The Crane Exercise
The Crane Exercise is designed to strengthen the organs within the trunk of the body. Even though these organs are controlled by the autonomic nervous system, the Crane Exercise enables us to balance the energy and thereby promote a smoother functioning of these organs.
This exercise may be done standing, sitting or lying down on your back.
1. Rub the palms of your hands together vigorously. This creates heat in your hands and brings the energy of your body into your palms and fingers.
2. Place your hands, palm down, on your lower abdomen so that they lie on either side of your navel.
4. Begin to exhale slowly, pressing your hands down lightly so that your abdomen forms a hollow cavity. This gently forces the air out of your lower lungs. Imagine that every drop of air is leaving your lungs. (See figure 2)
5. After you have exhaled completely, slowly begin to inhale, extending your abdomen outward so it becomes like a balloon. Try not to allow your chest to expand – use only the muscles in your lower abdomen. (see figure 3)
6. One complete exhalation, followed by an inhalation constitutes one round of breathing. At first you will only be able to do two or three rounds of breathing at one sitting. Gradually increase the number until you have reached twelve rounds.
i. It is not necessary to force either the inhalation or the exhalation. With continued practice you will be able to extend and contract your abdomen quite easily while breathing slowly. In the beginning your hands act as guides to help you learn the exercise. Once you have learned the breathing, it is not necessary to continue using your hands.
ii. Once you have mastered the Crane Exercise, you may combine the anal lock as described in the Deer Exercise with the Crane breathing. This will increase the strength of the exercise.
iii. The best time to do the Crane Exercise is in the morning, if possible while facing the sun. Imagine that as you inhale you bring the energy of the sun into your body and that as you exhale all toxins and wastes are leaving your body.
iv. When done before retiring at night, the Crane Exercise gives a gently massage it the inner organs which helps calm the body, relaxing us for proper sleep.
Women should not perform the Crane Exercise during pregnancy as the in and out motions of the abdomen may create unpleasant feelings within the abdomen.