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Season 1 - Episode 13

Radiant Heart

15 min - Practice


Patricia shares a Qi Gong practice designed to promote warmth and vitality in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, and joints. Pulsing from the core with spiral-like motion, we gather, move, and restore energy in the body. You will feel a sense of spacious ease and grounding.
What You'll Need: Mat


Read Full Transcript

(waves crashing) Hello. This practice is about finding spacious ease as well as grounding, so sometimes the two don't go together, but they do with this. These are some Qigong practices that I learned variations of, taught by Teja Bell and he calls his practice Radiant Heart Qigong, and I really feel that radiance coming when I do these practices. So the first one is pulsing from the core, the core being the center of our spine, the center of our body. So the beginning movement is to spiral the arms around so the backs of the hands are together and the legs are a bit more bent than they will be in the next movement, and your spine is kind of a C-shape.

The second movement is to un-spiral, or spiral in the opposite direction, come forward on the feet, and now the shoulder blades are coming together and the front spine is open. So I'll turn, I can see the, exhale, dropping the sacrum and coming into a C-shape, inhale, come to the front part of the feet, and turn the palms up. Exhale, swing the hands around. Squatting a little bit deeper, inhale, and you're doing it at its own pace. Your movement is coordinated with your breathing here.

And as you do that, you'll find that you get the hands together on the exhalation when it's just about finished and then you can swirl the hands back around, and at the end of this movement you've just finished your inhale, exhale, back on the heels, rounding, inhale, opening, one more, exhale, rounding, feel the weight in the heels, feel the connection to the earth as well as the movement in the spine. And then just bring the hands around. You're dropping, releasing the hands down, and a little dispersal activity as though to just disperse and release leftover energy. And just feel your arms and your hands, your spine. In Qigong we keep the knees slightly bent.

Qigong is all about gathering and storing energy. I guess I would say, gathering, moving, and storing energy. So we want the energy to move through some tight places in the joints. Now we're gonna do a chi bath. We're going to bathe ourselves in chi.

So the hands start, the elbows and the armpits are open, there's that little knee bend, inhale, exhale, and inhale sweep the arms up, gradually turning the palms up and allowing them to reach up high, receiving, exhale, pour what you've received from the Cosmos down, over and through your body, finishing the exhalation as your hands come down and back up. Inhaling. So the spine is doing the pulsing from the core movement, exhale, pour down and through you, now as I'm getting closer to finishing my exhale, I'm in that rounded spine position, inhale up, gradually straightening the knees and coming a little more onto the front of the feet. Receive, it's so important to just put that into your system that you can receive. Inhale back up, and I like to think about, after receiving the bath, bathing yourself, showering yourself inside and out, and it's almost like a French press.

Oh, let that all go down, it needs to go away. Ah, down into the earth. Inhale, up. Receiving, pouring over your crown, cleansing right and left sides of the body with your palms. One more.

Feel your breath, feel... the ease of the movement, it's the ease and softness of the muscles that helps the chi to move. And then you get down to the bottom, you do that little dispersal movement, just like you're letting it go. And then you can shake out a little if you like. Sometimes I bounce.

And then either with eyes open or closed, just tune in and feel, is there some sense of more groundedness along with the spaciousness? The Chinese medicine talks about energy channels through the body that come out of the heart and lungs and travel down the arms and into the fingers. So we're really opening into that meridian system and stimulating and opening the heart and the lungs as well as the whole body. Now we're gonna do something called ellipticals. I'm putting my left hand on my belly and the thumb of my right hand tucks into that spot.

This is just below the navel. And I'm gonna let my right hand go, reaching out just a little bit, and this is like the wind-up swing, and then you come in and turn the little finger side of the hand up along the body and then spin the arm out, almost like swimming as you come down, you're stroking the air down, inhale, up, you can let your peripheral vision watch, you don't have to turn all the way. Body turns a little, inhale up, when the breath is finished, you're exhaling and coming down. I love the feeling of the air passing through my fingers especially on this down stroke, it's just so lovely. And then up again, we're gonna do one more on this side.

Exhale down, and then scoop the thumb back inside. Take a breath into your belly, feel that little slight knee bend. Notice anything else that you notice. And then we're releasing the other hand, getting ready for the wind-up. Here we come in, spiraling the little finger side of the hand up the body and then it turns around and comes down, and up again, and there's a little straighter leg and knee, and open chest as you're reaching up, and a little bend as you're swinging down.

