4👑☸ Cattāri Ariya-saccaṃ 四聖諦


Eight Pieces of Gorilla

The Crown Jewel of Qigong Gorilla. 

🎱🦍 Eight Pieces of Gorilla

1. 👣 Buddha takes a stand
2. 🚶🚶🚶 march of the arahants
3. 🧘🐢 FLT: Full Lotus Turtle goes around the world
4. 🐳🐉 swimming dragon in repose
5. 🐙 Subtle medusa rules heaven and earth
6. 🐯 mountainside archer surrounded by tigers
7. 🦅🐉 flying with the dragons
8. 🦍🎵 Gorilla jazz improv
4👑☸ →    ☯🦍   👣   🚶   🐢   🐳   🐙   🐯   🦅   🎵 (⤴)

. .

🎱🦍 Eight pieces of Gorilla

To supercharge kāya-passaddhi, the profound state of relaxation, the entry into the jhāna samādhi of samādhi-sambojjhanga.
prerequistite: harmonize 4 elements, especially build up enough heat before putting range of motion that causes strechting to micro tear tissue.

the first four pieces follow the order of postures in this verse from KN Snp 1.8 Metta Sutta:

(Whether) standing, walking, sitting **, Tiṭṭhaṃ caraṃ nisinno va,
lying-down, as-long-as (one is) not-drowsy, Sayāno yāvatāssa vita-middho;
this mindfulness (one) should-resolve (on), Etaṃ satiṃ adhiṭṭheyya,
{This} {they-call} Brahma-**** abiding-here [and now]. Brahmam-etaṃ vihāram-idham-āhu.

video source reference for movements

all videos will be in one of the subdirectories from there

not an unqualified endorsement of videos

Each curated video in that library is there for a reason, to illustrate or instruct on one more aspects. However, this is not an uqualified endorsement of the instructor of the video, or an endorsement of what they’re teaching.

audio tools

repeat alarm timer for standing qigong left and right symmetry:

8 pieces of brocade vs. gorilla

under /qigong-basic-moves/8-pieces-of-brocade
the video master bing by the ocean
is well worth watching. “8 pieces of gorilla” borrows from the name, and a few of the basic moves, but otherwise is completely different in depth and scope.

wiki article excerpt, circa CE 1150

The Baduanjin qigong(八段錦) is one of the most common forms of Chinese qigong used as exercise.[1] Variously translated as Eight Pieces of Brocade, Eight-Section Brocade, Eight Silken Movements or Eight Silk Weaving, the name of the form generally refers to how the eight individual movements of the form characterize and impart a silken quality (like that of a piece of brocade) to the body and its energy. The Baduanjin is primarily designated as a form of medical qigong, meant to improve health.[2] This is in contrast to religious or martial forms of qigong. However, this categorization does not preclude the form's use by martial artists as a supplementary exercise, and this practice is frequent.[2]

This exercise is mentioned in several encyclopedias originating from the Song Dynasty. The Pivot of the Way (Dao Shi, c. 1150) describes an archaic form of this qigong.[3] The Ten Compilations on Cultivating Perfection (Xiuzhen shi-shu, c. 1300) features illustrations of all eight movements. The same work assigns the creation of this exercise to two of the Eight Immortals, namely Zhongli Quan and Lü Dongbin.[3]

background and target audience

I’ve been meditating for decades, including 3 years of intensive training in a strenuous samadhi monastic environment (1.5hr minimum time sit), doing sitting meditation for 6 to 10 hours a day.

Taiji quan, giqong, hatha yoga were immensely helpful, but I learned and developed some enhancements that can really take you farther and faster. The sooner you can apply those principles, the better.

The target audience is the yogi striving for nirvana who does a lot of sitting meditatoin, but the principles not coincidentally happen to be just as applicable to optimal physical, mental, and spiritual health as well.

1. 👣Buddha takes a stand

a. There’s a saying that “you don’t want to be a one legged man in an ass kicking contest.” But if that one legged man is a man of taiji, then it’s a completely different story.

A. Standing static postures

Only externally static, internally depending on which the 4 jhanas you abide in, it can be a raging volcano, an ocean rumbling in your dan tien, a still pond, or just empty luminosity.

