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Shen - Spirit, The energy that powers your 'Mind'
A step-by-step guide to the Third of the Three Treasure: Shen (Yi) or Mind
by Grace Curley
It is best to practice while seated or standing, as according to the Taoists, humans are the bridge between heaven (the levels of existence outside physical reality) and the earth (physical existence).
If standing, relax the knees, allowing them to bend slightly. Tuck your tailbone backwards, pushing your chest and solar plexus outwards. Align your spinal column by stretching and elongating the spine. Perhaps most important of all is to relax and bring the warmth of a soft smile to your practice. It’s also helpful to remember that if you catch yourself frowning, this is believed to cause the energy flow to become constricted at the brow which can leave us getting stuck in the mental turmoil of our problems.
Place your tongue to the roof of the mouth to make the connection - this is the Qi Line. Babies automatically do this in the womb
Close your eyes and bring your attention to your Navel (see point 1 on the above image). Concentrate on this point until you feel calm and your breathing becomes steady.
One then proceeds to move the point of concentration from the starting point at the navel through each point on the above diagram, moving down then up through the acupuncture points up the spine, over the crown of the head, and back down towards the starting point on the front of the body.
A key technique is to use the inward breath to draw the qi upwards through the spine and the outward breath to allow it to flow downwards like a watercourse flowing down the front of the body.
It can also be helpful to pay particular attention to the ‘gate’ at the back of the neck to make sure there isn’t a lapse in posture here inhibiting the flow of qi. Imagining a string towards the back of your crown pulling your head upwards can be useful here.