Skip to main content

8 Exercises for Fitness, Healing, and Longevity - Part 4

The Wise Owl Gazes Backward

Forth Movement in the 8 Section Brocade Chi Kung

The Wise Owl Gazes Backward
Snowy Owl
John James Audubon
The Birds of America, 1827

Research by Michael P. Garofalo

   
According to TCM, practicing this movement helps your lungs, immune system, and large intestines. It enriches the essence and blood, calms the mind, and promotes organ functioning.

It cures energy depletion and consumptive illnesses, as it works the entire spine much like a wringed out cloth, it gets rid of nagging stiff muscles and pinched nerves, this exercise really improves your vitality, focus and energy levels, it also wards off aging and is very beneficial for back pain all along the spine.


Movement Name:  The Wise Owl Looks from Side to Side, the Wise Owl Gazes Backward



To find Part 1, 2 and Part 3 follow the links below

-->
Many  8 Brocades videos exist on YouTube.  
Shaolin style by Master Shi De Yang
My current favorite on You Tube is from Health Qigong Ba Duan Jin, performed by MAster Faye Yip, President of British Health Qigong Association, Founder of Deyin Taijiquan Institute (intenational) and Executive member of the Tai Chi Union for Great Britain.  Eight Treasures
You can also watch  -Qigong: Eight Piece Brocades Chi Kung  by Jesse Tsao  on youtube.com  It is a simplier version.  You can find it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJeyZ43i-xY    You can peruse Jesse Tsao web site at   http://www.taichihealthways.com
Another good source for 8 Brocade video is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZgbFD39OdI


Starting Position: Wu Ji 




Directions:

Left and step with left foot and place your feet at a shoulder's width apart.

Look straight ahead and gaze at some distant point.  

Hands at hips with your palms facing down.  Press down with palms.

Stand up straight.  Relax.  Lift your head up, chin tucked in a bit.  Smile.

Hips and butt are tucked in, sealing the pelvic floor.

Don't move your shoulders or back much during the exercise.

Inhale slowly.

Slowly and gently turn your head to the left side.

Look behind you as far as you can; turn your eyes to the far left.

Gaze into the distance behind you at some point on the ground.

Exhale slowly as you look behind you.  

After you have completely exhaled, then begin to slowly inhale, and return your head slowly and gently to the front.

Look straight ahead and gaze at some distant point. 

Slowly and gently turn your head to the right side.

Continue to slowly inhale as you turn your head to the right.

Look behind you as far as you can; turn your eyes to the far right.

Gaze into the distance behind you at some point on the ground.

Exhale slowly as you look behind you.

After you have completely exhaled, then begin to slowly inhale, and return your head slowly and gently to the front.

Look straight ahead and gaze at some distant point.  

Repeat the movement, gazing to the front, left rear, and right rear, from 4 to 8 times.

As you warm up your neck muscles, turn a little farther to side and back.
Be gentle with yourself, move very slowly.

Be sure to gaze as far backward and downward as possible when looking to the back.  

Breath naturally, easily, slowly.  

Inhale slowly as you move your head from side to side.

Exhale slowly as you look backward.  

Imagine yourself as a wise old owl turning his head from side to side.  

Imagine having the powers of distant vision and the kind of night vision of some birds of prey possess.  


         
Return you left foot back into the Wu Ji position to rest and realign the body-mind.  

Wu Ji signals the end of one movement and the beginning of the next movement. 


Enjoy some cleansing breaths.  Opening/Closing.

Stand up straight and tall.  Lift the head.  Tuck the chin inward a little.


Loosen Up, Soften, Merge and Relax.


Feel yourself sinking and rooting into the Earth. 

             
            
Variations of Movement 4 (Wise Owl Looks Backward)The Eight Section Brocade Chi Kung 

a)
Hold your arms up at shoulder height, elbows bent, and palms facing forward.
Slowly turn your torso at the waist to the left and move your left arm to the back.
Turn your head to the left and look backward.
Keep your feet at shoulder width.
Turn your neck to the side and back as you turn your waist.
Repeat the movement to the other side.
Move slowly and gently!
Do not make this into the dangerous and vigorous calisthenics exercise called "The Windmill."
Gently stretch the waist, back and neck.
Repeat 6 to 8 times on each side.  
          

