Week Ten: Dragon
The energy of the Dragon is exuberant and powerful, it flows out in all directions creating a radiance like a flame.
The primary element stimulated by the exercises we will be looking at is Fire. This element relates to the Heart and Small intestines. The Dragon movements we will be looking at in this course are quite different from other Dragon movements you may have encountered previously doing Swimming Dragon for example. They are actually have similarities to those movements but are done in a way that emphasizes power and brings out the Fire aspect of the movement. There is a lot of swinging and momentum used to pump energy around the body and to stimulate the Heart in particular. This stimulates the flow of blood and opens the blood vessels which are also related to the Heart element.
The overall effect of the exercises is to create a vibrancy of energy which is an aspect of the emotion Joy. The other aspect of this emotion is despair, despondency, or to feel like giving up, to ‘lose heart’. This creates a state of low energy. The Dragon exercises are great for building the energy up and creating a glow from the inside out. When this is fully active it will often express itself in through the tongue in speech and exclamation.
This Weeks Practice Sessions:
This week will be spent practicing Dragon ‘warm-up’ exercises. These exercises will help you to start to feel the energy of the Dragon and will prepare you for further Dragon movements next week.
The movements are not particularly strenuous, but some of them may challenge your co-ordination, mobility and range of movement. For the movements that are challenging to your co-ordination, once you have got the hang of them they become very easy. The main thing is to get over that first hurdle of getting the co-ordination. Once you have done that you tend to remember how to do them without having to think or try very hard.
Start each practice session with the Alignment, Centering and Opening exercises and then do as many repetitions of the Snake exercises as you comfortably can. Then finish with more of the Alignment, Centering and Opening exercises.
Note down in your practice journal what you learn doing the exercises and how they make your energy feel.
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and start to turn side to side. Let your rear foot turn onto its ball each time you turn, then place it back flat on the ground as you start to turn the other way. Let your arms naturally swing out from your body as you turn. Make loose fists with your hands and let your fists strike into the surface of your body at the end of each turn. Make the whole movement loose and free.
In this exercise we are using centrifugal force to start sending the energy out from the centre of the body to the surface. The twisting of the body stimulates the spine and the whole sympathetic nervous system. Striking the surface of your body brings your energy to your skin and makes the surface of your body stronger like the tough skin of a Dragon. You can focus the strikes from this exercise to stimulate different parts of your body if you wish by striking that area or acu-points that relate to and area, for example as you twist you can strike into the joint of the shoulder where the first point on the Lung meridian is to stimulate the lungs. You can also easily strike into the Kidneys, Liver, and Spleen to stimulate these organs.
Dragon Double Arm Swings
Stand comfortably and swing both arms in a figure of eight pattern in front of your body. Next swing both arms forwards, then both arms back.
Our whole body is connected, when we swing our arms together it does not just stimulate the arms, it creates a noticeable pumping of energy up and down through the body, and particularly up and down the spine, stimulating the energy through the whole body.
Dragon Single Arm Swings
Standing with your arms raised high swing one are forwards and one arm back, then change direction and swing your arms the other way.
Next alternate swinging each arm in a figure of eight in front of your body, turning the foot on the same side as the swinging arm onto its ball as the arm crosses in front of your body.
These movements require more sophisticated co-ordination than swinging both arms together and pump the energy through your body in a more complex pattern.
Swing both arms behind you to one side then throw them straight forwards in front of you. Repeat on the other side.
With your arms in front of you, throw them out to your sides then back into the middle in front of you.
Next throw your arms up high and then down low.
These exercises are to send the energy to your surface and beyond in a sudden jolt. When you can do this exercise well, afterwards you should feel as if everything is tingly and alive throughout your whole body and even outside in the space around your body, a little like the air after a lightning strike is alive and buzzing with charged particles. Your Dragon energy is awake and the flame or your energy is alight.
While the swinging of the arms stimulates the energy throughout your whole body and sympathetic nervous system, the force of the swinging arms is focused around the Heart, so it is this organ and the Fire element that gains the strongest stimulus. As mentioned earlier you can also use the striking of the hands to stimulate other organs and elements as part of the exercises.