Ancient Taoist Pulse Work for c'hi-kung (qi gong) & meditation

Passive Yoga and the Heartbeat

The notion of working with the pulse as a mind-body training is an ancient Taoist technique. As Ishida explains, observing the pulse is a form of working with the body’s “protective and constructive energies:” [i]

One can imagine the pulse as the waves of the various fluids flowing around the body. It is in these waves, sent out originally from the heart, that the spirit takes up its residence. [ii]


[i] Ishida, Hidemi, “Body and mind: The Chinese perspective” Taoist meditation and longevity techniques, Livia Kohn (Editor) Center for Chinese Studies, University of Michigan, 1989

[ii] Ishida

AIshida adds: “Assuming that the pulse represents the basic wavelike nature of all the energies of the body, one may depict their relationship as follows:”

Diagram 3-33                 Aspects of Mind and Pulse as Represented in Classic Traditional Chinese Medical Texts         Based on the depiction by Hidemi Ishida, “Body and Mind: The Chinese Perspective,” Taoist Meditation and Longevity Techniques


In traditional terms, the notion of the arterial pulse being connected to “mind” that moves around the body is expressed in ancient Taoist and Confucian texts (Diagram 3-33). Consider that the Huainanzi states that “the mind moves around throughout the body [because of the pulse],” [i] which, as Ishida explains, forms the basic understanding that led to the formation of Taoist practices that emphasized first control over the body and then management of the emotions, which in turn leads to tranquility and emptiness of mind. [ii]


Passive neiguan exercises, when utilized as a relaxation technique, usually begin in the most relaxed position possible. However, once proficiency is sufficient, many techniques can be adapted to walking, running, and even as a technique to improve athletic performance. The benefits of the exercise described below, known as “heart-pulse training,” are often noticed immediately, especially the relaxation and calming effects. …. [Heart-pulse training 8 page PDF. BUY AND DOWNLOAD NOW FOR $9.99]