b)
Lift your arms and place your palms together at shoulder width height.  Extend your left leg forward as you move your left arm backward.  Place your left toe on the ground at a comfortable distance in front to maintain your balance.  Turn your torso to the left side and backward.  Look at your left hand behind you.  The right arm should remain in front at shoulder height.  When the arms are extended the hands should be open, all the fingers spread wide apart, the fingers pointing up, and the wrist flexed, and forearm tensed - "willow leaf palm."  Stay balanced.  Return the left arm back to the front, and look at both hands in front.  When the hands come to the front, only the thumb and pointer finger should touch, forming a triangle with the two hands.  Move the left leg back to a shoulder width stance.  Keep the weight more in the back leg.  
Extend your right leg forward as you move your right arm backward.  Place your right toe on the ground at a comfortable distance in front to maintain your balance.  Turn your torso to the right side and backward.  Look at your right hand behind you.  The left arm should remain in front at shoulder height.  Hands should be in the "willow leaf palm" or "starfish" hand position - fingers spread wide, tensed, and pointing upwards.  Relax - Soong!  Stay balanced.  Return the right arm back to the front, place both hands together in a triangle mudra (hand sign), and look at both hands in front.  Move your right leg back to a shoulder width stance.  Keep the weight more in the back leg.  Repeat 6 to 8 times on each side.  
Compare this movement variation with the "Topple Mountain Range with Palm" movement in the Luohan Qigong system taught by Dr. Gaspar Garcia.  
This variation is one of my favorites and I often add this to the ESB set or use this to replace ESB Movement 3.  This variation requires considerable balance, gracefulness, and poise.  Basically, it is a spinal twisting movement, and students of Hatha yoga have "spinal twists" in standing, seating, and prone versions.  I use the same movement in my Dragon Chi Kung, Movement 4, The Black Dragon Walks at the Edge of the Abyss.

       
c)  This movement can be done when walking.  Turn your head from side to side and gaze backward.  Allow you arms to swing naturally as you walk forward.  Keep your torso facing forward; only turn your head from side to side and look backward.    
d)  This movement can be done while seated.  Move slowly!  Move gently.  
e)  Place your right hand behind your head.  Keep your right elbow up.  Gently hold your head.  Turn your head to the left and look backward.  Exhale as you turn your head and look backward.  Lift your right elbow up slightly as you inhale and as you move your head forward.  Inhale as you turn your head forward.  Do 6 to 8 eight repetitions.  Reverse hands and to 6 to 8 eight repetitions looking to the right side with left elbow up.  
            

          
Health Benefits of Movement 4 (Wise Owl Looks Backward)The Eight Section Brocade Chi Kung 
Exercises the neck muscles.
Exercises the eye muscles.
Balance and brain functions are improved by coordinated movements.
Stretching helps contribute to the relaxation of stiff and tense muscles.
A clear and peaceful mind reduces negative stress on the body.
Using both sides of the body (mirroring in a movement form) can have positive effects on the structural alignment of the body and enhance coordination.
Slow, deep and regular breathing brings extra oxygen into your blood.  

Disclaimer.  
Ba Duan Jin Exercise Set 4  "Relieving the exhaustion of the five internal organs and injuries caused by the seven human emotions, by practicing looking backward.  The Ba Duan Jin Exercise Set 4 is one of the most potent of the eight exercises. It has a powerful effect on your central nervous system and the circulation of both blood and Chi to your head. It stimulates the vital power of your kidneys. It also strengthens the activity of your eyeballs, your neck and shoulder muscles, and your nerves, and is excellent for alleviating high blood pressure and hardening of the arteries." - Chinese Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine 
    

References for the Names of Movement 4 (Wise Owl Looks Backward)
Eight Section Brocade Chi Kung
(See below for reference sources.)  
Turn Head to Look Back to Allay Five Strains and Seven Impairments.   (Zong Wu and Li Mao, R1)
Looking Back like a Cow Gazing at the Moon.   (Lam Kam Chuen, R2)
Thrust out the Chest and Twist the Neck to take a Good Look to the Rear.
The Five Weaknesses and Seven Injuries will be Gone.   (Yang Jwing-ming, R3)
Eye of the Tiger.   (Geoff and Phyllis Pike, R4)
Looking Backward to Get Rid of Weary and Injurious Feelings.   (PRC Publication, R5)
Looking Behind to Cure Fatigue and Distress.   (Kenneth Cohen, R6)
The Wise Owl Gazes Backward.   (Michael Garofalo, R7)
Turning the Head and Looking Behind.   (Sanley Wilson, R8)
Turn and Glance to Eliminate the Five Ailments and Seven Dangers,  (Daniel Reid, R9)
Looking Backwards to Mend the Body  (Jiao Guorui, R10)
Turning Head.  (Wong Kiew Kit, R11)
Turning Your Head to Tonify the Nervous System.  (Maoshing Ni, R12)
Looking Backwards to Prevent Sickness and Strain  (Chinese Health Qigong Association, R13) 
Names of the movements of the Eight Section Brocade Chi Kung in languages other than English. 
            

Comments about Movement 4 (Wise Owl Looks Backward)
Eight Section Brocade Chi Kung
 

Persons with neck ailments should be very careful when doing this movement.  Turn very little!! Move very slowly.  Take your time, don't rush, be patient.  Do not bend your head backward towards your back - this hyper extends the neck and puts stress on the vertebrate in the neck.  Keep your head up straight, chin slightly down and just turn your head from side to side.   

