Golden Snake Coiling around a Tree
Updated: May 11
This video is the 10th in a series of 16 that will explore each Snake & Turtle movement in a little more detail. It is a resource for beginners to learn the basic motions. Later, I will present more advanced methods of cultivation and deeper layers of skill that can emerge from this practice, step by step. Please take your time to study each of these exercises in detail, and only begin following my practice sessions once you've grown comfortable with the instruction.
Golden Snake Coiling around a Tree
金 蛇 纏 繞 (jīn shé chán rào)
The video instruction is here: https://youtu.be/hZ5Y1hg0W4o
Golden Snake Loosens its Shoulders is easily the best-looking qigong movement in the whole world. When I first saw Shoko Sensei demonstrate it, I felt sure that her bones had become liquid. Even without its incredible healing potential, you'll be thrilled to show it off to your friends. As a blending of all the motions that you've cultivated, it's a lovely whole-body exercise. I've treated hundreds of professional drivers who suffered from back pain, and studies show that it's a widespread problem. I love sharing this movement with them! Since many drivers only have a few minutes of break time, Golden Snake is a perfect way to circulate all joints at once.
You will practice this movement with a wide stance, but be sure that you maintain softness and flexibility in your hips and knees. Avoid locking your knees or swaying your hips as you release your weight through one leg and then another during the flow. People suffering from sciatica or weakened legs should use a more comfortable stance. Later, as you heal, you'll be able to use a more expansive posture.
With both palms facing upward near your abdomen, soften your neck and shoulders. Lead your right hand across your body, arcing outward and then to your right side. As you make this circle, maintain your hips and knees facing forward, but allow your waist to twist slightly to follow your hand. What does it feel like when you move your waistline and your arm together?
Soften your arm so that it lengthens away from your shoulder. Allow the hand to lift, leading with the tiger's mouth, flowing around the circle above the head. Continue to let go of the shoulder and neck as your hand loops around to your left side. Large breasted people should adjust their arm position to remain comfortable.
Leading with your fingertips, allow your hand to travel to your right with the palm and elbow gently twisting upward. Your waist participates in the movement as you follow the circle, and your breathing is natural. Continue lengthening through your shoulder to the hand as you lead your little finger through an arc. Spiral all the way across and even behind the body before returning front and center. As you make this circuit, you can imagine that you are carrying a cup of tea in your palm that only spills a little.
Keeping that imaginary cup of tea in your palm, lead your fingertips around your waist to your lower back. Maintaining the relaxation of your arm & shoulder, guide your fingertips around the arc to your right. Follow the circle above your head again as though brushing your hair with the back of your hand. Return your palm to the front and center again, and repeat the movement on the other side.
This maneuver may seem visually confusing at first but becomes very clear after a few attempts. You merely make a spiral in one direction and then in the other. Some people find it easier to follow a movement while positioned behind or from the side. If you peek at my channel's extensive collection of full-length practice videos, you may observe from various viewing angles. Please let us know which is the most helpful for you in the comment section.
Continue the exercise until your hips, waist, and shoulders feel warm and supple. Because this movement is so dynamic, you must avoid making the movements too large or excessive. Don't hold your breath, allow the knees to twist, or pull your shoulder to your ear. Also, keep in mind that the dosage of any therapy is essential. Be kind to your body. Avoid reaching the point of diminishing returns, training for only as long as you feel comfortable.
The Next Step:
Continue studying each of the Snake & Turtle exercises at this basic level until you begin a daily practice of the entire series. Find time to play with some of the Golden Snake spirals outside of your daily routine.
I spent time driving a long-haul truck to travel the United States with my partner. I would hop out of the truck several times each day to enjoy a few minutes circulating through this exercise and then zip back onto the road. I'm convinced it rescued my back from the constant sitting and vibration.
Today's recommendation is to make your drive time as healing as possible. For many people with back pain & muscular tension, driving a car is a very distressing experience. Fortunately, there are many ways to make positive changes in the circumstances. Everyone is different, and you will need to be creative and put some thought into this homework. For example,
Many people with back pain feel worse after slouching into their car seat. What can you do to achieve better posture while driving? A lumbar-support pad for your chair? A firmer seat cushion beneath you?
Do you find that heat helps your back relax? Get yourself a seat warmer! There are even some that lightly massage you while you're in traffic.
Is it aggravating for your neck and shoulders to lift your hands to the steering wheel? Try raising the seat, lowering the steering wheel, and holding the bottom of the wheel instead of the top. You can also wrap pads around the steering wheel to make its shape more comfortable.
Adjust the distance of the seat from the petals to find the right angle for your knees and hips. Controlling this distance will help you to avoid collapsing your lower back. People with shorter legs may need to place extensions on the petals. Mastering the use of "cruise control" is a great way to reduce the stress on your legs and hips.
Adjust the angle of the seat to maintain good neck posture to avoid stress and tension. Also, installing a variety of more expansive mirrors or drive cameras will allow you to avoid twisting your neck & back as often.
Practice getting in and out of the vehicle without excessive twisting or falling into the seat. You may choose to install extra handles on the ceiling, chair, and door to help you with this process.
If you carry a large wallet, don't leave it in your pocket or sit on it while you drive.
Avoid reaching into the back seat to retrieve items, as it's a famous way for people to strain their back.
Another is when parents are careless as they load their children into car seats. Please be careful! I promise that developing a habit of slowing down and taking an extra 10 seconds to load your kids will add 10 years to the health of your back.
Some vehicles are much better for a healthy back than others. Are you driving one of the bad ones? If you have the means and are serious about healing, you should consider changing vehicles.
As usual, please write your ideas in your practice journal, and share any solutions that you discover in the comment section.
Every moment contains the choice to heal or to harm. Choose wisely, and happy training!
Remember that this is only a tiny part of a more extensive system and sequence of teaching videos. Subscribe to my channel to learn more!
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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