When students begin there study and practice of Taiji Qigong many concentrate upon obviously learning and remembering the movements at first, then they will concentrate upon learning to combine their breathing with the movements, some will then go onto opening and closing of the joints. But very few will concentrate upon stretching their tissue, muscles, tendons and ligaments when practicing any of their Taiji Qigong exercises.the stretching of the skin tissue can be performed in two directions both moving outwards towards the fingers and toes and backwards towards the torso. Learning to stretch the skin tissue and muscles is a subtle layer within the practice of Taiji Qigong to help increase the smoothl flow the qi through the acupuncture channels, collaterals and meridians.
When practicing the Taiji Qigong exercise of “Lifting the Ball” (Ju Qiu Gong Fa) with the right arm/hand start to gently stretch the skin tissue, muscles and tendons of the right foot, calf, back of thighs, the bottom, lower and upper back, right shoulder, bicep,forearms into the hand gradually lengthening your reach from the bottom to the top. Then allow the skin tissue and muscles to gently stretch back towards the torso moving from top back towards the bottom, then repeat on theopposite side of the body.
As I have already mentioned above the stretching of the skin tissue, muscles and tendons is a subtle layer and obviously should be practiced and combined with the other layers such as opening and closing the joints, opening and closing the qi cavities (Qixue). All these subtle layers need to be practiced and combined together to allow the outside physical actions of your Taiji Qigong exercise to connect and work the inside of the body,meaning the gentle massaging of the internal organs (Zangfu) to maintain and improve their functioning towards strengthening our health and wellbeing.
The practice of Taiji Qigong becomes a very powerful exercise tool towards maintaining health and slowing down the aging process, especially when the student begins to combine all of the subtle layers that make up each Taiji Qigong exercise to allow the student to connect their outside actions to penertrate deeply to the insides of their body by being able to move the bodily fluid like the lymphatic fluid, blood, synovial fluid and the spinal fluid. In traditional Chinese medicine this is considered the essences or (Jing) which must then combine with the qi.