Healing Rain Method
Updated: May 24
Let's use a new qigong method to explore softening the mind during practice. It combines physical relaxation, emotional release, and mindful insight to transform your experience.
You've come a long way with your training! Together we've explored how to have proper standing and seated posture, how to quiet and soften the mind during practice, what to avoid during qigong, and how to cultivate a nourishing daily practice.
Now we have the pieces necessary to develop a more profound approach while remaining safe from force and tension. These new methods will combine physical relaxation, emotional release, and mindful insight to transform your experience. Let's explore this possibility now with the "Healing Rain" qigong.
First, a reminder and a warning:
Please don't begin exploring this new level of practice if your mind is still intense and agitated. Projecting that tension into qigong or meditation will be harmful and disruptive.
It's similar to being well-rested before practicing qigong. If you are exhausted when you practice qigong, you only end up embedding fatigue into your practice. If you need to sleep, rest must happen before you can get good results from your training. If you are starving, you need to eat before your exercises can nourish you.
If your mind acts harmfully, you must develop a slightly quiet and settled mentality before trying this new level of qigong. You don't need to ascend to an instant sage or Buddha. Still, you should be able to begin quieting your mind and settling your emotions when you start.
On days you discover your body-mind isn't in the right state to cultivate at this level, go back to the simple methods demonstrated earlier in this series. Spend lots of time with the other 3 Pillars of Chinese medicine, learning to eat well, rest deeply, and move appropriately. Go for a quiet walk in nature. Also, seek professional help to unravel more significant issues or take medications as needed. Nourish the foundations of your health and practice, and you will find that your heart & mind become more balanced. Be gentle, and avoid incorporating a clenched fist of a brain into your training.
Let me say that again. Every time you finish practicing, you must find that you are more peaceful, relaxed, open, refreshed, and present than you were beforehand. These are the indications of correct training.
I first learned the "Healing Rain" technique as I began a study of medicine, and I often used it to calm test anxiety. It also helped to balance my system during bouts of insomnia to restore sleep. Like the Channel Self-Massage sequence, it became a handy way to review anatomy. And we will incorporate many of the Chinese medicinal relationships within other qigong exercises. It's wonderfully fun, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Today, I'll emphasize a descriptive exploration of this method. The next video will function as a stand-alone practice. For now, replay and review this lesson a few times until the details seem familiar and easy to follow.
As usual, we begin with a comfortable standing, seated, or lying posture that allows for healthy circulation. And, as mentioned, you assume a relaxed mental position. Don't be too serious or intense. Let go of your thoughts about the day, any lingering concerns, or emotional loops. Develop the skill of returning to neutral at every opportunity.
As Zhicheng Shifu constantly reminds us, "What's the first thing you do? …You don't!"
If it's convenient, face south during this practice.
Please make use of the postural principles that we developed in earlier lessons. Liberate your neck to feel your head become light and poised.
Soften your shoulders, feeling your arms drop alongside your body, lengthening as they let go.
Empty your chest of tension while easing your upper back. Breathe normally.
Stop holding on to your abdomen, allowing it to relax into a natural shape. Feel that your lower back becomes warm and safe, healing any tendency to hold or protect that area. You might find that this frees your tailbone to sink toward the ground.
Gently unlock your hips, which also slightly opens your knees and ankles. Loosen the muscles in your glutes and thighs, calves, and feet. Even a 1% accumulation of softness will change how comfortable you feel in your body.
As you feel your body clear, notice that you might be unused to waves of softness traveling lengthwise through your body. Standing posture will help you develop this skill. Equally, it's possible to unwind stress within internal organs and other subtle tissues. This new practice will begin revealing those possibilities, layer by layer.
As you soften your neck, allow your vision and other senses to brighten. Imagine that light, peaceful rain falls from the sky and touches you on the top of your head, soothing and calming your mind.
This technique continues similarly to the "Turtle Standing in the Rain" qigong we use to begin our daily practice. Guide your awareness to release the front, back, and sides of your body. If you do not recall the sequence, review the earlier lessons for "Snake & Turtle Join Their Qi." Don't be in a hurry. Taking your time with these lessons is better for your development. Be patient. Learn the form correctly and develop stable skills rather than stumbling forward with your training.
Once you finish opening the outside of your body, you get to explore internally. As the falling rain touches the top of your head, feel the area at the top of your head called Governing Vessel 20 soften. This fresh, clear qi flows into the space behind your eyes, helping them soften. As it flows through the skull, it clears and eases the mind further. To me, it feels as though some form of tension in my brain relaxes. Excess thinking or stuck mental activity is just more stagnation that washes downward with the flow.
Release your throat, relax your jaw, and soften the base of your tongue. Perhaps you lightly touch the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth. If it stays there naturally without effort, that's ok. If it falls away as you relax, that's fine. It's essential that you allow your throat to remain comfortable and soft as your head feels lightly suspended above. Do not add tension physically or mentally.