What meditation to do while standing statically?

Prior to jhana, work on pacifying body and thinking. A great way to do this is completely immersing your awareness in the breath as it suffuses the entire physical body, aka 16 APS (anapana). Basically, any meditation you can do in the sitting posture you can do in the standing posture.

A taoist spin on 16 APS

Visualize a white hot gooey magnetic ball of energy the size of a basketball in your dan tien (near belly). With your eyes closed, visualize and keep your mind immersed in that white ball. Eventually, with a good 4th jhana, it won’t just be a visualization, there will actual luminosity that pervades the entire body, and you can make a gooey magnetic ball of qi roll around anywhere on your body, and compress and stretch that gooey mass.

how do you know if you’re really relaxed?

The biggest problem for most people is they’re not relaxed in the kaya-passaddhi and taiji sense of relax, and they don’t even know it.
If you’re fully physically relaxed, you should feel forces permeating every part of your body, sometimes heat, hot liquid, electricity, other strange sensations running in loops and channels. As chanels are getting cleared, euphoria and blissful sensations in parts and eventaully every cell of the body. At a higher stage when the forces smoothe out, maybe you feel just like a water balloon, at higher stage, maybe like an air balloon that expands and contracts. At a higher stage, body feels empty and luminous.

If you’re physically relaxed but not mentally relaxed, you won’t experience those symptoms of physical relaxation above.
Mentally relaxed means citta passaddhi, a-vitakka-a-vicara samadhi.
In other words, you’ve stopped coarse thinking, only subtle perceptions and intentions relating to your meditation object remain.
MN 19, MN 20, 16 APS are especially helpful in developing this.

why stand when you can sit?

* If your qi channels aren’t opened up very well, not limited to leg channels, after long sits (of many hours continuously) you’ll start to get drowsy.
* doing daily sessions of standing, say, 20min, 30min, 60min, develops some leg strength and if done well can help open up the leg channels. Whereas sitting longer than the flexibility of your body allows (say 2 to 3 hours of advanced sitting meditators), the qi channels in your legs start choking off your extremities (especially feet, toes, lower leg). If you see young meditators in a monastery frequently stumble, lose their balance, fall while walking, this is a strong hint they may be pushing themselves too hard and sitting too long. What they should do instead is shorten some of the sits, add some short yoga stretching sessions, do some standing and walking meditation until they’ve loosened up and are able to comfortably sit for the desired length without any part of their body in pain, discomfort, or going numb.

1. 🌌Wuji posture

legs shoulder width apart, arms completely relaxed at side.
Weighting is about 50/50 between left and right side.
Prior to opening up all the energy channels in the body very well, if you’re relaxed enough, you might experience some vibrations and shaking in the body. This is normal, you shouldn’t feel ashamed or self conscious. Shaking can take years to gradually fade. Many people don’t experience bodily shaking because they’re standing (or sitting) too tense.

2. Wuji with hands covering dan tien

one hand over the other, covering your dan tien.
Energetically, how does this differ from plain wuji #1? Similar to how cross leg posture connects and energy channels between right side and left side of your body, you might feel a stronger, more consolidated energy from doing this.

3. Tree hugger

See the video 8x-meridian.webm
It has nice 3d video animation with camera angles all around the body.

