The Yi Jin Jing Process
NOTE: If you have not read the previous two articles, please do. This article and the terminology will make more sense.
Article one – The Meaning and Process of the Yi Jin Jing Practice
Article two – Cultivating Strength and Longevity – the Yi Jin Jing Process
If you have read the previous two articles, you will be familiar with the importance of knowing your body on the inside, and having a clear sense of your Inner Landscape (Nei Jing 內經). You will also appreciate the skills of Listening/Feeling (Ting Jin 聽勁) and the realization that 80% of your somatic sensations and embodied sense of self only happen through your fascial membranes and interstitial filaments.
I hope that you feel inspired to restore your innate capacity for Fascial Tensegrity (Yi Jin Jing 易筋經) and are on your way to learning the Twelve Gestures of Wei Tuo form.
Also, from the previous articles, you will understand the importance of building strength, tone, and pliability, through active resistance training like using kettlebells, body weight, and the Twenty-Four Movement External Vigor form. Stronger muscles and membranes, equally on both sides of your joints are the most effective approach to profound states of relaxation.
This process will benefit your metabolism, stress hormones, and overall health, as well as also increase your available collagen and stem cells – which are the primary medical indicators of longevity.
In Traditional Chinese medicine, the Yi Jin Jing process improves your meridians and your Jing 精 (Essence). In Daoist practice, if you have an abundance of Jin (collagen and contractile capacity) and Jing (Essence/Mojo), you can gradually store and embody this abundance in your Jing reservoirs, which are your Bones, Marrow, and Brain in TCM and Qi Gong theory. Some would say it is more accurate to describe this as a slowing of the natural aging process, more than literally filling your reservoirs with a physical substance.
In the Yi Jin Jing system that I teach, this part of the training involves both standing, seated, and lying Qi Gong, breathwork, and meditation practices. The standing practice revolves around a form called Daoist Heavy Hands. This form can be used for developing Iron Palm and Iron Body skills as well as for restoring the tissue matrix and some deeper fields within the Meridian network (Jing 經) of your deeper connective tissues, Bones, Marrow, and Brain.
This part of the Yi Jin Jing process is called Bone Marrow Washing (Xi Sui Jing 洗髓經), which is more meditative than physically active, and includes some advanced breath work and visualization practices. It also involves some very nuanced micro-movements and interactions that help you engage with the spatial position, long-axis pressures, and rotation/torsion of each of your bones individually.
From a scientific point of view, this kind of load on your bones could refine, not only the collagen matrix of your bones (healthy bones are 26% collagen), but also your bones’ overall physical resiliency to shock. This can happen because extended standing, as well as axial (along the bone) and torsional (twisting) load on your bones increases the production of Osteocalcin – which reduces the risk for many age-related health conditions, increases fertility (in men), cognition, longevity, and of course, measurably strengthens your bones.
In Daoist practice, there is an observation that Yang (Mind) transforms into Yin (Body). The opposite is also true. That can be seen on the level of the Dao or Universe. It can also be seen as a reflection of Nature and Life. In the natural world, the lives and shapes of trees and animals (and everything else) are determined by the climate and weather. In a similar way, your conscious state, your mood and emotional fluidity or ‘stuckness’ can determine some important qualities of Your Yi Jin Jing practice.
The transformational process (Yi 易), like most of life, is determined by your availability, sincerity, sense of meaning, coherence, and consistency. Every good day and every bad day, and how you or I respond, determines things like posture, playfulness, and patience – which have everything to do with your level of fitness and the capacity of all of your connective tissues (Jin 筋).
On a more subtle level, your state of Being (Yang) has a shape. Perhaps this can be measured through imaging your Heart Torus someday. If Yang becomes Yin, then it follows that the deepest levels of refinement of your meridians Jing 經 are determined (and limited) by the refinement of your conscious state.
This is why the Yi Jin Jing process includes, and is completed through, the most meditative, nuanced, and internal aspects of Qi Gong.
Yi Jin Jing is a Lifelong Practice
The way I was taught, it takes three years of practice to completely integrate all aspects of the Yi Jin Jing system. Each year, the process begins earlier in the Spring, and each part of the process takes more involvement, and the supporting practices become more important. After completing this process, practitioners usually maintain a shorter practice, until they attain ten years of practice.
After a few years of practice, the amount of effort and intensity becomes less and less physical, and much more about how coherently you experience your Inner Landscape, how deeply and slowly you breathe, and how profoundly you can enter into complete coherent interactive and meditative embodiment.
(This is an excerpt from Volume Thirteen – Shaolin Strength and Longevity Qi Gong)
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Founder of the Soma Dao Qi Gong Programs
My name is Michael Smith. I am a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine, as well as a Martial Arts, and Qi Gong teacher. I am also an Author, Speaker, Podcaster, and Professor; focusing on the combination of Ancient and Modern Healing methods to support patients with Autoimmune conditions, Complex Trauma, and Addiction.
I first encountered Qi Gong over 40 years ago and began studying with lineage-holding masters 37 years ago.
I have had the honour of supporting Qi Gong enthusiasts and teachers for the last 30 years.
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