by Dr. Anthony B. James DM(P), ND, MD(AM), DPHC(h.c.), SMOKH
Director of Education at The Thai Yoga Center and The SomaVeda™ Institute of Natural Healing
Assistant Editor: Lydia Smith
SomaVeda Reishi Hand Yoga and Chi Gung
This is an introductory course on the basics of SomaVeda Reishi Hand Yoga and Chi Gung presented by Aachan, Dr. James during a live class at The Thai Yoga Center in Plant City, Florida.
SomaVeda Reishi is a simple and sophisticated self-yoga practice that has many benefits. The practice begins with either the Wai Khruu (paying respect) or with Chi Gung warm-ups. This particular sequence begins with basic Chi Gung energy gathering and balancing exercises or movements that support the flow of energy in all of the meridians and respective organs. The same movements also bring energy, attention, consciousness, breath and pressure to the Chakras and the major Lom or Wind Gates located in all of the major joints of the body. These movements counter the effects of aging and loss of vitality. They loosen the entire shoulder girdle passing benefits down the arms to the elbows and wrist and finger joints. This sequence is therapeutic for repetitive stress issues and syndromes of the hands, wrist and shoulders such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Tennis Elbow and Frozen Shoulder to name a few.
This basic Hand Yoga Vinyasa can be done comfortably in ten or fifteen minutes as a solo practice. It’s a great adjunct to any Hatha Yoga practice or as a warm up for other practices or conditioning including before a healing session.
1) Kidney Pump: The kidney pump is perhaps the most ancient of Chi development exercises and has been practiced in similar form for thousands of years.
Stand a little wider than hip width apart with slightly bent knees. Begin by swinging the arms from side to side allowing them to impact the sides and mid-back of the body over the kidneys. This is stimulating to the kidneys and begins to emphasize the breath. Drop down into your stance and allow yourself to be grounded while freely swing the arms twenty or more times to both sides. Be sure to keep your eyes open.
2) Macrocosmic breath and Arm Swing: The macrocosmic orbit is the energy circuit that connects heaven and earth into our bodies. Make big arm circles in your bent knee stance. Exhale as your arms move down and forward making the largest circle you can without straining and then inhale as you raise your arms up the back side reaching up as high as you can extending the fingers throughout the full circular motion. Go slow enough that you can do a four-count breath with each exhale and inhale. Do ten big circles in each direction. Keep your hands shoulder width apart or wider in front and try to bring them closer together in the back. When you reverse direction also reverse the breath. Breathe in as you raise your arms to the front and exhale as you drop them in the back.
3) Garuda Arm Swing: Garuda was Rama’s friend and steed in the myth Ramayana and was a great winged creature, very common in Thai symbology. Garuda is a protector and generally depicted with his great wings out stretched. This motion is a vigorous and powerful Kriya generating breath power (Wei Chi) while opening the microcosmic orbit channel, which travels through the heart out to the fingertips.
Start with the arms crossed left over right and swing out and away keeping the height of the arms up at least at shoulder height (higher is better). Swing out, keeping the hands open and fingers extended. When you reach the end of the motion and feel the springing tension in the arms and shoulders then bring the arms back together, however this time bring them into position right arm over left. Repeat with a big breath, inhale as you swing out and exhale vigorously as the arms come back together. Repeat at least ten times. Keep your intensity modest until your arms and shoulders warm up properly.
Assume the Chi Stance with the heels out and the toes in. The knees bent inward till they lock to provide a stable base for the hand yoga sequence.
4) Reishi Hand Positions 1- 4
A) Inward Wrist Lock (Flexion/Lateral Rotation)
B) Elbow Squeeze (Adduction of Shoulder and Wrist Flexion)
C) Outward Wrist Lock (Shoulder Adduction, Forearm Pronation, Wrist Flexion and Medial Rotation)
D) Tan Sau/ Palm Up Fold Down (Shoulder Adduction and Wrist Extension)
5) Extended Finger Circles 5 times each way
6) Closed finger/Fist Circles 5 times each way
7) Tight Fist/Exploding Fingers: Alternate a tight fist for five count and then extend the fingers outward as if they were exploding, as hard as you can for five count. Alternate between the two motions at least five times. It is very important here to do both the squeeze and the extension as hard as you can.
8) Loose finger Shake or Flap
9) Clap three times. Keep your hand and fingers loose and not rigid. When you clap make it pop!
10) Tadasana and Energy Ball: Assume Tadasana or Mountain pose with the arms parallel to the floor, the hands relaxed, and the fingers extended. The hands are approximately shoulder width apart or slightly closer. Keep them at least six inches apart as you flex and discern or find the borders of a ball of energy between your hands.
Close your eyes breath naturally and gently flex your hands back and forth looking for a feeling of pressure or springiness. Once you identify this feeling of something solid between your hands visualize it as clearly as you can for five breaths.
11) Drop your arms slowly and allow your fingers to point downwards and project into the floor. Visualize the Golden Thread of energy and light coming down from heaven into the crown of your head and passing through your body to the center of the earth. Feel how the energy from your body flowing through your hands and fingers extends into the earth. Bring awareness to how grounded you are as you sink into your stance. Take five breaths in this standing meditative posture.
Take a minute to do a general survey before you begin moving to note any body sensations, thoughts or feelings before transitioning into your next practice or ending the session.
SomaVeda Reishi Hand Yoga is easy to do and a suitable adjunct practice for your daily wellness routine or program.
SomaVeda™ Integrated Traditional Therapies are a spiritual, energetic and competency based therapeutic healing system or Spiritual Medicine (See: What is SomaVeda™?). In the SomaVeda™ system there are over 1000 different therapeutic postures used commonly. SomaVeda™ is a complete holistic system on Natural Medicine.