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Strengthening the Foundation and Energizing the Origin to Keep the Spirit at Peace ---Bending and Stretching in the Routine of "Strengthening Kidney by Touching Feet with Hands"

"Stretching and bending" is not only a form of exercise, but also a way of thinking that the exerciser should have. The kidney is the congenital origin and the source of life. With the exercises of stretching, bending and touching the feet, the effect of strengthening and nourishing the kidneys will be achieved, which may after all be accepted as the fitness regimen philosophy of the wise. Plain methods include general principles. In this way of thinking, the exerciser will benefit a lot when understanding the world, the nature and the social development.
To achieve the heart-kidney interaction and nourish the foundation of inborn constitution are the essentials of movements in the routine of "Strengthening Kidney by Touching Feet with Hands" in Health Qigong • Ba Duan Jin. Heart is the container of the spirits and the stage of the minds; while the kidney is both the congenital origin and the source of life. Heart-kidney interaction can not only keep the mind and spirit at peace, but also play a strong role in strengthening the kidneys. Heart-kidney interaction should be achieved in the exercises of stretching, bending and touching the feet. In other words, the movability and balance of stretching and bending are the effective ways to achieve heart-kidney interaction.
In fact, the exercises of stretching, bending and touching the feet strengthen and cultivate the congenital origin in the course of movability and balance. The movability is the precondition for life existence. Without the movability, the life would not exist; the balance is the objective requirement of life existence. Without the balance, adverse symptoms in life entity would occur. Change means transformation and variation, while the invariable means durable adherence. The routine of "Strengthening Kidney by Touching Feet with Hands" in Health Qigong · Ba Duan Jin embodies the dialectical thinking wisdom in the course of movability and balance, which informs the exerciser that where should move, how to move and how to grasp the balance point of degree and amount in the exercise. The experience obtained in practicing this routine is summarized as follows:
Above all, talk about that where the exerciser should move first to achieve the heart-kidney interaction. Where the exerciser moving first is the focused and local, which should be exercised in the movement course. Without the emphasis, there is no general situation; without the local part, there is no overall situation. It is also the principle contained in the holistic view of Health Qigong. The kidneys are local parts in the whole body, which are also the key points in practicing this routine. Why the kidney is called the congenital origin? First, the main physiological function of kidney is to store essence, govern the inspiration, regulate water, enhance the bones, generate marrows and store the will, as well as serve as the sources of growth, development and reproduction. Kidney stores the essence, which is the fundamental to give birth and cultivate the body. The essence of internal organs is stored in the kidney, and it is the "energy storehouse" of the body. Kidney stores the essence of internal organs and serves as the sources of reproduction, determine the human sexual function and reproductive capacity; The essence of kidney cultivate the bones and nourish the brain; Combining with the triple energizers and bladders, the kidney regulates the body fluid, which plays a role in filtering the blood and excreting waste and poison; Combining with the lung and spleen, the kidney governs the water metabolism and regulation of the body. The course of birth, growth, the robust, old age and death in human life exist a direct relationship with the renal function. Second, it is because that the function of kidney is the fundamental to determine the strength of human natural endowment, growth and development speed, as well as the rise and fall of functions of the organs. The kidney being congenital origin is relative to the spleen being acquired foundation. The "congenital" refers to the essence endowed with the parents, as well as the congenital Qi cultivated by the congenital essence, which is heritable, and it is the principle of human life. In the course of individual life, it is born before the body, which is the motivity to form the congenital organs and facilitate the growth and development of human life.
