The Eight Silk
The following section will describe eight traditional Chinese stretching exercises
designed to be used with tai chi exercises. These exercises, when done properly, are good
for general good health and physical well-being. They generate the flow of chi throughout
the body promoting good blood circulation while simultaneously strengthening and
stretching the muscles bones and tendons of the body.
|1. Upward Hand Stretch (Holding Up The Sky).
Slowly raise both
hands, palms facing upward, over the head Stretch all the way up lifting the heels off the
ground. Breathe in as the hands are raised to "hold up the sky." Hold the breath
for as long as you comfortably can. (Do not strain!) Slowly lower both arms as you breathe
out. Lower both heels and return to a standing position with hands relaxed at the sides.
Watch your balance!
Physcial Effects: Balance, stimulates circulation, releases tension,
relaxes the body.
||2. Shooting The Arrow.
Sit in a horse stance. Cross
the arms in front of the chest. As you breathe in, push out with one hand while pulling
back the other as though shooting with a bow and arrow. Repeat the procedure for both
sides. Breath in when pulling back breathe out when returning to the center.
Phsical Effects: Strengthens the muscles of the arms abdomen, back and
legs. Promotes overall good health and vitality.
Raise the right arm over the head as
you inhale while simultaneously "pressing" down with the left hand. Lower the
right arm to the standing position as you exhale. Repeat this procedure, alternating
between left and right sides.
Physical Effects: Increases blood circulation, strengthens waist
||4. Looking Back Neck Stretch.
With both hands at your
side turn the head to one side following with eyes to look behind you. Keep the trunk of
the body straight. Repeat this head turning routine for both sides. Breathe in when
turning, breathe out when returning.
Physical Effects: Relieves fatigue in the neck muscles, releases
|5. Rotate Body In A Circle.
Sit in a horse stance and
rotate the upper body to the left Lean the upper body to the left. Look to the right. Keep
the lower body straight. Breathe in and out deeply and slowly. Do the same to the other
Physical Effects: Increases blood circulation and strengthens muscles
of the abdomen and back.
||6. Lifting Up The Heels.
With both hands at your sides
hold the head up high and lift the heels off the ground as you inhale. Remain stable using
the toes for balance. Lower the heels back to the ground as you exhale. Repeat the
procedure breathing in when lifting the heels and breathing out when lowering them.
Physcial Effects: Increases circulation, relaxes the body and relieves
|7. Punching From Horse Stance.
While sitting in a
horse stance, cross the arms in front of the chest. Tighten the fists and alternately
punch slowly to each side. Begin by breathing in, holding it, and pushing out with one
hand while breathing out. This should look like pulling a bow. Hold the fist steady as you
breathe in again. Do the same to the other side.
Physical Effects: Increases power in punching, in the fists themselves
and increases the circulation to strengthen the heart.
||8. Holding The Toes.
From standing position, slowly
bend forward from the waist. Try to hold your toes with each hand while keeping the knees
straight. If you cannot reach your toes simply let you arms hanng down, letting them reach
as close to the floor as possible. Maintain normal breathing.
Physical Effects: Strengthens muscles in the abdomen and the back.
Increases circulation and relaxes the body.