So far this blog has talked about yielding and being Song. The importance of these cannot be stressed enough. Without them, there cannot be internal martial arts. But how does one develop the other aspect, the internal power? With enough Song Gong and diligent practices, one can develop the soft power of the Yang Tai Chi. In my school, we also do Yiquan “Standing Pole” (Zhan Zhuang 站樁) exercises, which helps to develop the resilient frame and Qi.
Yiquan was found by master Wang Xiangzhai 王薌齋 with much emphasis on Zhan Zhuang for Qi development. In the subject of cultivating Qi, he wrote
For beginners, breathe in pure air through your nose, straight to “Sea of Qi” 氣海 (*). From 氣海 the Qi flows to the coccyx, and turning and moving in the Yao (waist region), which is where the kidneys are situated. The kidneys are the source of the flow to all other internal organs. The Qi then travels up the Du meridian to “Pill Palace” 丸宮 (**), returning to the nose region. The tongue (***) then leads the kidney Qi to travel downward, going to the abdominal region. Slowly condensing the “cinnabar” 丹 into the field 田 (e.g. sink Qi to the dantien). This is one of the most important secrets, and practitioners should not treat it lightly.
You may have read this as the microcosmic orbit. On the subject of moving Qi, my Sifu says that one should not worry too much about the Qi movement, and let it comes and goes as it does. As the Classics says, if one concentrates on the Qi, then the Qi stagnates. Nevertheless, this passage may serve as a bluepoint for your development. Notice also the differentiation of sinking the Qi first to the 氣海 point and then the end result of condensing Qi to the dantien – that is, while they reside in similar region, the acupuncture point is not the same as the dantien per se.
(*) Sea of Qi is the acupuncture point of the dantien (CV-6).
(**) Pill Palace Possibly (GV-26) Just below the nose.
(***) The method of touching your tongue just behind your teeth, on the upper palette.