Secondly, talk about how to achieve the heart-kidney interaction. That is, how to achieve the movability. Obviously, bending forward and stretching backward are the basic forms of the method of this routine. Why the movement of bending forward and stretching backward could "strengthen the kidney"? After practicing this routine for a long time, the exerciser will feel refreshed after every practice, and the body is full of vitality. In fact, it is the basic effect to achieve in practicing the movements of this routine. From the view of Traditional Chinese Medicine theories, bending forward and stretching backward can stimulate the spine, lumbar spine, Du channel, the urinary bladder meridian of foot-taiyang (in the open near Du fifth of an inch), the life-gate point, Shenshu point and Yangguan point of the human body, which has effects of traction and massage on the kidneys. The traction and massage on the kidneys will enhance the function of generating essence and Qi of kidney, and facilitate the unobstructed capacity of the life-gate acupoint between the second and third lumbar spinous process, which is relevant to the access of kidney Qi and the life-sustaining of human. Moreover, the function of Shenshu acupoint on the urinary bladder meridian of foot-taiyang to transform the kidney Qi will be enhanced (if the transformation function of this point fails. It may cause the lumbar muscle strain). And the Yangguan acupoint on the fourth lumbar spinous process is the important pass for Yang Qi and the Kidney Qi in Du channel (it sustains the maximum pressure in the activities of the body. The Kidney Qi and Yang Qi are easily obstructed here and cause lumbar disc herniation). Through stimulating this point, it becomes unobstructed and the function of the kidney is strengthened. The waist is the container of the kidneys. Kidneys can generate marrow and nourish bones. The enhancement of the essence and Qi of the kidney can warm and nourish the waist, so that the meridians and acupoints in the waist can be unblocked, which also benefit the metaplasia function of the essence and Qi of kidney. Both hands move from the waist down to the heels, move upward along the three yin meridians of foot after moving around the feet, combining with breathing and ideas guiding Qi, which further stimulate the urinary bladder meridian of foot-taiyang and kidney channels of foot-shaoyin, especially the Weizhong acupoint on the urinary bladder meridian (Weizhong acupoint is one of the "four total points" and the He acupoint of the Five Shu acupoints on the urinary bladder meridian of foot-taiyang bladder. It is the intersection of the urinary bladder meridian of foot-taiyang and kidney channels of foot-shaoyin, so it has a significant effect on the health care and pain of the waist). If the meridians and important points are unobstructed, the health care effect on the waist will be improved. Therefore, combining with the form, Qi and the spirit, the movements of this routine in Ba Duan Jin play a role in strengthening and cultivating the congenital origin, through bending forward and stretching backward, touching feet with hands and strengthening the waist. It reaches the subtlety and highly coincide with the dialectical thinking method, namely, the door hinges never get worm-eaten (practice keeps one always fit).
Moreover, talk about the dialectical thinking method of heart-kidney interaction embodied in the movements of this routine. The design of the movement forms in this routine embodies the dialectical thinking method of movability and balance, so as to achieve the goal of strengthening and cultivating the congenital origin. Several movement forms are listed here: (1) From the top down. The key points of this routine are to bend the cervical vertebra, thoracic vertebra, lumbar vertebra, sacral vertebra, and caudal vertebra section by section from the top down, which seems like the carpet rolling from the top down. Each vertebra of the spine is bent and loose. (2) From the bottom up. Make the caudal vertebra, sacral vertebra, lumbar vertebra, thoracic vertebra and cervical vertebra upright from bending section by section from the bottom up. Each vertebra becomes upright from bending, and the entire spine connects as a whole after being upright. (3) Bent and curved. Make the knees upright and the upper body bending forward, to fully stimulate the spine, Du channel, as well as the life-gate, Yangguan, Weizhong and other acupoints. Try to push the palms down when the upper body bending forward. If the exerciser can not reach the heel due to the ligament, the remaining guide movements can be completed above the heel and near the shank. Do not bend the knees. If doing the bending exercise well, the exerciser will feel warm in the waist, and the entire spine is relaxed and unobstructed, being full of Qi. (4) Open and close. The movements in this routine move backward from the cervical vertebra, thoracic vertebra, lumbar vertebra, sacral vertebra, caudal vertebra and even the whole body when bending, to the maximum extent that the vertebras stretch successively. The vertebras close successively and conversely when the body is upright. That is, the "open and close" in this routine further reflects the dialectical thinking method. In fact, the dialectical thinking method of "open and close" can also be found from more movements. (5) Fast and slow. The slower the better, when practicing this routine. It is better to experience the feeling that the spine rolls slowly section by section. If the exerciser moves too fast, the essence of Qi and blood can not be taken in the Du channel. When starting to practice, the exerciser may breathe naturally. Nevertheless, the skilled exerciser should exhale when the upper body bending forward, and inhale when the upper body upright. The movements should coordinate with the breath slowly and gently. The body should be upright in the closing form. Sink Qi to the Dantian, put the palms together before the lower abdomen, and rest for a moment. Therefore, the movements in the complete course all embody the dialectical thinking method of movability and balance.
Finally, talk about the balance state of heart-kidney interaction. There is a core movement in this routine, that is, touching feet with both hands. In fact, it is a very significant way in the health theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine, namely the heart-kidney interaction method. Laogong acupoints are on the palms, which are the essential points of the pericardium channel. The Yongquan acupoints are on the soles of the feet, which are the origin of the kidney channel. Therefore, put palms and soles of the feet together to achieve heart-kidney interaction and the physical and mental balance. To maintain a balance state of human life means that the physicochemical properties of the internal environment only changes in a small range in the normal physiological condition. In fact, the relatively stable state of the internal environment refers to the balance state of human motion, and this state is a relatively stable balance. Once human life loses the dynamic balance, people may suffer diseases caused by the abnormal human life activities.