Imagine this lovely healing energy flowing down into your chest cavity. Feel it wash over and through your lungs. Notice your breathing becoming softer, more nourishing, and more comfortable. It may be pleasant to inhale through your nose & exhale through your mouth as during the "Quiet Sitting" meditation. Enjoy the experience for a moment, appreciating the flow within your lungs. As your chest cavity releases and expands, notice more space becoming available for oxygen. Allow this to enable a more comfortable inhalation and exhalation. You are not adding any effort here, only releasing everything in the way of the natural breath cycle. We will explore breathing in greater depth in future lessons.
As your gentle attention and gratitude nourish your lungs, perhaps you imagine they glow from within, a lovely and pure white light.
Keep your body and mind soft and peaceful. Avoid pushing these ideas with your mind, as this only creates tension. Merely remain gently aware of the concept. "Know, but don't think about it." (知而不想)
Inhaling, notice that your body opens into a posture of dignity and refinement. You are able to trust in your ability to become peaceful and relaxed. Such grace and confidence make the following steps that much easier. With each exhalation, you release stagnant qi that might be in the form of excessive heat or cold or old emotions like sadness. Anything that no longer serves you. There's no need to try to push them out. They simply release and are replaced by the fresh healing qi washing through your system. Let your attention expand to include your abdomen, witnessing gentle healing in your large intestine. Then, as your awareness lightly grows further, notice the same nourishment occurring in the skin covering your whole body. Take notice of the western direction as your focus opens a bit further. After a moment, remain soft and quiet, gently aware of all these aspects of your being. Healing. Then, allow your awareness to sink comfortably down into the dantian between your navel and your spine. Rest with your mind there for a moment, feeling gentle heat gather in that space.
Afterward, return to an awareness of your whole body for a moment. Relaxing with each exhalation and quietly restful during the inhalation.
Fresh summer rain falls from the sky and touches you on the top of your head. You are softening and opening there. Again, it pours down through the top of your head, clearing your mind and senses. Feel a warm softening and healing of your tongue. Imagine it washing downward into your upper torso, softening your chest, and gently touching your heart. Please be friendly and soft with your intentions as you nourish your heart. Avoid focusing or concentrating intensely on your organs, as this can be harmful. Don't squeeze the mind. This is why we developed the ability to relax the senses in the last few lessons. Always stay light and pleasant.
Did you know your heart beats about 100,000 times daily without a vacation? Pause for a moment to appreciate this herculean labor. Cultivate a deep respect for your body and the beauty of its functioning. As you soften your body with each exhalation, notice how much easier it is for your heart to pump effortlessly. As you inhale and nourish your heart, imagine it lightly glowing a healthy red. Let a tiny smile rest on your lips as a sense of contentment settles into your body.
While this happens, notice old resentment or disapproval vanish as you heal. Resting your awareness gently in the chest, allow your attention to expand naturally to include your abdomen. This effortless shift of your intention allows that same nourishing energy to soak into the small intestine. Then, your awareness grows comfortably to contain the sense of blood pumping throughout your body. Your friendly attention and respect nourish your circulation. Again, as your attention gently continues to expand, become aware of the southern direction. And then all of these aspects of your being at once resting in contentment. At some point, all on its own, your awareness will sink and gather once again in the space of the dantian. Pause a moment to rest quietly, enjoying the stillness and healing.
Become aware of your whole body, relaxing as you breathe naturally.
Restorative spring rain falls onto the top of your head. It calms your mind, refreshes, and softens your eyes as it washes downward. If you're like me, you might feel as if your brain is a muscle relaxing behind your eyes. Soften your eyes even more. Release your throat and upper torso as this healing qi soaks into your body. Feel it wash down, easing your ribs and solar plexus, and then under your right rib side to relax and cool your liver. Keep your mind quiet, calm, and kind. As your gentle intention soothes the liver, allowing it to soften and release, perhaps you visualize it emanating a healthy blue-green color.
Inhaling, cultivating a sense of kindness and compassion. Exhaling, release any frustration, guilt, or anger obstructing your healing. You might even creatively imagine that it is expelled from your body through your breath as a darker color. Take as long as you'd like with this practice until the color returns to a healthy azure as you settle your whole body-mind. Eventually, the healthy light within your liver expands naturally, including the gallbladder sitting next to the liver.
We don't only habitually hold tension in the muscles but also the internal organs and circulatory system. By becoming aware of these centers, we learn to release old accumulations of stress and stagnation, inviting free flow and healing. Also, by softening these areas, you'll notice that the breath flows effortlessly into those spaces.
As your awareness expands, allow it to encompass all of the joints in your body. By relaxing and releasing, innate flexibility and nourishment are available for your joints. Please be kind to your sinews, especially those that need extra gentle love to heal. Feel your joints soften and open as your breath relaxes all the way to your fingertips and toes. Again your awareness extends to include the expanse in the east. Allow all these aspects of your being to be held in kind-hearted openness. Take your time. At some point, your intent will naturally settle and relax back down to the level of your navel, nestling into that field between the navel and the spine. Allow your mind to remain quiet, observing that space with your mind's eye.
