Treat Your Kidneys Well
What if we had a cold and went to a Chinese doctor?
He may examine our pulse and say, "Kidneys no good." Then he would prescribe Chinese herbs to strengthen our kidneys while we were wondering what that had to do with our cold.
Unlike antibiotics that act like foreign soldiers fighting a war within our body, strengthening our kidneys is a way to activate our own soldiers to fight off unfriendly invaders. As we learn that Chinese medicine works on balancing the body (prevention and medicine) rather than attacking disease, strong kidneys is an important key to a healthy, long life. Our own soldiers are capable and effective.
On our own, we empower the kidneys through mindful QiGong (Translation - Qi = Energy, Gong = Work) practices that enhance our immune system, support our innate ability to heal ourselves and stay healthy.
According to the Tao, kidneys store our reserved life force energy, or the essence of life, called Jing. Kidneys are where the Zhi, or Intention Spirit, lives. Our will power depends on the kidneys and when it is strong, not only we can recover or avoid illness, but we are likely to be successful in life - singlehandedly accomplishing difficult goals. When the emotions in the kidneys are balanced, we have less fear and stress while gentleness, calmness and peace become more apparent.
Get To Know Your Kidneys'
In Chinese medicine, kidneys are energetically connected to the ears and are physically located under the floating ribs (lowest ribs), above the waist line and one inch to each side of the spine. Kidneys tend to be cool, but can be cold when we are experiencing fear. The kidneys' meridians run down to the feet to the points called Bubbling Spring which are found on the soles.
Treat your kidneys well and always remember that " When your kidneys are strong, your will power will be strong."
The following QiGong practices, when practiced daily, greatly increase the strength of the kidneys:
Stand in a QiGong stance, feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent.
Cover the kidneys with the palms of your hands, allowing the heat of the palms to warm the kidneys. (You can rub the palms together to create the heat before holding the kidneys)
1. Smile to your kidneys.
2. Inhale through the nostrils and imagine the breath going directly into the kidneys. Use your mind to see the kidneys actually expand.
3. Expand the rib cage as your kidneys are expanding.
4. Keep smiling.
5. Exhale and contract the rib cage and kidneys. Imagine you are pushing breath out of the actual kidney as you push air out of your lungs.
6. Practice this for 9 or more rounds until you can feel the nice and warm feeling there.
Add Depth To Your GiGong Kidney Practice
1. Smile to your kidneys.
2. Breathe in to the kidneys, expanding them.
3. At the same time, stand on the toes to activate the Bubbling Spring.
4. Hold the breath and lightly tap both kidneys with your loose fists.
5. Keep smiling to your kidneys.
6. Now, exhale and and lower the heels into a normal standing position.
7. As you exhale, make the kidneys' sound " choo " visualizing the negative energy in the kidneys being released down into the earth.
8. Do this 9 rounds or more. Overtime, this will energize and detoxify your beautiful kidneys.
Advanced Qi Gong of The Golden Turtle and Water Buffalo*
The Turtle is one of the five powerful Iron Shirt QiGong postures which strengthens both kidneys and the lower back. You may start the practice with a chair supporting the forearms but eventually must learn to do it without the chair.
2. Stand a bit wider than shoulder width apart.
3. Make loose fists and put them together in front of your chest.
4. Bend down so that the back is parallel to the ground or forearms resting on the chair if you are using the chair. The back has to be as flat as a table and the head aligning the spine with chin slightly tucked in. You may need to check your position in a mirror.
5. Smile to your kidneys.
6. Breathe into the kidneys as you remain in this position for 30 seconds or until you feel the pain in the legs.
7. Through the daily practice, increase the time to one to five or to ten minutes without having the pain in the legs. This practice needs some time to train the muscles.
NOTE: You may feel heat building up in your head which needs releasing through the The Water Buffalo posture.
Practice The Buffalo Posture After The The Turtle
2. Release the fists and forearms while slightly squatting down.
3. Let the arms hanging in front.
4. Relax, inhale less but exhale more.
5. Focus in exhaling and use the hands to guide the energy from the lower abdomen and the groin out of your body. (The heat that was built up in the head from The Turtle will be released and balanced in the body) Exhale this energy out 9 times.
Finish your QiGong Practice
1. Stand up straight, with slightly bent knees.
2. Turn the arms and palms towards the universe.
3. Collect the cosmic particles and energy from nature in your hands. (This is not a metaphor. "Where the mind goes, the chi flows", so gather the strong, clean energy from the universe and the forces of nature in your hands with the power of your mind. The more you practice, the better you will get.)
4. Place your hands on the navel and press this external qi in to your belly to blend with your own as you consciously collect the energy just below the navel inside your body (about 1 inch inside).
5. Visualize a beautiful pearl where you have collected your qi.
*Contra indications for The Golden Turtle and The Buffalo postures:
Postures are not suitable for people with high blood pressure. Please consult your doctors before practicing them. The best practice for the kidneys may be to just smile, get in touch with them and keep them warm.
by Morakot Piyakesin, Universal Tao Certified Instructor