Your own pace of breathing. So while you maybe watching me on the video as you're doing this from time to time, don't necessarily try to keep up with my pace, I'm talking anyway. Yeah, just enjoy this with your own pace of breath. Feel the air passing through your fingers. One more, sweeping up, feel the energy also follow up through your core, exhale down, you're gonna place the hand on the belly again... thumb tucked in.

Tune into that, that being the ineffable. So we're touching into, because we're working with chi, with life force, we're touching into that... Ineffable mystery. So here's a little fun thing that some of you might enjoy, I hope you all enjoy it. I'm gonna scoop up with my right hand and as I swim down with that hand I'm gonna scoop up with the left.

So now you're not trying to coordinate your breath with any one arm movement but you're allowing your breath to move in whatever way it wants to, and you're following, you can just be gazing straight ahead, and allowing your peripheral vision, and really it's more about feeling than seeing here. What does this feel like? And by the way, if your arms or shoulders are stiff, I'm gonna make very small movements now. You can make very small movements with the arms and shoulders so that you don't feel cLunky or grindy or achy or painful. Even this, allows for the energy to pass through and lubricate and give you spaciousness.

Okay, one more bigger, and then we're gonna find the hands both coming back to the belly. And pause. Really let your belly support your hands and your hands feel into the breath. Whole being, feeling into a sense of grounding and spaciousness. So now this one is not really a Qigong practice, but it's so Qigong-like, it might as well be.

I call this swimming. So I'm gonna turn and let my right arm just kind of come up and overhead. I do swim, so. And then in a normal swim stroke, you come down with your thumb facing down into the water. But instead of just going into the stroke, let's do this, let's turn the thumb down and reach with that turning shoulder to whatever degree is possible, and then do the stroke, and turn your body with the stroke and come back around.

You're just swinging up and turning with the stroke. And reach for a moment and then turn the hand down. Sometimes you might want to roll the shoulder in and out, roll the hand in and out. It's about just lubricating, getting some life force moving through. One more, just reach and turn.

You can see my whole, I'm even getting a nice side bend with this. And then down, and pause. Okay, second arm. So the arm comes up. It's a spiral, I've learned through the Qigong how great spiraling is for the joints.

And then the palm turns down, now we're spiraling in the opposite direction as we bring this arm up and around. So we go out, there is that inward spiral, reaching, palm turns down, arm comes back. Now we're spiraling in the opposite direction. Under efforting is about the best thing you can do in Qigong. Over-efforting will actually block the energy from moving in the way that we want it to move.

So that's why I sometimes suggest smaller movements. Like this movement could be, bringing of the arm up, just not so big, not so grand. Not so grandiose, and then this reach might just be that far. And you can allow that little side bend to come in, scoop down again. This is gonna be our last stroke, around, and then just back.

Hands on belly again, breathe into your belly. (sighs) Feeling. I love the upper body warmth with this. Okay, so just to round all that out, so to speak, we're gonna do a few shoulder rolls where you lift your arms, keeping the hands lightly touching the thighs helps to keep it out of the elbows, and just into your shoulders and shoulder blades. And so up towards the ears, forward, and then squeezing back a little bit, and up again.

So this is a roll forward. Squeeze back, up, and around. Yes, and then let's go the other direction. So now you lift up and you squeeze back first and drop, up, back, and, it actually isn't a drop, it's a slow descending movement while you're drawing the shoulder blades together. Just two more, one, shoulder blades are together, you can see it's a smooth movement, not a sudden letting go.

Yeah, and then, shake out, it can feel really good. Trembling horse. (trills lips) Knees are quite bent, and slowly unstack. These practices make me so happy. I hope you enjoy them too, namaste.


Simon ?
Love this practise of small graceful movements. It does seem to allow more flow than reaching out to the extents. Thank you for sharing.
Patricia Sullivan
Ah, so glad you appreciate the approach here. Subtlety with graceful movements, with a little less effort, to me this is a recipe for reviving our own storehouse of energy. Thank you for touching in.
Lina S
2 people like this.
I feel so relaxed. It eases stress and worries, particularly in this period of time with the COVID-19 pandemy. Thank you!
Patricia Sullivan
Hello Lina, So sweet to know you felt the easing of  your stress. Beloved Yoga, she has so much to offer us.
Sara S
1 person likes this.
Patricia Sullivan
So happy you enjoyed this piece. I may go back to it for myself as I remember how soothing the graceful movements were. Lovely to hear from you. Love, P

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