Qigong exercise: The bear moves its head

by H B Muralidhara 4/13/2009 6:20:00 PM


  1. Move the right leg to the right, maintaining a distance of twice the shoulder width between your feet, and dropping the trunk earth ward (as if you are sitting on a horse).
  2. Keep your hands parallel to the shoulders, elbows bent, palms facing the front.
  3. Straighten your spine, but keep it relaxed,
  4. Chin slightly down,
  5. Eyes in front, buttocks tucked-in, feet firmly grounded.
  6. Your upper body needs to be relaxed.
  7. Keep head, neck and spine in-line and upright


  1. Inhale through the stomach slowly, deeply, purposefully and move the whole body from the trunk and above to your extreme left (as much as possible and comfortable).
  2. Straighten your left elbow for 2 to 3 seconds to exhale and bring it back to position again.
  3. Inhale slowly and turn the whole body from your trunk to extreme right.
  4. Straighten your right elbow for 2 to 3 seconds to exhale.
  5. Turn the whole body to your left and breathe deeply, gently through the stomach.
  6. Repeat nine times on each side.
  7. To assume the beginning posture, bring the right leg back to normal position, cross hands in front and drop them down in front of your navel.

Health Benefits

  • Most of the qigong and traditional Chinese medical literature says that this exercise benefits the heart, and gets rid of "heart fire." Exercising the lungs (metal) helps absorb the heat and control the fire, the heartburn.
  • This stance will strengthen and condition the legs and lower back.
  • Moving while in deeper feet placement will have some aerobic conditioning effect if the exercise is done with many repetitions.
  • Turning at the waist will strengthen and stretch the hip, abdominal, and lower back muscles.
  • The spine is gently turned to effect realignment and prevent stiffness.
  • Thus, exercising the waist area regularly will enable Qi to circulate freely. As a result, the kidneys will be full of energy. The kidneys store Ching Qi, most essential and vital energy that will be vigorous in the maintenance of health.

Contra Indications: Persons with hip, abdominal or lower back injuries should avoid deep bends from the waist.

(The writer is a practicing Qigong and taichi practitioner at Kandivali, Mumbai)

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