4. Leaning tower of wuji

Starting from posture 1 (standard wuji).
1. close your eyes, don’t worry about details of what the posture looks like externally. Kaya passaddhi, true relaxation is an internal art. Learn to feel where tension and relaxation is.
2. Shift your weight completely to the right leg (you were 50/50 split weight prior).
2a. While shifting weight, try to keep spine + torso relatively straight, but don’t worry if it curves slightly. Main thing is stay completely relaxed.
2b. While shifting, don’t introduce any tension by lifting either shoulder, or adjusting neck orientation, or subtly pushing off the left leg with any upward direction.
2c. your right leg, as you shift, let it compress and sink into the ground from the additional body weight being added to it, rather than keep the right leg stiff and resisting the weight shift. If your two legs were an hour glass, imagine all the sand was in the left leg, and gradually shifting and sinking into the lower right leg. Internally, after you finish shifting weight, you should feel a few inches shorter, most of that from the right leg and hip compresing.
3. your ending position, you kind of look like “leaning tower of pisa”. Your right leg feels a few inches shorter than before you started from the compression, your right hip feels like a shock absorber that got compressed as well, hips folded in as you shifted weight.
4. check your shoulders for relaxation, with subtle “medusa principle” movement.
4a. your right arm should be dangling freely, and if you quietly relax and observe your right arm, gravity and the weight of your free arm dangling should cause your shoulder area tissue to expand and lengthen by several centimeters at least. With eyes closed, it feels like my arm lengths by several inches.
4b. your left arm, try to relax the same way as much as possible, but it won’t lengthen because of your “leaning tower”, the weight of your arm is supported by your body (hand and wrist area will be resting on body from the lean). But your left arm will get it’s chance to shine and lengthen when you repeat this exercise for the left side.
5. similar with shoulders, look for and dissolve tension in the neck by using the medusa principle (soft like octopus, no bones, just liquid or magnetic energy sloshing around). If you don’t understand medusa yet, try just making very small motions with your neck, side to side, or circular, and observe which part of the neck is tense and which parts are relaxed as you move slowly. And then appy sati, remember what tension and relaxation feels like, and using that memory as a reference point, coupled with medusa movement, you know what you’re shooting for when the taiji master tells you to “relax deeply”.
6. your left leg is completely relaxed. You are now a one legged man of taiji, with 3 arms. The left leg is the 3rd arm. Your weight is completely supported by the right leg. Test this by lifting the hand of the left leg just slightly off the ground to see how it affects your balance.
7. empty out your 3 arms, imagine for a moment having all 3 amputated, no arms, just emptiness there. You’re just a leaning tower of spine and right leg. Feel how relaxed those 3 arms are, and try to make your leaning tower feel just as empty and relaxed, using subtle, almost invisible medusa movements to adjust yourself.

do the same for the other side

repeat these steps for the other side of the body.

sample practice sequence

alternate between 3 postures: left side, right side, and 50/50 standard #1 wuji stance with arms hanging freely. Maybe start with about one minute on each. Or try left side, 50/50 wuji, then right side, wuji 50/50. Try different combinations, even up tp 5 minutes for each.

original source

The original move was a taiji quan relaxation qigong designed to loosen the shoulders, but without much explanation other than “relax”. The explicit details of that I figured out on my own over many years, but basically any taiji master who has relaxed shoudler and body are intuitively doing most of what I’m saying in explicit detail, but they might be doing it subconsciously and the internal adjustment is too subtle to see externally, and they don’t know how to explain it in detail other than “relax”.

5. relaxed fit playing guitar

(coming soon)

B. Static standing with some arm action

c. cloud hands / feet walking
d. ocean in the palm of your hand
e. wing chun palm changes
f. 3 palm change
g. skiing: on one leg, arms and other leg are “skiing”

2. 🚶🚶🚶 march of the arahants

a. alternating arm leg raises
b. anuruddha training wheels
c. 4x4 walking
d. old man high step jog, modulated for no joint strain, heart rate.

3. 🐢 FLT: Full Lotus Turtle

goes around the world


a. sun salutation warmups
b. various angle leg and bound angle
c. plough variations
d. updog medusa and turtle
e. gorilla crouching jazz doens’t need yoga mat
f. turtle was a guest hot, then a permanent partner

The move I do most frequently helpful for full lotus seated

under the video /silk reeling / silk neck brian

starting at 6 min mark, this is the turtle movement.
Ostensibly, it's to loosen the neck joints. But if you do it right, it lengthens and expands every vertebrae in the spine.

The radical gorilla enhancement is not just doing it in that one front-to-back plane of motion demonstrated in the video, but take it off the rails and “go around the world” (you should be able to sweep about a 180 range from left to right)

Some examples:
1. Do a 180 sweep from left to right side
2. from a starting backbend, with arms held forward in whatever way to counterbalance and help you feel stable, do the turtle with a 180 sweep. I call this around the world turtle
3. This can be done from a sitting posture, cross legged, legs spread out, whatever.
4. From a standing, forward bend (your torso is inverted, upside down), do "around the turtle". It feels really trippy and it releases your lower vertebrae from the inversion.

