Taiji Day 83: Triple Warmer

The name of the first maneuver in the Eight Pieces of Silk is “Activate the Triple Warmer”, which seems like a metaphor for something until it actually turns ON.

We think of our body heat as just that — heat from the body — and we tend to think that it comes from everywhere in the body.  But as our metaphors suggest, the whole body does not produce equal amounts of heat. We say “cold hands, warm heart” for example, when we find a kindly person whose hands are shivering.  We say that someone has “cold feet” when they’re not brave, but we’re also terrified when our beloved gets back into bed after a trip to the bathroom in winter.

There are distinct places in the body that came alive as I was “activating the triple warmer” during the first chi gong routine of the morning, and (even though it was only the first posture), I was lightly sweating in moments. A light sweat is one of the signs of moderate levels of exercise, along with increased attention on breathing… which means that I’m starting to experience the benefits of doing the Eight Pieces of Silk consistently.  I’m getting exercise from what looks like a bunch of silly postural exercises.

The warmth was coming off my body from three distinct places.  One of these manifested on my head.  The second came from my heart (a distinct sweaty spot on my chest, and another on my back at the same level), and the third just above the groin, between hips and belly button).  As we move towards heavy exercise, of course, these three places tend to merge into one.  However, noting the name of the exercise, and noting the arrival of warmth in three different places, I was able to gain a new appreciation for the work I’m doing.

How long does it take you to activate the triple warmer with your exercise routine?

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