In the first article about Five Energy Gates in Qigong – Part One I was talking about some basics related to five main energy gates and about the first pair of these gates – Yongquan points, located on our feet.
In general we use energy gates in Qigong to regulate the level of our body energy by absorbing a qi from our surrounding or by expelling the excess of heat from our body. Energy gates can be used also for sensing the energy field of the people with whom we interact. This aspect is interesting for qigong healers and also for practitioners of internal martial arts. The last ones use knowledge about the regulation through energy gates to increase their fighting effectiveness.
A Man in Harmony with Heaven and Earth
The concept of working with energy gates in Qigong (not only with these five main energy gates) has roots in a Taoist tradition. In a practice of Taoist qigong one of essential things is to learn how to live in harmony with two great powers of Heaven and Earth. We, humans, primarily connect with Earth’s energy (Earth Qi) by Yonquan points on our feet (see Five Energy Gates in Qigong – Part One). Laogong points on our palms and Baihui point on the top of our head are main energy gates through which we connect with the Heaven’s energy (Heaven Qi). A man is located between Heaven and Earth. A connectedness with Earth Qi gives us roots, stability and self-healing power, connectedness with Heaven Qi gives us a lightness of physical body, awareness and clear mind.
In this article I will talk about other three energy gates: two Laogong points on our palms and fifth gate, Baihui point , on the top of our head.
Laogong / Labour Palaces
Laogong is a point located in the middle of our palm and is the eighth point on a pericardium meridian (Pc-8). If we make a fist, Laogong point is where the middle finger touches our palm.
The stronger is qi flow through our palms the more sensitive is our sense of touch. A strong qi flow through our hands is very important for handwork and this explains why Chinese term Laogong is translated as Labour Palaces. These two points are significant for energetic healing. Qigong healers and other people who work with energy cultivate Laogong points and use them in their work.
Laogong is also one of the most important points for expelling an excess of heat outside the body. In Traditional Chinese Medicine they use Laogong points together with Yongquan points in cases of high fever. Often they lower the body temperature by putting patient’s legs into cold water and putting some alcohol on his palms (where Laogong points are located). In this way a temperature on these four gates lower and automatically draw excess of heat from the inside of the body in the direction of four gates through which is expelled out of the body.
In Chinese martial arts working with Laogong points represent an important part of the training. Practitioners can strengthen a qi flow in their arms and hands, and in this way energize muscles to a higher degree. In internal martial arts this training is also important for developing the skill of “skin listening”.
While we are working with Laogong points we can have various sensations. At the beginning is very common to feel tingling or feeling of static electricity or warmth which can gradually increase. A sensation familiar to me is that you feel only a very strong flow of qi which emanates from your hands outside the physical body. If you put your hand on other people they often say that your hands are hot, but in fact their temperature is normal.
Baihui / Hundred Meetings
In some Qigong literature you can find that as a fifth main energy gate is considered the whole head (including Upper Dan Tian, face and Baihui point). Our face is the part of the head that is especially sensitive. Usually is the first one to sense the temperature in our surrounding. Our face reflects also our emotions with our facial expression or by changing a color.
At the beginning is easier to work with Baihui point, but later we can use as a fifth gate Upper Dan Tian. Baihui point is located on Du Mai extraordinary meridian (Governing Vessel) (GV-20) on the top of the head on the line which connects two tops of our ears. Usually we say that Baihui is on the top or in the middle of the head but if we are more precise – it is located near a crown hair whorl.
A term Baihui is translated from Chinese as “Hundred Meeting” because in this area converge various Yang meridians.
When we start working with this point the flow of Heaven Qi that enters in our body increases and we can feel warmth in this area. Gradually when Baihui is activated we have a feeling as if we are breathing simultaneously with lungs and also energetically with Baihui and we have feeling of spaciousness and openness.
Baihui is very sensitive and when we work with it we have to use “soft” awareness. If we feel pressure probably we use too strong focus. We have to stop our practice and return to it some other day, when we are more relaxed and calm.
Sensing energy gates
Energy gates are a part of our body energy system and in qigong is very important to learn how to feel them by purposefully directing attention of our mind to these spots .
First we have to start feeling energy gates, then open them and learn how to use them. First step is a regular practice of qigong exercises which help us to improve our posture, alignment, stability and to relax our body on different levels, from the skin to internal organs. When our body and mind are relaxed, it is much easier to feel qi. The second part of the training is regular standing qigong (Nei Gong) which helps us to develop our inner awareness and enables us to feel the difference between places where qi flows smoothly and where there is a blockade. After that we can dedicate more time to the practice of energy “breathing” where we learn how to lead qi through energy gates.
“Breathing” through Energy Gates
“Breathing” through five energy gates means that we learn how to exchange a body qi with the qi of surrounding and in this way regulate flow of energy in these five gates. For this purpose is the most appropriate to use reverse abdominal breathing, sometimes called Taoist abdominal breathing. When we inhale we imagine that we draw the energy from our surrounding through energy gates and then through our limbs to the center of the body (Lower Dan Tian). While exhaling we lead the energy from the center through limbs to energy gates and then outside the body. In this way we know how to lead qi through energy gates in both directions. When we become skillful in this kind of breathing, we get a feeling that our lung breathing and breathing through energy gates happen simultaneously.
We start to learn this breathing through energy gates gradually. First we start to learn Yongquan breathing, then Laogong breathing and Baihui breathing. Later we combine them together (Four gates breathing and Five gates breathing). At the beginning it is easier to practice these breathings in a still standing position. The next step is to use this breathing while we are moving.
Our final goal is that this breathing through energy gates becomes to us completely normal and we can do it without thinking about.
Other Energy Gates
A Breathing through five energy gates presents in qigong one of the ways to activate and use our vital energy, qi. Besides these five energy gates there are many other spots, energy gates, in the human body where we can regulate qi flow. We will talk about this topic in one of future blogs.
May the Qi be with you!
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