Nowadays, at least a few minutes before and after every sit, I do "around the world turtle" combined with various sitting postures (lotus, double pigeon, kneeling, bound angle), and especially the seated angle as shown in the video

Over time (months, years), gradually spread your legs farther apart.

4.🐳🐉swimming dragon in repose

what could be better than having a tropical warm water ocean paradise in your back yard? How about a swimmming treadmill that costs 0$, no sharks, no deadly stings from jellyfish, etc?
a. macro circles in situps
b. plough scissors
c. lion posture cresent kicks
d. sleeping bag micro taiji
e. bridge pushups
f. wheel pushups

5. 🐙 Subtle medusa rules heaven and earth

a. mastery of 5 bows, no one on heaven and earth can stop you
b. 5 main bottle necks dissolved
c. like drunken boxing, with large to micro movement
d. dissolves into water, then air, then emptiness and luminosity

5niv (hindrances) of kaya passaddhi: tight neck (spine), two tight shoulders, two tight hips.

In the video subdirectory "medusa", watch the octopus videos, especially the "octopus playing", to see what smooth relaxed movement can look like.

quick octopus info:
Octopuses are invertebrates. They do have a beak, which is the only hard part in their entire body. Fun fact, octopuses can fit though anything that is large enough for their beak to fit through. ... Invertebrates do not have a bony spinal structure.

Medusa (see medusa images in that same medusa subdirectory), is based on the mythical character medusa, with snakes instead of strands of hair. Snakes have skeletons, but their movement is much closer to the octopus (no skeleton) than humans.

So now, replace the 5 bows of the body (neck+spine, 2 arms, 2 legs) with medusa snakes, or better yet octopus tentacles, and this will melt the blockages at the 5 hindrances of the body (neck, shoulders, hips) from the twining, twisting, stretching from that movement. Also, all your fingers and toes, make those into snakes and octopus tentacles as well.

Now for the gorilla (guerrilla) jazz improv. Doing any qigong, or taiji quan, or even hatha yoga, take it off the rails. You can use the basic structure of those well known disciplines as a starting point, but then you dance around the basic structure, improvise, literally move your arms, legs, spine, fingers, toes around independently like individual octopus tentacles.

So for the move "around the world turtle goes full lotus", apply this principle, move like an octopus, and you'll be able to feel all kinds of tight areas you didn't even know about.

One more practical tip, you might want to practice this in solitude, and not do this for example in a public group sitting, in a monastery, etc, at least not until you become proficient enough you can do the movements with subtle amount of motion that attracts attention.

In the gorilla eightfold path, the right view of a gorilla is he doesn't care how the public views him, but for practical reasons, sometimes discretion is the better part of valor. At a monastery, one of the monastics thought I was possessed by demonic spirits when I was just loosening up during walking meditation time. The general public can not discern the difference between insanity and genius, so proceed with caution.

Here's the secret to success. As I explained with the basic turtle neck/spine qigong in another article, when I first learned it many years ago, I realized it was gold. I didn't just do it every day, I took a break every two hours, then every hour, then even every 30 min. to do the turtle for a few minutes. Same thing with Medusa and Gorilla. Once you realize how incomparably powerful these principles are, you apply it every moment, every movement, all the way, as much as you can whenever you can.

6. 🐯mountainside archer surrounded by tigers

a. like 8 pieces of brocade “archer” taken off the rails and given 360 degree and spherical range
b. metaphor for brahmacariya, only one arrow, can not shoot it, but needs to keep it cocked to ward off threats.

