Here is another exercise from the wonderful qigong sequence of the Eight Brocades. This one helps to cultivate and circulate qi in the spleen-pancreas and stomach organs, which benefit from a little extra help at this time of year in the late summer season. The ribs are opened and closed with the slow rhythmic stretching of the arms, giving the spleen and stomach area a gentle massage to improve their function. The movement can be done seated or standing. In a standing position feet are parallel and hip width apart. Remember to breathe slowly in and out through the nose and move at a comfortable pace. Repeat the movement each side about nine times.
1. Place the back of the left hand on the crown of the head. The right arm is at your side with the right palm of the hand facing down and resting against the side of the right rib cage. Inhale* and stretch the left arm up and the right arm down as if the two hands are pushing away from each other – left to the sky, right to the earth.
2. Next, exhale*, at the same time switch the arms, still extended, circling them at the sides of the body until the hands are as in the beginning of Step 1 but in a reversed position. Again push up and down, this time right hand up and left hand down. Keep repeating from side to side.
Note: The head remains facing forward throughout the movement, with the eyes looking straight ahead.
* If you wish, the breathing may be reversed, exhaling on the stretch. Both ways are beneficial so find the way that is more comfortable for you.
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