and you know which is easier to do! Without such subtle power, nothing can be done. However, even when tongue is being pushed against your palate, lack of body connectedness will result in no energy will flow. Just like electricity, actual conduction is needed in addition to physical connection. You buy a connection if you need to have electricity running; and you train up or condition your tongue if you want it to connect chi up and down.

You can try doing the above when you are doing zhan zhuang. Mind you you might not get the internal sensation on day one, practice and persistence are required. What will be your internal feeling? A numbing sensation, like what you feel in you pair of stretched hands after you have entered the meditative zone in zhan zhuang. 

You can't see his tongue doing chi kung, can you?

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