GBol Arts

Taichi Notes Archive

Flow and the Meridians

George at a Seminar

With beginning and intermediate students, a common difficulty is flow and how to work on it. In order to help yourself get started with this, it helps to learn about the path of the flow in the torso, arms, and legs. If you understand the direction of flow in the major meridians in at least these three areas, you can do a much better job of directing the flow properly.

Remember to always start at the Dan Tian. You should always focus here first and make sure that you sink the Chi here and clear the mind. In the torso, the main meridian in the back is usually referred to as the governing channel. You will also hear it referred to as the Green Dragon in Taoist literature. The meridian in the front is commonly called the conception vessel, or in Taoist literature, the White Tiger.

Start by inhaling and imagine the energy rising up the spine to the crown point through the governing channel. As you exhale, imagine it going down to the roof of the mouth to the tip of the tongue, then down the centerline in the conception vessel to the Dan Tian once again. Make sure you are going up through each vertebrae and not skipping over any point along the way. The same in the front; feel each step of the path. It will take a lot of practice before you will to be able to do this flowing all the way around through this whole path with no skips.

To work on the arms, you once again start in the Dan Tian and go up the spine, but this time, at the point between the shoulders, you separate and go down the outside of the arms to the tips of the fingers. From here, you go from the tips of the fingers up the inside of the arms to the Middle Dan Tian area, where the paths rejoin and go down the center-line to the Dan Tian once again. Think of the tips of your fingers as the "crown point" of your arms.

Working on flow in the legs starts at the Dan Tian and goes down the front of the legs to the "bubbling well" point on the bottom of the foot. From here, you go up the back of the leg to return to the Dan Tian. Again, think of that point on the bottom of your foot as the "crown point" of your foot. This can be worked on in a seated or reclining posture to relieve any stress you may have on your legs. This area in particular requires a lot of work for most beginners.

There are many more details related to this practice, but this is a starting point that anyone can use. As you progress with this, be sure you work with a qualified instructor capable of giving you the details and finer points of this practice as you progress. Work on each of these separately at first, until you can do each in a smooth concentrated manner, flowing along the whole meridian. Be careful of jumping over a point where you may have blockages. It is easy to fool yourself into thinking you are flowing all the way to the crown point for example, because you feel the energy there. That does not mean that you did not have your energy skip over a blockage in the spine, so be very concentrated in your practice.

Later you will be able to put all three together. Then as you arrive at the crown point, try to flow to the fingertips and bottom of the foot at the same time. Then, return all three to the Dan Tian all together. This all takes very calm, concentrated, and diligent practice. Do not force it and only do little bits at a time at first. Make sure to check with a qualified instructor as you go along to make sure you are on the right track. Over time, you will find that you will not only be experiencing your flow, but better able to direct it too.