Mighty Snake Shakes it’s Tail
Updated: May 11, 2022
This video is the 14thin 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. Only begin following my practice sessions once you've grown comfortable with the instruction.
Mighty Snake Shakes it’s Tail
矯 蛇 甩 尾 (jiǎo shé shuǎi wěi)
The video instruction might help you: https://youtu.be/99-YwHzkfrA
Snake Shakes its tail is a favorite among my students. This exercise is perfect for those in-between moments when you're watching TV or chatting with friends. If you find yourself standing and waiting somewhere, loosen your shoulders. Now that you have learned methods to keep yourself feeling well, you'll want to use them throughout the day.
Standing in a shoulder-width posture, gently sit through your hips and rest your awareness in the dantian. Feel your arms softening and lengthening from the shoulders to the fingers. Leading with your hands, slowly swing your arms to the side. Allow your hands to wrap comfortably around your waist and pat against your body. Change direction and do the same on the other side of your waist.
Once you are comfortable with the movement of your arms, begin allowing your waist and abdomen to rotate. An essential rule for this practice is to avoid twisting your hips or knees as you turn your waist. Once your legs feel stable and your core begins to soften, you may slightly increase your swinging speed.
Can you feel the expansion of your shoulders and the release of your neck?
As your body further loosens, your hands can begin to tap elsewhere on your torso. Swing one palm up to pat the top of your shoulder and the other to bounce against your glutes. Continue with these new locations as your waist becomes softer and shoulders more open. The pelvis and the knees face forward, and the spine is upright and straight.
Slowly return to swinging at the level of the belly, allowing the movements to travel through your body without hardening or gripping. There are three main places to be aware of as a beginner, the two ends and the middle. The motion flows from the hands and the feet, connecting to and communicating through the core. Pay attention to the awakening of your center and how that transforms the movement at the ends.
Continue until your waist and upper body feel loose, and then allow your hands to settle at your sides. Master Zhicheng likes to remind us to stand and feel the body "effervesce." What is heavy sinks to the ground, and what is light bubbles upward, feeling clear & vibrant. Take your time to enjoy this state.
Sometimes neck pain doesn't respond to other treatments because shoulder tension is the root cause. If that's the situation, you will want to spend extra time with this exercise to find a deep shoulder release.
This movement stimulates beneficial points on the hands and feet but can be painful for people with arthritic discomfort. Please be gentle!
Also, while this movement significantly strengthens the body's structure, pregnant women should avoid twisting or striking their bellies in any way.
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. If you enjoy this exercise as much as I do, you can look forward to various "swinging hands" methods in future lessons. Each emphasizes the opening of the body in a slightly different way and will be great fun. When I lived in Yosemite National Park, tourists from all over the world got off the bus and did swings. It's one of the most well-known qigong techniques, and you'll soon understand why.
As you become more skilled at softening your torso, you will find that it becomes easier to breathe. However, it's typical for people to hold or restrict their breathing as they go about their day. We will explore the vast topic of breathwork in future videos. As a first step, I want you to become aware of your breathing occasionally. Casually notice any habit patterns related to your breath and jot them down in your practice journal. This gentle mindfulness practice is usually enough to begin releasing the breath and offers numerous mental-emotional benefits.
Feel free to share your healing journey with the community in the comment section.
Enjoy your breath. It is, after all, the secret to life! 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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