7.🦅🐉flying with the dragons

a. bagua teacup, descending dragon windup
b. bagua whirlwind palms

🔗 🐱🐮 flying cat cow principles

video clips of basic cat/cow movement


The basic 🐱🐮 cat/cow principles
* too much tension: The way I see most people do it, there's too much tension and force getting into the pose.
* from my point of view, the basic cat cow, the way most people do it, is they move from one stiff tense posture, into another stiff tense posture, using force. If you watch a cat or tiger do the move, their bodies are much more loose, like a bag of water being stretched and reshaped, rather than a ball of stiff clay that needs great force to put into the posture.
* so the first big tip to get the most out of this move, don't try to muscle your way into maximizing the curvature of the spine to match the pictures of what flexible people are doing. Instead, close your eyes, gently flex your spine back and forth and let the curvature naturally increase as your body warms up, and over days, weeks, months, as you develop flexibility to increase the curvature without using force to make that stretch.

don't brush it off as a beginner move
Don't think just because you're an expert in yoga, flexibility, qigong, that the cat/cow move is only for beginners, or old people, or injured people recovering from severe back injuries. This is a great move as a warm up, as a basic body check to see the spine is in good working order before you do the more challenging advanced move you like to do. It's also something you can do without hands while on a long drive and your back is getting stiff and tired, etc.
why this move is great
* there's a reason most back physical therapy programs incorporate some version of cat/cow. It's safe and highly effective

* Before I do any challenging yoga pose, I'll do a quick cat/cow or something equivalent just to make sure all systems are go, everything is loosened up before getting into a deeper stretch. So in a sun salutation sequence, in between up dog and down dog, I'll often throw in some cat/cow improvisation.

* subtle medusa principle: using the cat cow off the rails version (see below), you can work in some subtle stretching and angles you don't hit if you stick to the conventional yoga playbook.
first improvement: continuous flow
make it into a qigong gentle flow
* cat/cow flex: A much better way to do the cat/cow pose sequence, is to do it in a relaxed way, with multiple repetitions in a set. For example, flex between cat and cow pose 18 times, experimenting with how many breaths you hold each pose, maybe 10% of the time experimenting with a full stretch using some force like the conventional way the move is done. The other 90% of the time, focus more on passaddhi/pacification/relaxation, smoothness, flow, release of tension while doing the movement at various speeds.

second improvement: around the world
* don't just flex cat/cow forward/backward spinal movement. Do it side to side, and then hit all 360 degrees around the world.
* make circle movements with your hips and tailbone as your doing these stretches to really open a whole world of stretches not in the basic cat/cow.

third improvement (advanced level): gorilla jazz improv
* while doing basic cat/cow flexing around the world, incorporate other types of qigong movement like neck circling, turtle qigong neck and spine undulation. To give your spine an infinite variety of subtle stretches.

I'll make a video one of these days to demonstrate an example of this.

you can do 🐱🐮 in all postures

*including from cross leg sitting on floor such as
* sitting in a chair
* standing with hands free, you don't have to brace your hands on your thighs or back
* lying down. Like it's 2am, time to wake up, you're in the sleeping bag and its cold. Do 36 cycles of cat/cow to warm up.

why do I call it "flying" 🐱🐮?

Because I'm taking a simple basic idea, and turning it into a powerful principle that you can apply throughout the day in any posture, taking it off the rails of the limited basic, liberating it, letting you fly, letting you soar and accomplish much more in loosening the spine than you thought possible. With good spinal health, good health in general, good samadhi is possible. You can not have good samadhi without a certain degree of spinal health.

8. 🦍🎵Gorilla jazz improv

Perhaps the most important piece of all 8, knowing how to adapt, borrow, utilize any movement, from any healing modality, in a spontaneous, impromptu way, to fix any health deficiency you have.
a. it aint what you do, it’s how you do it
b. taiji pull ups, complete relaxation between reps, 9 per day, even just hanging in there releases spine
c. taiji pushups – complete relaxation between reps, modulate wrist orienation, arm distance, breath, etc.
d. 4x4 walking
e. jump rope
f. squat, standing back bend, forward bend, body+neck circles, 2 arm side bend, effectivley compact sun salutation

Using eightfold gorilla path as fundamental structure as a starting point, then dance around the structure like a spontaneous, impromptu jazz improv as needed to fix and optimize physical health.


9. gorilla has your back
as upright walking bipeds, we place an enormous amount of stress on our back and spine ove ra life time. Compounded with modern sedentary lifestyle, this is hell on our back. These exercises espcially helpful to strenghtening, fixing the back and spine.
back extension machine, pull up bar
soaking feet in hot water

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