Then, what role the routine "Strengthening Kidney by Touching Feet with Hands" plays in maintaining the dynamic balance of human life? Specifically, it is mainly the following eight points. (1) The movements in this routine are dynamic. The dynamic state exists in the motion and variation course of bending and upstanding. The spine bending forward and stretching backward sharply stretches the waist muscles fully, which is a typical characteristic of dynamic balance of human life. (2) The movements in this routine are in a balance. The human body always maintains in the relative stability at a certain condition. The balance state of the body is the precondition of human existence and normal activities. Only in a balance state, can human maintain the external and internal activities. Touching feet with hands can stretch the muscles at the back of legs. The movements in this routine can improve the balance capacity of the waist and legs, strengthen the flexibility, as well as prevent lumbar muscle strain, sciatica and other symptoms. (3) The movements in this routine are systemic. The human body is a big system, in which it is divided into many small systems, and each system is in the movement of the dynamic balance. Taking the waist as the axis, the movements of opening and closing and stretching and bending are gentle and coherent, which can regulate the body and the breath, but also keep the mind at peace in the exercise. (4) The movements in this routine are layered. The human body itself is layered, so each dynamic balance system of the human life is layered. The dynamic balance movements of human life are developed from the low level to high level. The emphasis of the movements in this routine is the movement of the entire spine. It makes the spine and the muscle groups at its both sides exercise gently, which prompts each vertebra position in an orderly manner. The vertebras bending or stretching one by one can effectively prevent the lumbar spondylitis, cervical spondylitis and other diseases. (5) The movements in this routine are adaptive. Each movement of the body always has a certain tendency. After the tendency of one kind of movement losing the balance, it needs to restore the balance state. The waist of human plays a unique role in adapting the tendency. The waist protects the internal viscera, nerves and blood vessels, which also has effects in compression, stretch, improvement and the adaption of the development tendency of the viscera system. (6) The movements in this routine are continuous. Each dynamic balance movement in the dynamic balance system of human life is unceasing. If the previous state of balance is broken, the new state of balance will be established, and this course is continuous in time. The movements of this routine can improve the functions of the adrenal gland, prostate, ureter, bladder and other organs of the genitourinary system, through constantly stretching and massaging. The waist is the container of the kidneys. The condition of kidneys can be embodied by the waist. The kidneys can be nourished through the exercise of the waist. If the patients with lumbar muscle strain or lumbar disc herniation insist on practicing the movements of this routine, they will inevitably change the situation of waist muscle spasms due to ongoing work, pain nerve endings oppressive. (7) The movements in this routine are in the unity of opposites. The dynamic balance of human life is constituted by the dynamic factors, which are in the unity of opposites. The dynamic factors can be two-sided, but also can be various. The movements in this routine are composed of various dynamic factors. For instance, the bent and curved, open and close, fast and slow, from top down and from bottom up all reflect the dialectical thinking method of unity and opposites. (8) The movements in this routine are integrated. Integrity is the premise of each dynamic balance system. There are complete method formulas in the movements of this routine, namely, spread the feet shoulder-width apart horizontally, put both hands before the belly; turn backward in the left and right, inhale Tibet between lumbar support; style to go with the gas given depth, breath bending of waist plate full circle; gesture guide do not force, relaxing the waist and abdomen to keep springs. And there are complete movement steps, namely, the first step is to draw the left foot to the inside of right foot, bring feet together and stand upright; droop both arms naturally on the side of body; change the fists into palms, touching the outside of the thigh lightly. With inhaling, lift both arms onward and upward as wide as the shoulder; stretch the body backward with head leaning back, and stare at the hands. The second step is that the body bends forward gradually and bows deeply with exhaling, with both knees being straight. At the same time, both hands touch the toes as the body bending forward and downward (if the exerciser can not achieve it, just change to touch the ground with two fingers). Raise the head slightly and looking at the hands. The third step is that both hands moving to the heels from the outside of the feet with inhaling, the body slowly raising and stretching backward with both knees being straight; at the same time, both palms attaching to the backside of the legs and moving up to the back, and then pressing Shenshu acupoint; looking straight ahead. The fourth step is to drop both arms naturally to the side of the body with exhaling. Palms lightly attaching to the outside of thighs; keep the body upright and look straight ahead. Therefore, through the analysis in these eight aspects, it can be more clearly recognized that the movements in this routine not only highlight the dynamic balance state of human life overall, but also show a deeper understanding of the dialectical thinking method of strengthen and cultivate the congenital origin.
To sum up, movement methods of this routine "Strengthening Kidney by Touching Feet with Hands" are not complicated, and the dialectical thinking method embodied in its spirit is the inexhaustible source of life and wisdom treasure of fitness regimen of the exercisers. 
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