Stage 1 – Hints and Tips

Grounding the Chi
Earth Element – feel as though you are raising the earth energy, through the heart and push, quite strongly back into the earth

Raise Yin Energy
Yin is very delicate, lift it up with the left hand and fold it into the heart as you turn. The right hand should remain active, touching the earth. As you align draw the earth up with the right hand, slightly stronger. It should feel as though the right hand lifts the right leg, like a puppet.

Alignment, the right hand is at the heart fingers pointed up, not too close to the body, feel the touch in the heart centre.

Waving hands like the clouds
Air element, this should feel like a gentle breeze, or clouds drifting across the sky or similar imagery.
As you heart the hand turns towards the heart and connects between the Lao Gong point and the heart centre. The hand at the heart should be pushing out slightly expanding the heart energy, the lower hand gathering up the chi and bringing it up to the heart.

Ocean waves
Water element, both the yin and yang of the ocean waves. The power of the waves as you push and the softness of the water on the sand as you turn back.
This is a heart centre exercise, expanding and contracting the heart energy, expanding as you push, drawing is as you come back.
There is an opportunity here to minimise the movement, limiting the arm movement by turning the feet. Ideally a wide stance as you push right the left foot should swivel on the ball of the foot to bring power into the push. Before you come back you turn the foot back (feet at ninety degrees) so that you can fully turn to the left. Now with full movement the arm movement can be minimised, dropping the wrists as you draw back and lifting the hands as you push. The arms now hardly need to move at all. Obviously the same applies when pushing left.

Point to the Horizon
First time reaching up to heaven, note that this is balanced with the earth energy. Again heart centre movement, drawing in from heaven and earth into the heart and then expanding from the heart to the horizon.

The Lotus flower
As you draw the hands into the heart feel as though you are holding a flower. As you sweep feel as though the flower is opening. Internally heart opening again.
As you stand breath in to the tan tien. Each of the standing positions works with a different chakra.

Dip your Fingers in Heaven’s light
The name says it all, feel as though you are dipping your fingers of the right hand in heaven.
Again this is balanced the fingers of the left hand should dip into the earth at the same time.
Maintain space around the body, as you fold into the heart use the wrists more than the arms so that you do not come too close in.

Wheels within wheels
Imagery of a golden ring taken in a circle around the body. It should feel as though you are creating a large circle of light around the body.
Good to feel the flow of this movement, rising, turning, sinking, turning. A strong lower stance helps here so that there is more rising and sinking with the body and consequently less arm raising and lowering.

Hold the Golden Sun
Second standing position, this time breathing to the Solar Plexus centre.
Note that when moving from a standing position there should be a little movement first in the opposite direction to gain some momentum. So here the next move is turning left, so there is a slight movement right first.

Ripples in a still pond
Water element, feel as though you are rippling the fingers through the water.
This is a good opportunity to feel the energy with the fingers. Although the fingers are not touching the opposite wrist it should feel as though they are. The distance between fingers and wrist should be based on that feeling
The previous stance was at the solar plexus so this movement is moving the energy at the solar plexus.

Perfect strength, perfect balance
Water and fire elements. As you sweep across the last time lift the water up in the fingers and feel it dripping as you turn the hand over. As you sweep across feel as though you are sweeping fire to create a rainbow. The start of the sweep and the extension of the hook are part of the same movement, one movement of the hips.
Your head is drawn up towards the light, the body pulled down to the earth. There is water in the right hand, dripping from the fingers and fire in the left hand. Both are balanced by the heart centre. This is the mirror of the final position of the form where everything is balanced in the heart.
Strengthens and opens the heart centre. The hands should push out far enough to feel the gentle pull at the heart centre. Hands should be slightly forward to reduce the tension across the back.

Single Hand Pushing
Powerful movement, although not specifically fire element, it feel very similar, for me, to the fire hand in stage 4.
This needs a strong stance in order to feel the strength of the push, make sure that there is width in the stance in preference to length.  Flowing movement in between the pushes.
This is based on inner circle movement, folding the chi into the heart before pushing out again form the heart. Again as in ocean waves, the feet need to move to enable the full range of movement and to bring strength into the push.

Reach up to the clouds
Again a balance between one hand touching the light, balanced by the other hand down to the earth.
There is a good opportunity here to feel the emptiness and fullness. As you turn left at the start all the weight goes onto the left foot, right foot empty i.e. no weight on it. Now as you straighten the left leg to reach up the empty right leg will draw in without any effort.

Point down to the valley
Again heaven and earth balanced. Draw the chi into the heart and then expand from the heart.
The attention is downwards towards the earth.
Keep the weight on the left right foot remains empty as you go down, sinking using the left knee. If you want to go a little further down you can slide the right foot on the ground after you have stepped down (but remember you’ve got to get back up again)

Reach up to Stars
One of the most beautiful movements, touching a star and bringing it into the heart. Again this is an expansion and contraction drawing in the star to the heart and the expanding from the heart back to the star, breath accordingly.
The star is in a very specific place. When the fingers touch the star in should stimulate the third eye centre. So imagine looking up through the forehead and the fingers should extend along that eye line. Again as with all touching to the light it should be balanced by the lower hand touching the earth. The lower hand is as much part of this movement as the upper hand. Both hands draw in and both hands extend outwards.

Outer Circles
Expanding the light from the heart around the body again. The hands spiral into the heart centre and take hold of the light at the heart. The right hand holds the heart light.

Offer the light
Done with a feeling of great devotion, offering the light to the world and whatever you believe
As you offer to the right and step in start to turn your head and attention to the left so you are looking and ready for the next move.

Dragons extends tail
Again a good strong stance. This is a heart opening position and it should feel asif the heart energy is extended by the hands.
The right hand should be level with the right ear and the left hand lower, weight is forward but do not lean forward. as with all the strong positions there should be a feeling of being drawn up.  To help find the right position here get into position breathe in and rise and then exhale and sink into the position. When the position is right you will feel it across the heart.