Updated: May 11
This video is the last 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. Only begin following my practice sessions once you've grown comfortable with the instruction.
The video instruction will help: https://youtu.be/0KMMbD8mAJ0
Snake Shedding its Skin is a small part of a remarkable self-massage sequence. You have already experienced how the tension in your body creates pain, distorts your posture, and disrupts the function of your back. Localized massage of acupoints is a powerful way to help soften your muscles.
As you follow this abbreviated sequence, continually soften your hands. Make all contact with your body gentle and loving. If you suffer from arthritic finger pain, you may switch to a different section of your hands or use a massage tool. In later lessons, I will discuss the use of various implements that may be helpful with pain relief.
Can you feel the difference between the spots that need extra attention and areas already open? Seek out the essential places and continue until they are warm & soft.
If you want to know which specific points would be beneficial for your needs, feel free to contact me at:
Remove any larger rings, watches, gloves, glasses, earrings, hearing aids, hats, or cybernetic brain implants invented after I made this video. It's okay to put them back on after your practice.
Begin the series by rubbing your palms together to generate heat. Only ever touch your skin with warm hands during practice. Place the centers of your palms over your eyes, feeling heat soak into the area. After a moment, slide your hands off to either side as though smoothing any wrinkles. Repeat until you ease the muscles around your eyes, which is fantastic for people who stare at a screen all day.
With the middle fingers, warm a path from the sides of your nose to the hairline, up and down. Then orbit your eyes without putting pressure on the eyeballs themselves. When you're ready, circle your palms to warm the entire face.
Separating your fingers, place some on either side of your ears and rub top to bottom. If you suffer from jaw tension, you will want to spend a moment lightly soothing the muscles at the corner of your jaw. Warm the ears and then work them with your fingertips until they feel nice and hot.
Then, covering your ears with your hands, gently pressurize and release them several times. Each time you lightly compress with your palms, tap your fingertips against the back of your head. Can you hear why it's traditionally called "Beating the Heavenly Drum?" Several of my patients have told me that these practices strengthened their diminished hearing.
The next is called "10 Dragons Running Through the Forest." Drag your fingertips across your scalp from front to back several times. This is one of my favorite techniques to relieve tension headaches. If your hairstyle doesn't allow much movement, just do the best you can. Afterward, use your palms to warm the back of your head and the nape of your neck. Spend extra time here if you have been out in the wind and cold.
Lightly drag your knuckles and fingertips along the line from your jaw to your collarbone, especially if you tend to suffer from ear congestion. Use your fingertips to warm the rest of your throat and around your clavicle.
Rub and warm your sternum, emphasizing the downward direction. Next, use your knuckles to soften and warm the area where your shoulders meet your chest. You may also choose to generate circulation all around the breast tissue.
Knead the musculature at the tops of the shoulders. If this is an area of difficulty for you, spend as much time as you'd like to help it soften. Then, grasping and squeezing, travel down your arms toward your hands. Pay special attention to the area at the top of your forearms, especially on your dominant arm.
Grasp the base of one finger with the fingers of your other hand. Squeezing firmly, pull all the way off of the tip to press circulation to the end of the digit. Do this to each of your fingers, especially if you experience stiffness or poor circulation. At least one of my patients uses this maneuver several times each day to alleviate her arthritic pain.
Using your fingertips, drag the spaces between your ribs from the back to the front. Then using your knuckles, do the same for the region directly below your floating ribs. Continue until there is a sense of increased ease and freedom of breath. Massaging the rib side should become a regular practice for people who experience frequent bouts of anger or frustration.
Soothe the solar plexus with the palms, breathe naturally, and rub the navel until heat soaks into the belly. Continue by using your fingertips to soften and warm the folds at the top of your hips. These are very helpful for people with poor digestion or painful menstruation.
At this moment, if you are near your practice partner, it can be wonderful to trade massage of the upper back & shoulders. This companionship is extra nourishing for people who are not touched very often, which is vital to our sense of well-being.
Begin using your hands to warm and massage your lower back. This area is primary within Snake and Turtle. You should find a way to make the following sequence comfortable for your shoulders and wrists. Take breaks as often as you need, or switch to different sections of your hands. If you can, use your palms to rub up and down your lower back, including the tip of your tailbone. As usual, make sure that your hands are warm before beginning. Feel the warmth soak deeply into this area, especially if you suffer from stiffness or weakness.
Massage the middle of your glutes to loosen them, and then do the same on your hips. Use your palms to rub the lateral center of your thighs and shake all around the musculature. Spend a few moments briskly rubbing & orbiting around your knees, including the space behind the joint, until they feel nice and warm. If you suffer from knee stiffness, pay extra attention to any spots that feel cold or achy.
Briskly brush your palms down the outside of your legs. Travel from the lower back to the outside of your feet, and then sweep up the inside of your legs to your navel. Repeat this several times, invigorating your legs, keeping your back safe by bending your knees, and breathing normally. People who experience edema or swelling in their legs will find this especially helpful.
If you suffer from severe hypertension, avoid putting your head below your heart quickly or carelessly. You may practice this seated to stay safe.
Next, similarly brush your hand down the inside of your arm, from the armpit to your palm. Slide up the outside of the arm to the shoulder and repeat the motion until your limb feels revitalized. Those people with stiff or swollen hands will find this very beneficial.
Finally, it's fun to finish your Snake & Turtle practice with a movement called "Golden Rooster Shakes its Feathers." Soften your hips and lower back, allowing you to lift your heels and bend your knees. Shake and vibrate your legs back and forth, keeping them loose and easy. Then, shake your arms and hands gently and in several directions until they buzz with circulation and feel refreshed.
There are many variations of this shaking sequence. Be gentle and choose the kind of movement that leaves you feeling soft and exhilarated.
The Next Step:
This video is the last lesson of the introductory series. You should review them all until you can practice the complete qigong set on your own. Only then, spend a couple of weeks following the full practice videos. There are a variety of them of different lengths and from various angles. Practice and make a concerted effort to memorize the sequence. If you have difficulty remembering the order, write it down and watch the "Memory Snake & Turtle" video. It's important to remember the routine because you will learn differently from solo practice than simply following along.
Once you have learned the whole form and have spent at least two weeks practicing, you can move on to the next phase of the system. The intermediate series is designed to speed your healing and to begin the exploration of subtle skills that will make your practice even more enjoyable!
As I mentioned earlier, most humans have a deep need to be touched by other people. It can be essential to our overall health and well-being. Find time to connect physically with trusted friends and family each day. Whether a handshake or a hug, take the time to receive some form of friendly contact. If you're unsure of where to start, experiment with the famous 20-second hug!
The comment section is a space for like-minded people to communicate their thoughts and feelings. Please be supportive of the folks there seeking help. When you feel generous, share some of your experiences about increasing the friendly touch in your life.
Give the gift of loving touch to someone today. 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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