Smiling Heart is a qigong form that serves to open and heal the heart. It promotes a state of joy and gratitude by harmonising the flow of qi in your body, mind and spirit.
- Throughout this sequence, do your best to remain relaxed and receptive to the feeling of qi within and around your body.
- Be mindful of the breath as you move and try not to fill your lungs to their full capacity. Instead, stop at around 70-80% as a way to remain aware and promote harmony in the movements.
- Make sure not to over-stretch and find adjustments where you need to.
Begin by finding stability in the standing position.
- Find a light bent in your knees and relax your belly, shoulders and facial muscles.
- Feel the lower part of the body being grounded. Your root chakra, hui yin, sinking into the earth.
- At the same time, feel the upper part of the body gently being pulled upward. Your head and crown chakra, bai hui, is lifting toward the sky.
- Stay connected with the inbreathe and outbreathe.
1. Rippling Pond
Step out with your left leg so that you are standing roughly hip-width apart.
Lift your hands as you breath in. Let them sink back down as you breathe out.
Relax in your shoulders, hands and fingers. Feel the energy, the qi of the heart center expanding.
Imagine that you are creating small ripples in this the energy and how your hands and fingers are spreading this heart qi outward.
2. Gathering Sunlight
Lift and open your arms on the inbreathe, let them come back down on the outbreathe.
As you open, imagine that you are drawing qi of the sun directly into your heart.
Feel how it warms you deeply and how you in turn spread this warm energy to others.
3. Bending the Rainbow
Form a ball of energy between your hands and lift it above your head on an inbreath. As you breath out, imagine that you are stretching this ball to either side, creating a rainbow that is connecting the hands.
You may visualise a colorful rainbow connecting your hands. Maintain the feeling of qi continuously throughout the movement.
This exercise builds and refines sensitivity to feeling qi.
4. Bathe in Earth Energy
Widen your stance slightly. Breath out and start gathering energy from the earth. As you breathe in, draw this yellow qi up through your body and then let yourself bathe in it as you breathe out.
This exercise strengthens the muscles in the legs as well as your connection with the earth who nourishes you on a deep level.
5. Share Smiling Heart
Step back in with your left foot. Hold the heart qi in the front hand as your back hand gathers qi from behind. As you breathe out, feel how the push sends your heart qi outward, sharing it with everyone around you.
6. Rowing on the Lake
Breathe in as you draw the arms gently back and up. Breathe out as the arms release back in front.
Imagine that you are gently rowing a boat on a still lake. Relax your shoulders, arms, hands and fingers as they move in the energy surrounding you. Maintain this gentle receptivity, and feel how yang qi is entering your body from above.
7. Toss the Ball
Feel how you toss away anything you no longer want. Any negativity, toxicity – feel this qi in your hand and allow yourself to give it up, throwing it to the wind. Move your arms and hands smoothly in the space. Connected with your breath.
8. Push Palm
Form a ball of energy between the palms and then press out to either side, as if you are pushing something heavy away from your body.
The movement helps to open the heart center and the push stretches the heart meridian by focusing on the point called heart-7, Shen men, or spirit gate, located in the wrist area.
9. Turn to Accept the Moon Qi
Starting from the lower abdomen, lift your hands and feel the energy of the moon, then drawing it back down to the lower dan tian. Rather than grabbing, simply allow the yin qi be be drawn into your hands and fingers, then gently placing it in your lower dan tian.
10. Wave Hands Like Clouds
Widen your stance and move the hands with lightness and yang energy. Gently shifting the weight between the legs, feeling their strength and solid yin energy.
Imagine that your hands are moving airy clouds, maintaining lightness and receptivity while staying present with the breath. Harmonising the yin/yang balance of the whole body.
11. Reaching Into Yin & Yang
Taking a step forward and placing the palms over the knee, right hand over the left. Then shifting your weight back as you move the arms in wide circles backward. As you return, gently shifting your weight back to the front leg, letting the hands gather over the knee.
This stimulates the liver meridian, from the big toe up the legs.
12. Push the Ocean Wave
In a similar way, shift your weight back as you draw the qi up toward the face. Then letting it flow down and outward. Release before pushing down to once again draw the ocean wave back up through the body to the eyes. Breathe out, release.
13. Fly Like a Dove
From this position, open the arms to the side as you shift the weight backward. Breathe out and gently bring the hands back to the heart. Breathing in, opening and expanding the heart center. Breathing out, contracting and bring the energy back to the center.
14. Reaching Into Yin & Yang
Now shifting your feet, placing the right leg in front, and once again reaching into yin and yang. Moving slowly and feeling the energy within and all around.
15. Push the Ocean Wave
Working with the liver meridian, all the way from the big toe up the body.
16. Fly Like a Dove
Expanding and contracting the heart center.
Staying connected with the breath and maintaining a receptivity and sensitivity to the qi.
17. Turtle Pokes Out Its Head
Stepping back in with the foot, forming fists with your hands as you sit deeply. On an outbreathe, straighten your legs as you extend the arm and rotate the fist.
The extension and rotation stimulates the small intestine meridian from the little finger, along the side of the hand. Feel the stretch from the should blade areas to your hand.
Imagine the hand piercing the qi in the air, and how the let the air be filled with qi as you withdraw the hand.
The movement promotes strength in the legs, which is foundational to the overall qi movement in the body.
18. Fly Like Wild Geese
Step in with the foot. Let the arms flow through space as you lower the legs, letting the hands move naturally. Breathing in, extending the legs as the hands lift like wings. Perhaps coming to your toes before flowing like a wild goose, honoring the way of nature.
19. Painting the World
Roll forward, vertebrae by vertebrae as your hands fall slowly toward the earth. Start a big circle to the left, breathing freely as you feel the extension and circulation. This movement supports the yin qi in your major energy center. Stop in the middle and begin circling three times to the right, honoring the yang qi of the 3 dan tians – energy centers.
The extended open hands stimulates the pericardial sac meridian, including lao gong – the major acupuncture point in the center of the palm.
20. Bouncing the Ball
Lifting the right hand and then the left leg, imagining that you are bouncing a ball that touches the knee. Repeat on the other side.
Be soft and balanced as you move, feeling the qi of the hand touching the qi of the leg. This movement helps balance the energies on both sides of the body.
21. Press Palms to Settle the Breath
Breathe in as you draw lift both hands, palms facing up. Breath out as you direct the energy toward the lower abdomen.
This connects and harmonises the central meridian, including the three dan tians of the lower belly, the heart center and the third eye.
22. Quiet and stillness to conclude.
Put your focus deep in the lower dan tian, settling the breath there in this foundational energy center. Inviting a sense of peace, gratitude, joy and equanimity.
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