Finger Dexterity

Most of the hand movements in Tai Chi involve the whole hands, not individual finger motion. But that’s no reason to neglect your digits. Here’s a really cool video on finger exercises, designed in particular for musicians, but it can help us all.

Take your time, don’t try to do all the exercises fast and with lots of tension. Remember your Tai Chi training, breathe slowly and deeply, move gently at your own pace, and start with just a few if your hands are tight. Come back to this video every day for a week or two to do the whole set. Make a qigong set out of this, focusing on your energy flowing to your hands and through your fingers.

Don’t feel surprised if your fingers just don’t want to do some of the exercises. Just play with them, stay calm and enjoy a laugh at your incoordination. This too will get better in time. Be patient and just have some fun. Then when you get really good, like this guy, you can impress your friends and relatives!

Microcosmic Orbit

What is the microcosmic orbit? No, it’s not a tiny planet orbiting around the sun. It’s a flow of energy through the body. Going from the base of the spine, it goes up the Du or Governing channel, to the head where it connects through the tongue to the Ren or Conception channel, back down to the dan tien.

This page has an excellent understanding and description of the microcosmic orbit, and how to activate it during meditation. The goal is to move qi through the body, collecting and storing it in the dan tien. This can be practiced almost any time you have a spare moment, energizing the body when you need a lift. I practice it when I’m walking, especially up hills, and I feel it does give me more energy.

The page I am linking to above has a video of the 8 Pieces of Brocade practice that is a great introduction to Qi Gong moves. It also explains the purpose of the various exercises and the qi/health benefits.