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Classical Qigong (Yi Jin Jing) and Flu

March 16th, 2008 · No Comments

Last weekend (16th and 17th Febuary 2008) Dr Shen taught the first set of Yin Jin Daoyin exercises in London’s Parliament Hill school.  These are famous classical exercises that have a keen following amongst Shaolin schools of martial arts as, although earlier editions of the exersises can be found, their origin is attributed to Damu or Boddhiddharma.  Whatever their origin there is no doubt that qigong (chi kung) practitioners benefit from practising these vigorous exercises-especially when practised using the health generating principles commonly taught by Dr Shen.  In particular exercise 1: ‘Offering incense’ and exercise 6: ‘Pulling the Ox by the tail’ are strong exercises for the spinal column helping relieving pressure on the discs and helping with common complaints like back pain.  But during the weekend, I found another function for them.  Feeling poorly from having caught this spring flu that is going round, I mumbled my pleasantries and snivelled my hellos, as I met Dr Shen and the group in the Bull and Lion where we had gathered for our New Year celebrations. It was clear to everyone that I had got a flu.

Yi Jin Jing Exercise 6 Pulling the Ox by the TailYi Jin Jing Exercise 6 Pulling the Ox by the Tail

As we practised the next day, Shen came round as I was pulling this rather large Ox across the school assembly hall to the inspiring sound of ‘hEEEEEEEave!’,


‘Pulling! Very hard – pulling!’, he exclaimed in his characteristic Chinese syntax.  As I persevered with the exercise he stated very confidently:

‘Very hard pulling-Flu quickly finishing!’

He turned to attend to other students who were pulling equally large Ox and I paused to reflect on what he had said (and sneak a cheeky 2 minute break in as well).  I certainly felt a lot better for doing the exercise and I had sweat dripping down like I had been in a steam room.  By evening I was really tired but the characteristic achy/drained feeling had left.  I thought the medical function of the exercise:The movement of the exercise allows the practitioner to bring force up into the body through the legs and into the spinal column.  This is accompanied by a physical stretching of the spine and its ligaments creating space in the joints of the spine.  This helps to restore the spring and suppleness to the nuclei of the inter-vertebral discs. Each of these vertebra have nerves connecting to glands and organs. For me at that time I needed to work on the area of T12 where mingmen is located.  If you want to find it yourself put your hands on your hips then open out your thumbs and it’s about there where your thumbs are.  Mingmen means life gate in Chinese and is responsible for the hormonal secretion of the adrenal glands. When I treat patients using this area it helps to activate their energy system when they feel they lack energy and strength.  This exercise helps you to activate this area yourself and also the rest of the spinal column which has an effect on the hormonal system increasing the body’s immunity to disease.  So the moral of the story is, next time you are feeling poorly go out and pull an ox by his tail.

Translation notes: When translating Chinese chraracters into the Romance languages there are different translation systems.  So to the beginner the difference between Chi Kung and Qigong or Tai Chi Ch’uan and Taijiquan can be confusing.  I generally like to use Pinyin (the latter translation used amongst the Chinese) and not the Wade-Giles system(the former).

Tags: Qigong for health and wellbeing