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Rings of Life

My wonderful friend and colleague, Laura Ichajapanich, a fellow acupuncturist and tai chi/qi gong teacher has recorded this video to help show you a simple but effective exercise to help mobilise the joints.

Here’s what she says about the exercise:

I learnt this exercise from a daoist monk on Wudang mountain. Although there are
many qigong exercises to mobilise the joints I find this one incorporates the Taiji
principle of ‘dantian* moves, body moves’ or moving from centre. It looks a lot easier
than it is in practice, so start with the feet and then then hands and then as this feels
natural do both together. In Traditional Chinese Medicine the wrists and the ankles
are called the ‘rings of life’ as the 3 yin and 3 yang meridians compress before
extending to the extremities and qi can often get blocked here. Practice this exercise
daily, several times if you spend a lot of time sitting down and also as a warm up for
other exercise.

  1. ANKLES: Take your weight onto the right foot and place the left foot slightly ahead (not too far). Circle the foot. As you lift the heel and roll the inside edge of the foot up until only the big toe is in contact with the floor. Then roll the outside (little toe) edge of the foot back down on the ground until the foot is
    fully on the ground. Do not lift the big toe off the ground. Repeat 8x. Then change direction.
  2. WRISTS: Interlock your fingers. Keeping the elbows and shoulders down, Lift the right wrist and roll it away from you as the left wrist rolls back towards you. Then lift the left wrist and roll it forwards as the right wrist rolls backwards. Repeat 8x. Then change direction.
  3. BOTH TOGETHER: Once 1 & 2 feel natural, try both together. Change direction, then change feet.

* dantian translated as ‘red cinnabar field’ is the energy centre of the body which lies 3 fingers-width
below the naval and inside the body. Ancient daoists considered this to be the site of alchemical
transformation whereby humans could achieve immortality.

You can find out more about Laura and her classes at