You are again becoming aware of your whole body, the breath flowing effortlessly.
Fresh, pure rain descends from the sky, clearing your mind and washing away excess thoughts. As the qi flows downward, soften your mouth, tongue, jaw, and throat. It continues through, cleansing and nourishing your upper torso and soaking into the space beneath your left ribs.
If you find it difficult to place your awareness in any of these areas, you can put your palms momentarily on top of them. Eventually, feeling these vital spaces within your body will become easy.
Becoming aware of your spleen, feel the warmth and vitality soaking into the organ. As it grows more energized with each inhalation, you might imagine it glows a rich golden-yellow color. Resting your mind lovingly upon your spleen, feeling a deep sense of clarity, sweetness, and honesty grow within your being. As your mind clears, it becomes easy to feel grounded in your body and settled within the present moment. With each exhalation, allow that clarity to displace any old tendency to worry. Allow groundedness to replace resentment or obsessiveness. Simply letting those old mental-emotional cycles rinse away as you recharge yourself. As your spleen is well-nourished, it begins to overflow, healing the space around it naturally. Your awareness expands with the movement and includes deep healing of the stomach. After a moment, feel the fresh nourishment expand again to include the muscles of the whole body. They are filled, nurtured, and made strong by this light. Your awareness extends again, this time including the space beneath your feet. Notice where you are right now, and be there. Here. Now. Settled. Grounded. Present and still. Notice how good it feels to breathe? At some point, your awareness will coalesce again as it sinks to enrich the dantian. Rest peacefully until movement happens again all on its own.
Become aware of your whole body for a moment, feeling the breath becoming comfortable and peaceful.
Once again, a gentle healing rain falls from the heavens, touching the top of your head. Calm your mind, making space so the fresh qi can enter. Observe it clearing and nourishing your ears and ability to hear. It also strengthens your teeth before flowing down into your torso. Notice how soft and free the inside of your body feels as you enjoy this practice. Decompressing your belly and liberating your spine allows the fresh and clear qi to strengthen the kidneys on both sides of your lower back. As your kidneys warm and fill, they may emit a rich blue-black color, like light from within the ocean. Permit your whole body-mind to become quiet, resting in deep stillness and innate wisdom. As you exhale, allow that bright lucidity to release and replace old fears and fatigue, a calm sense that everything is ok as you settle into the present moment. Revitalize your kidneys until they naturally fill and overflow, spreading healing into the bladder. After a moment, allow your awareness to expand again, feeling that strength soaking into the bones throughout your body. This new depth of experience should feel lovely and eventually expand once again to include the space to the north. Afterward, rest with your attention on all these aspects of your being. After a moment, the qi will follow your awareness into the area behind your navel, settling into the dantian and enriching that vital center.
Then, enjoy a moment of being aware of your whole body, exhaling and softening, inhaling and quieting. Always return to this neutral space between more specific qigong techniques.
Again, return your awareness to the rainfall easing your head and heart. Follow as it gently washes down through the center of your body. Feel it soothe your throat, nourishing the chest cavity, freeing the upper abdomen, flowing through the lower abdomen, pelvic space, and then down through the thighs, the knees, the lower legs, and the feet. Feel the healing liquid flowing down from the bottom of your feet into the Earth, like extending roots.
Afterward, wash downward one more time, including the spaces around you, your body's surface, and the clear center of your body. Washed clean and nourished by the sky, rooted comfortably in the Earth. Smile.
The next step:
Review this lesson description until it feels relatively familiar. This study will make it easier to follow the practice sessions within the next few videos. You can even take notes or create a mind map.
This method will cultivate an entirely new relationship with your body-mind. While I am primarily introducing it as an exercise to enhance your ability to soften the mind's intent, it also dramatically impacts your health. Train with it daily for the next 100 days, and you'll notice much more internal stillness and spaciousness. I cannot overstate the richness of the sequence.
You can also include it within your standard "Turtle Standing in the Rain" practice. Try it, and your Snake & Turtle training will become even more satisfying and healing.
Try practicing this internal softening at the same time before bed at night. It will help you settle more easily into sleep, train your nervous system, and regulate your hormonal cycle to prepare for deep rest. This is especially effective if you do it at the same time each night. Relaxing just before you sleep becomes the last thing your nervous system experiences before settling into its evening cycle. Over time it becomes conditioned to this excellent habit. Also, because your soft tissues are in a softened-long condition when you begin nightly tissue repair, your body more quickly rebuilds itself into this new physical condition. Sleep will become the most critical training period of your day!
Post in the comment section about which practice has been helping you the most, or open up about any question you have to the broader community.
Enjoy your practice!
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Make sure that you begin your practice at the beginning of the sequence
Ready to train? Follow along with traditional practice sessions
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