TAI LUOHAN: Some Exercises from the Form
Note: Whereas the following exercise is in consonance with its principals, it is not part of the formal Tai Luohan meditation. The exercise is meant to quiet the thoughts and quickly release tension, thus preparing the student for the meditation.
- Begin with several minutes of sitting, breathing rhythmically (this does not belong to the Luohan tradition):
- Inhale through the nose, 3 count (up to in time 20)
- Hold 3 count (up to 20)
- Exhale through the mouth, 3 count (up to 20 in time)
- There is no holding of the exhalation, but do not rush back into the next inhalation.
Focus of this Tai Luohan Meditation
In this meditation, the focus/attention is on each of the three Dan Tiens. This focus is supported by external movements and breathing: the contraction on the upper Dan Tien, the arm movement in the middle Dan Tien and with the breath in the lower Dan Tien. Remember that while meant as support, the movements and breathing are just to reinforce the most important work, the mind work.
Upper Dan Tien:
-Sit comfortably, cross legged using cushions to support the buttocks and knees, or sit on a chair or bench. The back is straight and upright, but the position should be free of tension.
-Place the arms at the union of thighs and abdomen making a circle with the arms (as if seen from the front) or:
-Place them likewise but with the elbows back so as to open and free the Thoracic cage.
Focus, breathing and movement:
-The attention/eyes on the Upper Dan Tien
-Inhale through the nose. At the same time slightly contract the 3rd eye (forehead) region and press tongue slightly upward.
-Exhale through the mouth, releasing the contraction of 3rd eye region and releasing tongue from upper palate
Middle Dan Tien:
1. Stretch arms gently forward and raise arms to the level of the middle dantian.
2. Turn palms face each other so as to hold a big cup or pot.
Focus, Breathing and movement:
-The concentration/awareness is on the middle Dan Tien and on the sensation between the palms.
-Inhale through the nose. Raise the elbows slightly to liberate the thoracic cage but keep the shoulders relaxed and free of tension. The tongue is on upper palate
-Exhale through the mouth, tongue remains on upper palate, relax the elbow and allow the arms to naturally come back towards each.
Lower Dan Tien:
Hands rest on lap, thumbs placed in laogong. Woman, left thumb in right laogong, men reverse.
Focus, Breathing and Movement:
-The concentration/awareness is on the lower Dan Tien.
-Inhale and exhale through the nose. The tongue stays relaxed, in “normal/natural” position