Tag Archives: Heavenly Qi

Water Element Meditation Practice

Last time I suggested a number ways that you can support the Water within. Here is a meditation practice that strongly invigorates Water by harvesting the Qi of the breath, storing it in the Kidneys and circulating it throughout the body.

Belly Breathing and Circulation Visualisation

Belly breathingThis meditation focuses on building the Qi in the belly centre and circulating that Qi around the Central Channel. It both cultivates and circulates Qi. The practice can be done alone or in a group. When done as a group meditation, the group field can powerfully strengthen the holding ground of Presence.

Find a comfortable sitting position. Bring your awareness to the hara, that place two fingers width below the navel and the same distance inside the body. Just notice the sensations in that area. Sensations of temperature or movement. Maybe there’s no sensation at all. Just notice what is there. Now as you breathe in, imagine you are drawing in the universal Qi, the heavenly Qi with your breath and bringing it down to that place in the belly. As you breathe out, imagine you are holding the energy that has been captured from the breath. Breathing in, drawing the Qi; breathing out, holding the Qi. Do this for a few minutes.

Now that the energy that has been gathered in the hara, allow it to fall like a slow waterfall downwards to the perineum, the soft place in the very floor of the pelvis. Then as you breathe in, imagine that the energy is being drawn up the spine and over the top of the head. As you breathe out, watch the energy move down the front of the body like a slow waterfall down to the perineum. Breathing in up the back and out down the front. You may see it as a ball of light, a ball of energy, maybe you feel it as a movement of energy, or maybe just watch and imagine in your mind that it is moving along that circuit. Do this for a few minutes.

As you finish the next cycle, bring your attention back to the hara and notice the sensations that are there now. Notice any changes in your body and mind.

When you are ready, open your eyes and come back into the room

If you do this daily throughout the winter, you will build a strong platform of strength and resilience that will power you through the spring and summer to come.

The Way of the Five Seasons

Book cover


The above is an extract from the the Water chapter of my latest book, “The Way of the Five Seasons”. You can purchase it now from Book Depository UK. For a signed copy, contact me at john@acupressure.com.au

Transition from Metal to Water

autumn treeIn the Adelaide Hills where I live, the winter rains have come at last, plucking the final leaves from the deciduous trees. There are still warm days, but it is clear we are enjoying the last of them. Winter is waiting in the wings, ready to spread out across the landscape like spilt water.

For some this can be a difficult transition if it brings with it a foreboding of the chilly days and long cold nights to come, and an unwillingness to let go of the bright days of autumn. For others the transition to winter is welcome, a time to hunker down at home in front of a warm fire with a good book and an early bed, shutting out the world and retreating indoors.

During this transition between autumn and winter, the Metal and Water Elements dance with each other as cold days intersperse themselves in the last of the autumn warmth. We cannot ignore the sun as it dips lower and lower towards the horizon, heading for its rendezvous with the winter solstice. We reach for scarves, vests, extra layers and think of splitting wood for fires.

Before I began working with the Elements, I hated winter with a passion. I dreaded the cold and the dark and the faint depression that descended. But gradually I have come to see the rightness of the season, learned to accept nature’s invitation to go inside. The more we  can rest and rejuvenate in this time, the more our internal batteries will be charged in readiness for the next round.

Take up nature’s invitation and use this transition period to prepare for turning within. Secure the house against the cold winter winds; pare back your schedule to allow for early nights; stock up on books, movies, jigsaws, knitting or whatever keeps you comfortable indoors. Emulate the trees and drop the extraneous from your life. Prepare for the descent.

Into yourself.


Sea of Qi – Conception Vessel 6

Hara breathingThis point is located two fingers width below the navel. It lies in the area known variously as the hara, the dan tien, the k’ath and the belly centre. As the name Sea of Qi suggests, it provides access to a reservoir of Qi.

Here is a practice that will serve you well during the winter months, a practice that gathers Qi from the breath and stores it in the kidneys. Place one palm over CV 6 and then place the other palm over it. As you breathe in, imagine you are gathering the Heavenly Qi with your breath and drawing it down into the area under your palms. As you breathe out, retain the gathered Qi. Continue breathing mindfully, adding to your store of Qi with each breath. This practice warms and energises the body yet can be deeply relaxing. It is a great aid for going to sleep. At the deepest level, the practice will strengthen the Kidney Qi and support you through the winter.

Next time we will begin exploring acupoints of the Bladder and Kidney meridians, the channels of the Water Element whose season is winter.

The Breath of Heaven

Deep breathWe continue our autumnal amble through the points of the Metal Element, this time pausing to examine the first point of the Lung meridian, Middle Palace. Most acupuncture point location books begin with this point as the first in the great cycle of all the points. This is because the ancients believed that when a newborn takes its first breath in life, the Heavenly Qi enters the body at this point. It represents the beginning of life.

This connection between the Lungs, the breath and heaven continues throughout our life. For with each breath we take, we inhale not only air, but also heavenly Qi. It is thought that while most of our Qi intake is gained through food, 30% comes from the breath. Middle Palace is a useful point for helping to open up the chest, making it easier to collect this free source of energy.

Lung 1 helps with any breathing difficulties such as asthma, coughing, wheezing, nasal congestion and throat obstruction. By opening the chest, it eases chest pain and allows a more upright stance. An open chest helps us to be open to all that the world has to offer us. It supports us to let come what may, to breathe in the world in all its richness. Last time we saw that Large Intestine 4 helps us to let go of that which no longer serves. Lung 1 helps us to take new things into the space thus created.

One of the things that causes congestion at this point is the suppression of emotions. To hold in emotions, there is necessarily a constriction in the breathing. Over time this can produce tightness in the upper chest. Treating Lung 1 with either static pressure or vigorous massage can help to loosen such constrictions and let the emotions come forth for expression. Grief is the particular emotion of the Lung and there are sometimes tears stored away in this point. It is supportive of those who are grieving.

At the level of spirit, this point can help to reconnect a person with his spiritual nature. It helps him to see the quality and value in his life. It provides access to inspiration, that which is both the taking in of a breath and the divine spark that makes the spirit soar.

Chest1Location of Lung 1

Lung 1 is located on the outside of the upper chest. Firstly find the large hollow directly under the outer third of the collar bone. This is known as the delto-pectoral triangle. From here, go down by a thumb’s width and move slightly further out on the side of the chest. Roll around till you find an area of sensitivity. This sensitivity may be subtle or strong. Hold the point for 2-3 minutes, first on the left side, then on the right. Tune into it as you also pay attention to your breathing. Notice whether there is a change in the sensation. Notice if there is a change in your breathing. Notice if there is a change in your emotions.