Every beginner should stay within their comfort zone, don't over stretch, and be gentle with your body and mind.  Don't try to "exactly" imitate a fellow student who is an intermediate or advanced Chi Kung player or the teacher.   Know and respect your own body and mental state.  Don't go beyond your own personal bodily conditioning, skills, abilities and limits.  Some advise reducing your exertion levels and doing 30% to 40% less than you can do.   Be reasonable and kind to yourself.  Take your time, advance slowly, be careful, be patient, and remain injury free.  Sometimes, an old or new injury, or joint disease, will limit your range of motion.  Know your own strength and limitations - the practice of Chi Kung and Tai Chi forms will reveal to you your strengths and limitations.  Resolve to make two positive contributions today.  Stay within your comfort zone, explore with the body-mind, and renew-recreate both self-awareness and awareness of Self, and come to experience your comfort zone.  Float on the Wu-wei raft on the Tao River; when standing on Earth then root, soften, move.   

"Gently Shake the Heavenly Pillar means to crick and move the neck.  Properly, the neck is cricked to the left and right sides along with a gazing procedure. The two shoulders are followed by the gaze when swaying.  The left and right sides are counted separately, with each side being performed twenty-four times, and collectively forty-eight times. This cricking of the neck, swaying of the shoulders, and gazing in accordance with the movements in effect remove the fire of the heart and eliminate any invasions or disturbances of external malignant spirits."
-  Master Li Ching-yun, Translated by Stuart A. Olson.

Really turn the eyes to the side as you look down and backwards.  Exercise the eyes!  


"Referring to the seven factors causing impairments by overstrain, viz., [1] overfeeding that impairs the spleen; [2] fury that causes adverse flow of Qi and impairs the liver; [3] forced overloading or prolonged sitting in damp places that injures the kidneys; [4] cold weather or drinking cold beverages that injures the lungs; [5] sorrow and anxiety that injure the heart; [6] wind and rain, cold and summer-heat that impair the constitution; and [7] great shock and intemperance that impair mentality."
-   Ancient Way to Keep Fit, compiled by Zong Wu and Li Mao, 1992, p. 113. - Regarding "Turn Head to Look Back to Allay five Strains and Seven Impairments."  









-->

Comments

  1. Great article ...Thanks for your great information, the contents are quiet interesting. I will be waiting for your next post.yoga teacher training in india |yoga therapy teachers training in india |yoga courses in india best yoga teacher training in india yttc

    ReplyDelete
  2. Did you know that you can shorten your long urls with Shortest and receive cash from every click on your short urls.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Acupressure Points on your Feet for Headaches and Migraines

by Holly Tse, CMP at www.chinesefootreflexology.comIf you get headaches or migraines, here are four acupressure and Chinese Reflexology points that can help you feel better right away.  Learn how to rub your feet for fast pain relief and for long-term improvement of your symptoms. Let’s face it, headaches suck! While I often write eloquently (or so I think!), there’s no other way to describe the stabbing pain that shoots up through your eye, the vise-like grip that radiates from your head to your shoulders or the incessant throbbing that leaves you feeling cranky, crabby and foggy.



If it sounds like I've experienced some killer headaches, your assumption is 100% correct. I've had stabbing migraines, headaches that follow you to sleep and greet you on waking, dull achy head pain, and ocular migraines too.  Fortunately, I learned how to bring my body into balance so that I now can’t even remember when I last had a headache. Here are some good books on Reflexology
Complete Reflexology …

Qigong for Strengthening the Kidneys

In Chinese Medicine, as in reality, there is no way to separate the mind and the body.

The most pronounced emotion related to Kidney Deficiency is fear. This type of imbalance would be marked with unfounded fear and anxiety during everyday life rather than fear relating to true danger. 

Unchecked, it can manifest as infertility, sexual dysfunction, menopause, prostate problems, impaired immunity, chronic inflammation, high blood pressure, heart irregularities and anxiety.


Adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys and produce adrenaline that participates in the body’s fight/flight/freeze response and cortisol that stimulates stress. Long-term adrenaline and cortisol over production, partly brought on by chronic fear, can lead to adrenal burnout and chronic fatigue.



The kidney meridian starts at the underside center of the foot. It moves to the inside of the foot and circles the ankle. Then it moves up the inside of each leg, through the groin, and up the center of the torso about an inch fr…

Home Remedies For Warts

Warts are small benign growths on the skin, caused by a variety of related, slow-acting viruses HPV (human papilloma virus). There are at least sixty known types of HPV. Warts may appear singly or in clusters. We will talk about three types of warts: Common warts, Plantar warts, and genital warts.
Common warts can be found anywhere on the body, but are most common on the hands, fingers elbows, forearms, knees, face, and the skin around the nails. Most often, they occur on skin that is expose to constant friction, trauma, or abrasion.

They can also occur on the larynx (the voice box) and cause hoarseness.


Common warts may be flat or raised, dry or moist, and have a rough and pitted surface that is either the same color as or slightly darker than the surrounding skin. They can be as small as a pinhead or as large as small bean. Highly contagious, the virus that causes common warts is acquired through breaks in the skin.
Common warts can spread if they picked, trimmed, bitten or touch…